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MacFixer, the iPhone, iPod, and iPad specialists

Fugawi GPS Mapping Software for Windows CE devices

31st October 2002

 Article by Mike Barrett

  

 

Fugawi GPS Mapping Software is similar to OziExplorer: they both target universal GPS users who need pinpoint positioning both on and off road. The FugPPC software is provided as part of the Fugawi PC software package, which retails for $99 USD.

The review package provided by Fugawi comprised: the PC and CE mapping applications bundled with European Road Network maps; Europe IV Digital Street Maps $59 USD; and Vancouver - Whistler Digital Topo Maps $66USD

Fugawi GPS Mapping Software

 

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Click on image for larger picture

This review focuses on the FugPPC application. There is another review which evaluates the Fugawi PC software. Click here for the PC review. When deciding if the Fugawi package is suitable for your requirements you should consider both as a whole solution. Where the CE version may be marked down it could well be compensated for in the PC application.

Fugawi is targeted at the Professional and recreational user. This software is useful for and used world-wide by emergency services, law enforcement, forestry, geological and mining, palaeontologists, archaeologists, local council/boroughs, hikers, bikers, off-roaders, sailors, and pilots, plus many more. FugPPC maps need to be converted using Fugawi. You have to acquire pre-calibrated maps (selection supplied with fugawi) or create and calibrate your own maps then download them to the PPC. Fugawi also provide versions of the software for military applications. The software is so flexible that you could even use maps and aerial photographs as provided on many mapping websites (please check copyright terms and conditions for use before downloading images).

The FugPPC software comes bundled with the boxed Fugawi 3 software package, along with some bonus maps to get you started. This is a commercially produced application that can be bought from many sources. 

The main features packed into the CE software are:

  • Display of commercial and user created maps.
  • Live display of current position using NMEA 0183 GPS interface
  • Display and logging of track
  • Creation and display of waypoints (positions on your map)
  • Display of route
  • Navigation instructions based on route
  • Tight integration with Fugawi PC

For the purposes of this review an iPaq 3870 was used with a NavMan 3000 GPS sleeve.  This review focuses on the FugPPC software, another review covers the Fugawi (PC) software.

 

Software Installation
Installation is a little unusual in that it is started from within the Fugawi 3 main application. It is a little confusing and the old adage RTM (Read The Manual) comes into play here.

In the settings menu there is a preferences option. When you click on this you get a dialog box with your current settings displayed. At the bottom of this dialogue is a value for Type of PDA. By default this is set to Palm. Setting this to PocketPC enables the options within the menus for the PocketPC.

You now need to go to the Tools where you will find the Install PocketPC Application Files is now available. When you select this option all the required application files are loaded on the Pocket PC.

 

 

Creating a map
There are few maps that you can install and use directly without using Fugawi PC software, but this is not a problem as long as you have all the maps you need loaded prior to starting. FugPPC uses a proprietary map format which compresses the data to enable you to optimise the usage of your memory.The PC software has a lot of powerful management features for managing the link between the PC and the Pocket PC these are referred to as the PDA Library.

There are maps supplied in the application package which will be relevant to your area, I was supplied with street maps for Europe but if you live on the American Continent you will get USA maps. These are automatically converted into FugPPC format when you use the PDA Library to transfer them to the Pocket PC.

You can also create and calibrate your own maps for use in Fugawi. This is covered in more detail in the Fugawi PC review. As with other software of this type you can use any map, picture or graphic to create your map.

 

Using the software
When you start Fugawi an outline map of the World is displayed. If you previously had a map open then this will be loaded. You can select to display any map that you have transferred onto your PPC.

 

Fugawi use of iPaq hardware buttons

Fugawi uses the iPaq hardware buttons to control some of the features of the application. These are zooming in and out, and creating a waypoint, and opening the navigation window. You can also tap and hold to create a waypoint at specific locations, or tap and drag to move around the map. The software also has a number of menus to allow you to control it and set a number of options configuring the way it works.

 

There are also a number of icons on the screen which provide status information, or allow fast control of the application.

At the top of the screen there is a strip indicating the current scale of the map, in your selected units of measurement. A cyan icon displays when you have a satellite fix, a P in a circle is displayed if the gps unit is communicating with Fugawi.

