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REVIEW COMMENTS: InfoMap Navigator
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Dave
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2004 10:46 am    Post subject: REVIEW COMMENTS: InfoMap Navigator Reply with quote

InfoMap Navigator is a Satellite Navigation application for the PC, and the latest version also includes support for the Pocket PC. InfoMap Navigator is similar to AutoRoute, but much more richer in features including Postcode searching, Voice Navigation, Re-Routing and much more.

InfoMap Navigator is by far the best PC application we have seen, and if you are looking for an application that runs on a laptop so you can have a bigger display in-car, then you really need to look at InfoMap Navigator as it's a very well rounded product.

The full review can be located here
http://www.pocketgpsworld.com/infomap-navigator.php
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steveky
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Joined: Jan 08, 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave
A very good review, you seem to have hit on the same problems I have been having with this, namely how to mount the laptop in the car and when used on the PDA the zoom in and out glasses aren't there just the one as per your screenshot and when you do zoom in by creatng the box it takes an age. Having said that it does work well in the car but the fixing of the laptop is a problem
Steve
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Smiffy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2004 3:28 pm    Post subject: InfoMap Navigator Reply with quote

Thumbs Up
I used this application to navigate a holiday route through France last summer, PC sat on back seat, GPS mouse on rear parcel shelf and the whole thing worked a treat, even in the sub terranian sections of the notorious periferique! It was easy to follow the spoken directions, my passenger being employed to look over her sholder at the screen if necessary.
The map data was not quite up to date and gave us a minor problem when we encountered a new section of road that was "not as map"! The re route soon had us heading in the right direction though.

I too am dissapointed in the export to PDA facility, it's not worth the effort!

There are areas of the UK where map data is either wrong or not available on some minor roads.

If you want to import your own POI's "safety cameras etc" you will have to buy the Pro version as importing is "greyed out" on the standard version, this nearly doubles the cost !
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drew
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2004 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To regurgitate an email I sent to Infomap developers regarding how USELESS the product is in the real world.

A paper roadmap was far more useful than this at the time I used it. The latest version now actually allows you to print out a map/itineray so is possibly as useful as a normal roadmap.

However, it is still AWFUL and downright DANGEROUS as an automated navigation system. It cannot be excused that it throws modal dialogs (to the layman, these are the "YOU HAVE F*CKED UP!, WINDOWS WILL NOT CONTINUE UNTIL YOU CLICK OK OR CANCEL. THIS DIALOG WILL NOT GO AWAY AND EVERYTHING WILL STOP UNTIL YOU DO THIS NOW. DO IT AT ONCE!") Of course all map updates, voice guiding, etc stops at this point. These error dialogs you do not expect to deal with while driving. It is not Windows that throws these modal dialog errors with a system error, it is Infomap telling you off merely because you have strayed from the calculated route.

So take your eyes of the road, your hands up off the wheel.... Play mousey mousey point and click and SPLAT 3 families are wiped out on the motorway, frickin great.

I pointed out these obvious problems to the developers and was told that they know about all of them, but will fix the non-nav (aka life threatening) problem of simply printing out an itinerary:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a note for the developers of Infomap Navigator.

I have purchased Infomap Navigator for use with my laptop and have the following constructive criticisms to make:

GPS NAVIGATION MODE

The voice instructions are fairly basic and dont go down to street level. At present I have to constantly have a moving map displayed taking attention away from the road rather than being able to rely on voice direction alone. The voice feature is nothing more than a nice gimmick at the moment. I suppose it will work on motorways though I havent tried this.

Due to the inadequate voice instructions on a couple of journeys I ended up going the wrong direction. Navigator cleverly spotted this (good) but instead of saying "You are going in the wrong direction" using voice it threw up a Modal Dialog box with an OK button instead (VERY BAD). This is terrible as the application stops dead until OK is pressed and I have to cancel the dialog using the mouse while driving !!! You should NEVER THROW UP A DIALOG BOX OF ANY KIND while the program is operating in NAVIGATION mode.

The rotating map is great - however you should recognise when the car is stationary and stop the rotating map until the car picks up speed again. At the moment it randomly jumps around in line with the GPS position errors. This is awful as the only safe time to look at the map is while stopped at lights etc only to find it jumping around everywhere. Surely a simple algorithm is in order - not to rotate the map or direction of car until a few gps samples show significant movement.

This random position error also screws up the direction Navigator thinks the car is facing and so the start of a route ends up with the wrong instructions.

I have to say I stopped using the program for navigation as it is too dangerous to rely on unless I have a passenger reading out instructions and cancelling modal dialogs / stopping the map rotation, etc.

