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Best Laptop Autorouting software?

 
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merkman
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 03 Jun 2006

Posts: 2032

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: Best Laptop Autorouting software? Reply with quote

What is the best value in laptop autorouting software (i.e. price vs. features vs. quality routing)?

I am ready to buy something but I am not sure what.

I want the laptop software to be compatible with a NMEA 0183 V2.1 Standard output from my GPS.
I would also like to be able to load in many geocache points and possibly autoroute to them?

Microsoft Streets and Maps 2007 is about $45 at Best Buy, but I don't know if it is worth the $45.

Let me know what you guys recommend.

Thanks
merkman
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MNMizzou
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Feb 2005

Posts: 705
Location: Maple Grove, MN

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Microsoft has always worked well for me. For the longest time I was able to get the software for about 15-20 bucks at Costco so it was a no brainer. I've yet to see that deal with the 07 version. (I still upgraded though cause I'm used to it) I actually used it with a little USB style gps and it works great. I've since pretty much moved to using my 60cx and it's autorouting. But prior to that I'd use my laptop if we were out of town trying to find things fast and accurate. Only once did it steer me wrong, trying to find the Fox News DC bureau to do an uplink it forgot to tell me my exit was IN the tunnel, so we popped up on the other side and it was saying we missed it, in that short of span in DC we went through a few blocks of some interesting territory, but we still got there no problem.
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Grey Wolf and Wild Rice
Geocacher


Joined: 31 May 2005

Posts: 377
Location: White Bear Township

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that I can tell you about MS S&T's is that I have used it to route deliveries throughout the US and when compared to PC Miler, it was easier to use and within a mile or two in distance over routes covering 1000+ miles. PC Miler is quite expensive ($400?).

To route to caches will work well after you have gotten proficient on it. It's actually quite easy to add stops (caches in this case) to a route and S&T will optimize the stops for you. No need to add them into the route in the order you want to go. S&T does it for you. That feature was one of the things about Garmin's software that was a bit of a letdown.

Construction/detour updates are free and quite accurate. The GPS version has a USB receiver that you do not need to remove your GPS from your laptop when leaving the car for a cache. I have seen this version online for under $100.

You can double-click on motels/gas stations/points of interest items and get their local phone number. I used this a lot while traveling to check rates and availability on motels.

Sure, there are those who hate anything by Microsoft, but this one is work the money. Previous versions did not require an unlock code and could be installed on multiple computers. You might want to test it out if someone has an older version. The main difference in each year are upgraded information on roads and contact information.

All in all, it has a ton of information that is available off-line very quickly.
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merkman
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 03 Jun 2006

Posts: 2032

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GSAK + $40 Laptop Software + Existing GPS + GSAK Custom Export To Hyperlink Cache Info BackTo GSAK = Smile

Now I will have to go try it out this weekend!!!
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Sokratz
Geocacher


Joined: 19 Jan 2006

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:26 am    Post subject: nRoute for Garmin Reply with quote

MS S&T has worked great. I've used it in airplanes, too and it's pretty good. However, I also like to save a few bucks when I can and there is a "free" solution for those that use Garmin GPSr's with Mapsource maps. It works much better if you've purchased additional Mapsource maps for your GPSr (that's where the expense comes in - so nothing is really free).

Garmin offers a free product called nRoute.
http://www8.garmin.com/support/mappingsw.jsp

It will use your Garmin GPSr connected to your laptop (with the latest USB drivers, of course). You can get all of the info you normally get from your GPSr including Satellites, Trip Computer, Driving Directsion. Status, etc, etc. It wall also use voice prompts if you want it too.

I export all my waypoints from GSAK to a GPX file that I then open in nRoute. Viola! I can route to any of the caches in my GPSr.

I've used this with a Vista C, GPSMap 60cxs, and GPSMap 76csx in both a car and in a plane. I'm sure it works with other Garmin models, too.

So, when you have invested all the money in a Garmin GPSr with all the maps and extras, why pay more for another mapping software? nRoute works great for me.
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