At the bottom of the screen is the menu bar followed by three icons for easy control: Centre GPS centres the map at the current GPS location; Display GPS info shows a dialog with the GPS fix information displayed; and Save Track log.

There is a help file which explains all the functions of the menus, and the interaction between Fugawi and FugPPC. The menus are logically arranged in functional areas, providing easy access to all settings.

 

Configuration
The prefs option from menus is where all the configuration of the software is done. This is context related to the menu option. The general operation of FugPPC is defined in the file/prefs dialog.

From this dialog you can set:

  • GMT your current offset from GMT.
  • Distance units can be set to either Statute (yards and miles), Metric (meters and kilometers), or Nautical (yards and miles)
  • Bearing can be set to either true or magnetic.
  • Location can be displayed either as Lat/Lon or UTM WGS84 format.
  • Show previous map on startup
  • Open GPS port on startup
  • Centre GPS location on startup
  • Create new waypoint when the screen is tapped.
  • Show the info bar on start
  • Use fineview when zooming out

 

In Use
The system is really easy to use once you have found your way around the menus. All you have to do is to ensure that the map(s) covering the area(s) you are traveling to are loaded into the PocketPC and off you go. If your startup settings are configured to automatically start the GPS then as soon as a fix is obtained your position will be displayed on the map.

The two screen images show the maps displayed from different sources. The shot on the left is a walking track of the Pound Wood in the UK the second is a driving track from the GMF vector maps supplied with.

 

The accuracy of the GPS location was within a few meters.

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Reproduced from Ordnance Survey 1: 50,000 mapping

  Crown copyright. All rights reserved.

 

 
At worst the car was shown to be on the wrong side of the road. This could very well have something to do with the quality of my scanned maps.

 

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GPS Displays
As this is all about integrating Satellite signals with maps to find your current position a few words about the GPS displays is in order.

There are two GPS displays, the first (shown on the left) shows textual data regarding your position. The co-ordinates will be either Lat/Log or UTM Northing/Easting. The speed will be either KPH, MPH or Knots.

The second display (on the right) shows the "SKY" the positions and relative signal strength of the visible satellites.

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Waypoints
FugPPC has some powerful waypoint facilities built into the application. These allow you to configure a number of elements and features of the waypoint display.

 

At the top of the waypoint preferences dialog are three text boxes for Name, Comment and Description. These can be used to change the way the waypoints are labeled in the application.

 

The show on map toggles the display on the waypoints on the map. Create new WP on action button will create an waypoint at the current GPS position: only if you have a GPS fix.

 

The display WP name on the map determines if the name of the waypoint is to be displayed. If not the waypoint will be displayed as a small square.

 

At significant points on your journey you can set a waypoint simply by tapping at the point where you can enter the lat/lon co-ordinates of the waypoint or even easier by pressing the action button to create a waypoint at the current GPS position.

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This will create a waypoint with the name P0001 or similar. The details ie name, comments, description etc can be changed using the edit waypoint facility. This is highly advisable as you can end up with lots of P0001 waypoints and it can become a little confusing. Obviously if you are on your mountain bike hurtling down a hill you wont have time to amend the details, but you have access to these functions later when you have stopped. The images below show the

There are options to load and save and manage the waypoints between FugPPC and Fugawi, enabling you to create waypoints for specific purposes ie Mountain Summits, positions of fishing lakes, etc.

 

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Click on the images for full size displays.

 

Tracks
Tracks are essentially a sequence of points that are automatically recorded to a file, and displayed on the screen in the screen shots to the right the tracks are shown in dark blue.

 

In the preferences you can set the tracks to display either as a series of dots, or as lines connecting the track points.

 

As with the waypoints there is a full management system for your tracks. You can create new tracks and activate them, you can delete old tracks, or you can clear tracks you no longer require.

 

You can also show and hide the tracks on the map.

Click on picture for full image

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Click on image for larger picture

 

Click image for full size pictures Click on picture for full image

Click on picture for full image
Reproduced from Ordnance Survey 1: 50,000 mapping

  Crown copyright. All rights reserved.

Routes and Navigation
Routes are a series of waypoints linked together. There can be a number of routes in FugPPC. Routes can also be created in Fugawi and downloaded into FugPPC.

