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NAVMAN SmartPath Trips (TomTom Route Planner)

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.

 

SmartPath Trips gives you a great feature called Overlays.  This is not a new feature to GPS products, but allows you to overlay particular objects to a map.  For instance, you could overlay airports, parks, stations, even something like speed cameras if you can get your hands on an overlay!  You can also see from the Properties screen that units can be specified in miles or kilometres, fonts and colour schemes can be changed, how you highlight a route.  You can also change if the GPS pointer follows the map by using Route Indicator, always zoom to planned route, show overlay names and change the map orientation depending on whether you want the map to be pointing north.

 

 

With SmartPath Trips you can change the level of instructions that you would like to receive. 

 

You can set Trips to tell you after a junction, and tell you to stay on road for 2 miles before turning right.  You can also see the GPS setup screen allowing you to change the update interval in seconds, and various other GPS settings.

 

Right you will see the GPS Status screens. 

These are the first screens you will need to go to, to enable you to switch on the GPS Receiver.  You have the green power button, the GPS device name and what COM port it is using, changing of the format of degrees you want reported and speed settings.  You also have a slider that will stop the Pocket PC going into snooze/power off mode if it isn't supplied with AC/DC power. 

The GPS status screen also shows you your latitude and longitude in degrees, a car symbol for the speed you are travelling, and also how many satellites you have a fix on.

 

 

 

SmartPath Trips will allow you to select various zoom levels on the map screens, and it also allows you to select which level of detail you would like to see for Roads, Cities and Districts, allowing you to tailor the map to your preference.

 

You can also plot routes from A to B quite effortlessly by selecting A or B roads (some of which may be listed as Unnamed Small Road), but that doesn't really matter too much.

 

If you find you're receiving too much detail, or the map's looking cluttered or your Pocket PC is running quite slow when updating the screen, you can always turn the detail level down.

 

 

Once you have plotted your chosen map, you can then view it as a map, or directions, or both.  This is a good feature that all mapping software must have, and gives you total freedom of not only checking where you are, and where the next turning is on the map, but also verifying this by the instructions it is giving you.

 

Some GPS software will also give you voice navigational aid and journey re-routing, sadly SmartPath Trips and City does not offer this, but will do shortly in an upgrade destined for August 2002.

 

 

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 City

 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 44%*

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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