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MacFixer, the iPhone, iPod, and iPad specialists

NAVMAN SmartPath City (TomTom City Maps)

22nd December 2001

Reviewed by Dave Burrows

 

With SmartPath there are two kinds of software.  To try and stay close to the paper maps and to keep disk usage to a minimum, two mapping programs were created.  One that gives you an atlas style maps where you might want to go the length or breadth of the country, and one that gives you A-Z style street maps for a specific city.  The two mapping programs are called Trips (Atlast) and City (A-Z). 

 

Having the two types of maps split out, sometimes is quite nice, but does hinder you.  Why does it hinder you ?  Okay, let me try to explain.  SmartPath Trips is one complete map of the whole of the UK, so you can load the whole map onto your CF card and you've got the whole country in Atlas form.  If you are travelling from the south to the north, then in most cases you would want an atlas style map, which Trips gives you.  However, if you are also travelling through town centres then you will also want a street atlas.  Unfortunately the way SmartPath City is configured is that you load the maps for a particular town or city and cannot plot journeys between maps.  If you were travelling from south to north and you wanted to jump to a higher zoom level so you see more than A or B roads on the City software, then you would have to turn off the GPS Receiver, close Trips, load City, power on the GPS Receiver, and then load the city map you are at, find your position and continue on your way.  As you can probably understand, this is a nightmare to navigate through!  Other GPS software are now coming with a single map, but again because of the detail level.

 

Due to there being two applications, we've split the review up into two, so you can see what each application offers from the feature set.

 

 

Now lets take a look at SmartPath City.  This application is best used for when driving around a town or city.  The Properties screen offers you a wealth of features that can be enabled or disabled.  You have the option of changing the map style, colour of the map and units whether you prefer miles or kilometres.  A very cool feature for all those left handed people out there is the Left handed toolbar.  Perfect!

 

You can also change the route highlight setting so it can be dashed in foreground, or a subtle grey in the background whilst also changing the border details.

 

SmartPath City really is a great piece of software and it shows that this software is newer than the Trips software.

 

The two screenshots to the right allow you to change the speed on particular roads.  This is a definite requirement if you're looking to plan routes and get from A to B by a designated time, for instance you need to book into a hotel by 10pm. 

You also have the GPS setup screen where you enable the GPS Receiver, change the update interval and map matching (keeping GPS pointer to the closest road!) which unfortunately was left out of SmartPath Trips.

 

 

 

The GPS screen is very similar to SmartPath Trips, in the effect that it actually uses the same driver.  You get the world map where you can change the format of the degrees, speed notations and keep Pocket PC alive settings.

 

Going over to the GPS Status screen shows you the latitude and longitude, with the direction you are pointing in, how many Satellite fixes you currently have, and a general birds-eye view of the earth which shows roughly where each of the satellites you can see are positioned above you.

 

Now this is where the SmartPath Trips and SmartPath City starts to alter direction.

 

SmartPath City gives you a legend like you would see on most maps, allowing you to distinguish the difference between say a ferry, motorway, major and secondary road.

 

You can also see a 40% zoom map here that shows the extreme level of detail that City Maps can provide even at this small zoom level.  Roads might look little more than lines, but the higher you zoom in they start to look like proper roads unlike other mapping software.

 

 

 

Okay, we've shown you around some of the SmartPath City screens, by now you're probably itching to see how far you can zoom into the maps.  SmartPath City is actually a rebadged version of the very popular TomTom CityMaps, and you will find the maps offer huge amounts of detail.

 

Take a look at the two maps to the left and compare them with the map on the right (above).   The first is set to a zoom level of 60% and the second set to 100%.

 

Now if this isn't called detail, then I don't know what is!

 

The only thing that SmartPath City truly lacks is dedicated overlays that show the nearest pub, park, police station, hotel.

 

SmartPath City allows you to plan a route not simply by just tapping on the map (which you can do), but also by searching street names and locations in it's search screens.

 

Here you can see in the first screenshot you can type in the name of the road, all you need is the first 3-4 characters and it will fill in the rest for you with intelligent typing, or you can then pull down the combo box to display everything that starts or is near the characters you typed.

 

 

Highs and Low’s

Finally, what is the software really like to use ?  Well it's pretty good.  The worst fact being you have to plan your journey by using either the Trips or City Maps.  Don't think you can keep both applications open as they will both fight for supremacy over the GPS receiver, and if you're lucky the one you don't want to use at that moment in time will be left and the one you wanted will be closed.  In most instances, both applications will be closed.

 

Apart from this, the only other downsides is failing to include any voice navigation, map stitching between city maps.  On the other hand, if you haven't experienced these features in another product, then you won't miss them!  SmartPath Trips and City are very good applications to use, and will most certainly get you from A to B with the least amount of hassle.

Conclusion

Manufacturers Website

http://www.navman-mobile.com

http://www.tomtom.com

Pocket GPS Reviewer

Dave Burrows

Pocket GPS Reviewer Website

Dave Burrows.com

Other Reviews to look at

SmartPath Trips

 Review

Ultimate GPS Map Comparison

 Review

 

Rating

 

Ability to plot route and follow

Voice Navigation Quality

Re-routing Quality

Map Detail

Time To First Fix (TTFF)

Overall Rating 42%*

How did we achieve these ratings ?

Review Ratings

 

* The reason why SmartPath Trips (TomTom RoutePlanner) and SmartPath City (TomTom City Maps) is rated so low is that these are now considered very old software and have been available for a couple of years now.  TomTom have released their new TomTom Navigator and Navman are releasing shortly their new SmartST Pro software which both have Voice Navigation and Re-Routing.  The SmartPath Trips/City and TomTom CityMaps/RoutePlanner were the original benchmarks for all new software and the products themselves were very good, but as time passes, software move on, and these products are now considered quite old, so we felt it necessary to rate these older products to the new standard. 

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