 

At the waypoints in the route you can create a 'Arrival circle' this can be used for a number of things though primarily for navigation prompting. This could be used to warn of course changes, or shallows around coastal regions.

 

The route management section allows you to create new routes and then navigate along them.

 

The navigation screen shows a large compass display with the next waypoint marked on the circumference. You are shown the Distance, speed, estimated time of arrival, heading and the course to steer. When you arrive at the waypoint you can tap on the "Next WP" button which will then set you up for the next point in the route.

 

The pictures on the left shows a route out into the Thames from Leigh-on-Sea round Southend Pier. This map is a scanned chart of the Thames Estuary and you can clearly see a fold running down the left hand side of the display.

The pictures to the right show the Navigation displays. The top one is where you select your route and the next waypoint in the route. The lower picture shows the navigation display indicating the heading and course to steer.

 

These routes were created in Fugawi and then downloaded into FugPPC. Fugawi allows you to draw the route on the map, which is easier than creating waypoints at the course changes. I could equally have set up the waypoints and created the routes in FugPPC

Click image for full size picturesClick on picture for full image

Click on picture for full image
 

 

Maps
As Fugawi is supplied with maps it is reasonable to review these in relation to their rendering on FugPPC. See the Fugawi PC review for a review of the maps as applicable to the PC version.

 

The maps fall into two categories Street Level and Topographical. There are also digital marine charts but these have not been reviewed here.

 

The Street Level maps use data provided by TeleAtlas. These are vector graphic maps which are converted by Fugawi into raster graphic maps. The bundled maps provide main road data for Western Europe. The detail on these maps goes down to major suburb roads,but not residential roads.

 

The European IV maps provide data for the UK (excluding Ireland) and the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. These provide very detailed street level data which includes all residential roads. Some examples of these maps have been used throughout the review. In general they are accurate, but lack detail in terms of road names and numbers as this data is fixed at the point of export.

 

The Digital Topo Map of Whistler, shown to the right, is a sample of a 1:50,000 DRG topographical map from the CD. This map is of excellent quality and detail. The only comment I have is that it is rather large in size transferring at 11Mb. This would be ideal for anyone hiking off roading or otherwise exploring this area of Canada.

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Click image for full size picture

 

Strengths and Weaknesses
As with other applications of this type a major issue is obtaining or creating maps if you do not live in the right part of the World. In the USA the government makes digital mapping data freely available. In the UK and other countries this information is sold at commercial rates, there is no recreational source of digital raster maps in the UK for Fugawi that we are aware of or tested.  It is good that the system comes bundled with some 'route' quality vector graphic maps.

 

In general the FugPPC package is full of functionality and has a wealth of useful features, in particular the integration with the Fugawi and the management of Waypoints, Routes, and Tracks.

 

One advantage that FugPPC has over some of it's rivals is the ability to report in speed in knots and has a good navigation display showing course to steer.

 

Digital Scanning of Maps and Downloading of Digital Maps Disclaimer
All maps do hold a copyright notice to prohibit the copying of the maps.  Please check the terms and conditions of the copyright and your rights before digitally scanning any paper maps or downloading of any digital maps from websites.  Most mapping companies will grant you a license to make at least one copy of the map for personal use only, however please check first and if requested to do so, request permission from the copyright holder first before scanning or downloading the digital maps.

 

Ordnance Survey Copyright Restrictions
Permission to scan an Ordnance Survey paper map (which is less than 50 years old) for retention on a retrieval system must be requested in writing stating the purpose of scanning Ordnance Survey maps, scale of mapping to be used and total area to be scanned in cm squared at original scale. Permission will not be given if the customer can be supplied with an equivalent digital mapping product from Ordnance Survey.  A one off data royalty charge will also be applied, calculated using the number of mapping units scanned, and the customer must hold a Digital Licence with Ordnance Survey.

 

Conclusion

Manufacturers Website

http://www.fugawi.com

Pocket GPS Reviewer

Mike Barrett

Pocket GPS Reviewer Website

http://www.bwww.co.uk

Rating

 

Map Detail

Usability

Points of Interest

Not Available

Map Availability

Map availability refers to maps available off the shelf in the .fx4 format for instant use with FugPPC see the review of Fugawi PC for general map availability.

 

Overall Rating 60%

How did we achieve these ratings ?

Review Ratings

   

 

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