GPS OFFLINE MODE

A major failing is that you cannot print out the route itinery - the radio buttons are greyed out. You can only print a current view of the map. Seeing as it is unreliable & possibly dangerous to use the program in navigation mode it now appears impossible to use it for simply printing out a route! Effectively making the program useless for its intended application.

Another gripe is that you cannot delete routes! The summary should have a delete button.

On the positive side I have to say that I think the quality of the maps is better than Microsoft Autoroute - much better detail of minor roads and parks and such. However I will stick to Autoroute as at least I can print off a map and itinery. Navigator should be great value for money compared to Autoroute and of course Autoroute is near useless with a GPS without using the 2 second hack.

Are you aware of these failings and are you addressing them? Infomap Navigator has great potential but seems to have been released in 'beta' quality without any real world testing. I have patched my version to 1.2.18 and still have these problems. I am running Windows XP.

If you are addressing these issues then I will keep hold of my copy and await an upgrade. If not then can I send it back for a refund?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I got a reply,

Thank you for your comments - most of them we know about and are working on improvements all the time.

Printing itinerary will be fixed in update 1.3.

To delete route simply click the x in top right corner of selected route result.

Regards

Tomas

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am a developer and if I was involved in this project would have wiped out most of these bugs within a month. I sent this mail with the intention of the developers to see.

I got an email back assuring me that they know all about these issues and that the route printing will be fixed in 1.3.

Shame the more important (and downright fricking dangerous problems) have not even been addressed.

Avoid this program like the plague!
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Dave
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2004 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

drew wrote:
However, it is still AWFUL and downright DANGEROUS as an automated navigation system. It cannot be excused that it throws modal dialogs (to the layman, these are the "YOU HAVE F*CKED UP!, WINDOWS WILL NOT CONTINUE UNTIL YOU CLICK OK OR CANCEL. THIS DIALOG WILL NOT GO AWAY AND EVERYTHING WILL STOP UNTIL YOU DO THIS NOW. DO IT AT ONCE!") Of course all map updates, voice guiding, etc stops at this point. These error dialogs you do not expect to deal with while driving. It is not Windows that throws these modal dialog errors with a system error, it is Infomap telling you off merely because you have strayed from the calculated route.


Drew, you are correct, InfoMap does do this, but there is a viable alternative. Switch the feature on that allows for automatic re-routing, this avoids this issue and stops the annoying popup dialog box. After-all nearly all Street Navigation products include an automatic re-route feature. I think this should be something that is enabled by default (but unfortunately it's not).
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drew
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Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2004 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,

You will find it still does it even with automatic rerouting. If you travel in the totally opposite direction as the routing intended, rather than just missing a turn, it throws a modal dialog telling you how silly you are. It will not re-route until you cancel the dialog.

How on earth do you go in the opposite direction you may ask?

Well, the useless automatic map orientation which works fine when actually moving, faithfully tracks the GPS position errors as actual movement when you are parked at lights. So when you are still the map jumps everywhere as it thinks the car is doing pirouettes or something Laughing

Try making sense of it when stopped at lights at a crossroads.

Both of these are major usability issues that would be VERY SIMPLE for the developers to fix. I know 'cos its my job and I've written GPS tracking software myself. I would estimate one weeks dev work for the following:

Instead of modal dialogs - why not use the voice?

When the vehicle speed drops to a crawl, don't reorient the map until it picks up speed or has actually travelled a fair few feet.

I alerted the developers to these issues in May 2003. They should have been fixed by now but sadly they only fixed the itinery printing problem. Sad

Drew
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Dave
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2004 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

drew wrote:
You will find it still does it even with automatic rerouting. If you travel in the totally opposite direction as the routing intended, rather than just missing a turn, it throws a modal dialog telling you how silly you are. It will not re-route until you cancel the dialog.


Drew, it might still do this for you in 1.2.18 under WinXP but it doesn't do this in 1.3.2 Qt ver 3.1.2 libraries. I suggest you download an upgrade from the Directions Ltd website as you'll find it a much better product to use now. We will be re-reviewing the latest build 1.3.12 a little later which includes fixes for routing errors, and various other bugs that are fixed.

drew wrote:
Instead of modal dialogs - why not use the voice?

The only time you now get a dialog popup is if you do lose the GPS feed.
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drew
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,

I have been using an upgraded version since my email to Directions, 1.3.1 with 3.1.2 Qt libraries. There now appears to be another upgrade that you say you will review soon - 1.3.12 but I don't see the 1.3.2 version you claim to be using available for download.

I have to admit I gave up on the product after pointing out the obvious, offering to beta test new versions that may have fixed the flaws pointed out, but got no feedback whatsoever. I only chanced on 1.3.1 a few months after my email to them only to find the printing problem fixed and nothing else.

There now seems to be a 1.3.12 release which you say you will review in the future. I may try this but to be honest they have lost my custom. I now use a proper Pocket GPS system (the Aldi Medion/Navigon one) that works perfectly.

Can you confirm that with your 1.3.2 version (that is not available on the directions website) the map doesn't twirl around randomly when you are paused at a junction while the view is in auto orient mode, and that a directly opposite direction to the intended doesn't throw a modal dialog?

You do admit that after losing GPS feed (as in going through a tunnel) a modal dialog is displayed. This is a terrible reason to throw a modal dialog!! ROAD SAFETY IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT. When I leave the Birkenhead tunnel I do not want to lean over and frantically find my mouse cursor to click cancel.

Its sad because I think Navigator 1.3.1 is a very good product on the desktop. Just useless in the real world.

Drew
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Dave
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

drew wrote:
I have been using an upgraded version since my email to Directions, 1.3.1 with 3.1.2 Qt libraries. There now appears to be another upgrade that you say you will review soon - 1.3.12 but I don't see the 1.3.2 version you claim to be using available for download.

The 1.3.2 version we have here is a boxed version, you'll probably need to download 1.3.9 or 1.3.12 from the Directions website to upgrade above this. Certainly 1.3.2 is fixed, but I haven't yet tested the later versions to see if there are any other bugs or issues.

drew wrote:
Can you confirm that with your 1.3.2 version (that is not available on the directions website) the map doesn't twirl around randomly when you are paused at a junction while the view is in auto orient mode, and that a directly opposite direction to the intended doesn't throw a modal dialog?

It doesn't twirl around, but this can be more down to the GPS data you are receiving. If you have a low sat fix then you may fluctuate a few degrees in different directions, this could cause a problem. However saying that, I haven't seen a problem so I can only assume it's fixed in 1.3.2.

drew wrote:
You do admit that after losing GPS feed (as in going through a tunnel) a modal dialog is displayed. This is a terrible reason to throw a modal dialog!! ROAD SAFETY IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT. When I leave the Birkenhead tunnel I do not want to lean over and frantically find my mouse cursor to click cancel.

I agree, dialog boxes are a bad thing, but you don't need to grab the mouse, just either pressing the space bar (which usually is pretty big), or the enter/return key will get rid of it.

drew wrote:
Its sad because I think Navigator 1.3.1 is a very good product on the desktop. Just useless in the real world.

It sounds like most of the problems you experienced in the earlier versions are now fixed, and I think you'll find it a much better product.
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drew
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers Dave, I'd given up on the product but will upgrade to 1.3.12 and may give it a go on the road when my laptops fixed.

The 1.3.12 release only appeared very recently on the website. The only version prior to this for download was 1.3.1 which exhibits all the faults mentioned. The 1.3.9 is for Linux.

It seems they went through many revisions over the past year for the boxed product as you have reviewed, but didn't offer them to existing customers for download. A damn shame Rolling Eyes

Drew
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igurevich38
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2004 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does InfoMap have any plans to come out with a map of US? And if yes, then is there any value to use it over Microsoft MapPoint?
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Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure, Directions Ltd are soley a UK based company AFAIK, covering the UK market. There might be something on the horizon, but I am not aware of anything.
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Robin2
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a spare laptop which is not being used for anything else, and I would like to give Infomap a try. On their website, they specify minimum CPU speed of 300 MHz - my old laptop is 266 MHz. Has anyone tried it with a slower speed than the specified 300 - does it lock up, or is it just unacceptably slow?
My PDA is 400 MHz and I mainly use TomTom, but I kno that TTN3 runs on much slower PDAs
Robin
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wildwildcamper
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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robin2 wrote:
I have a spare laptop which is not being used for anything else, and I would like to give Infomap a try. On their website, they specify minimum CPU speed of 300 MHz - my old laptop is 266 MHz. Has anyone tried it with a slower speed than the specified 300 - does it lock up, or is it just unacceptably slow?
My PDA is 400 MHz and I mainly use TomTom, but I kno that TTN3 runs on much slower PDAs
Robin


I run mine on a Dell laptop 266 with 32 meg ram and win 98. Sometimes a bit steady to work out the route, but fine.
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beemer
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 8:21 pm    Post subject: InfoMap Navigator. Reply with quote

On 1st July 2004, Navigator 4 was released by Directions, I'd just bought the old version from your review on 26th june 2003.. having received their email on 7/7/04 about an update and further cost of 35 to upgrade the Europe edition (DVD) I wasn't amused as I'd acutually only had possession of it less than a week and after the 1/07/04.
After a phone call they said they would send me the new version for the cost of postage (3.50), which was a relief. It arrived today..well done.

Not had a great deal of time to look at it yet..5 cd's this time, price new is as before 49.99ish. Includes more countries, Poland, andorra, Finland to name a few. Using Tele Atlas maps from 2004.
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