In all three options mentioned, you can name the
data areas you are downloading and you will see how many MB it
will take before hitting the Download button. You can also create
multiple maps, trips and areas before downloading them all to the
handheld. Along with the city, area and trip maps, CoPilot also
offers POIs download options. You can specify the category and
type of POIs you are interested in downloading. These POIs include
pretty much everything you need including gas stations, hotels,
restaurants, attractions, and much more.
One interesting feature in CoPilot Live is the custom
place import function. You can import address from Outloook Contacts
or Excel or text files (for people who are using other contacts
database, you can export your contacts into Excel or text format).
CoPilot Live will add these addresses to POI database under Custom
category. You can now use them to plan your trip.
After you plug in the GPS receiver and activate your
software on the Pocket PC, you now can start driving with the maps
you’ve download. The GPS receiver gets very good signal strength
with about 25 seconds for cold start and less than 5 seconds warm
start. There are a few key views you should get familiar with in
order to use the CoPilot fluently while driving.
The GPS stats views are very clear and packed with
info including GPS stats, satellite acquisition info and your current
speed, lat/longitude position, heading and more. There are additional
GPS features you should check out including access and playback
GPS tracks and use your GPS menu to save current location as a
If you have pre-loaded trip data, you can choose
to view the Guidance screen, map screen or the Itinerary screen
while driving. You can switch between these screens with the
press of a button. The Guidance view has two versions, one for
driver and the other one for passenger. The driver screen uses
the entire Pocket PC screen to display each turn in the turn-by-turn
instruction mode. The fonts and color make the instructions very
easy to see. The passenger screen has smaller fonts but shows
map. If you wish to follow the map, the Map view highlights your
route, indicates your currently position and shows moving arrows
that track your movement. If you only need to see the driving
directions without any visual guidance, you can view the Itinerary
screen, which displays turn-by-turn instructions of your entire
trip in text. You can also use the CoPilot GPS for walking or
hiking, just switch to the Walking guidance screen. The voice
guidance comes in two flavors. If you installed the text-to-speech,
you will have a nice Male or Female voice read your turning instructions
and messages. If you need to save space and choose not to install
the text-to-speech feature, you will get the pre-recorded sound
files that don’t come on as often.
If you need to plan your trip on the Pocket PC or
make modifications to your pre-planned trip, you will find plenty
of tools to do this as long as you have the map data downloaded.
To add new addresses or stops to your current route or start a
new route, you can enter addresses, link addresses from your Outlook
directly or pick stops directly on the map if you don’t know
the exact address. These features make the trip planning on the
road extremely easy and reasonable fast. CoPilot even lets you
set Waypoints if you need to calculate the ETA to different stops
if you have multiple stops on your route.
CoPilot offers a Detour feature on the Pocket PC.
When you are traveling on a planned route and you need to take
a detour due to heavy traffic or unexpected road construction,
you can tap on the Detour icon from your current Guidance screen.
After the calculation, CoPilot’s voice will tell you how
many miles the new route will add to your trip and will begin to
give you new turn instructions. You can either follow the new turn
instructions to take the detour, or cancel the Detour. Your CoPilot
will go back to the original route.
There are various other options to define the
route more tailored to your needs, such as avoid tolls, route
the quickest or shortest, POI alerts, etc., which are quite useful
but impossible to cover in detail here. Read the help file for
There is a single unique feature you can find only
in CoPilot GPS software. The ability to communicate live opens
up a whole new world for GPS applications on PDAs. The live communications
allow someone in the office to track where you are on the road,
send messages and trip itinerary updates. To use this feature,
you must have CoPilot Live installed and running on your home or
office PC and connected to the Internet. Your Pocket PC must have
a wireless Internet connection. A wide area wireless solution offered
by mobile carriers such as the Sprint PCS 2031 CF card or the Verizon
AirCard would make the most sense since they offer near constant
coverage along interstates.
You can launch the live communications window on
your desktop by clicking on the Live button on the left hand side
of your map. You will be connected to CoPilot Live network and
now can track a list of your vehicles on the road. On your Pocket
PC, you can use the Tools menu to set up the live communications
with the office. In the options menu, you can specify what type
of information you wish to send live to the office at what frequency.
Once you have established a live connection with
the office, you can send/receive messages and get route updates.
The interface for the messaging system in CoPilot is tailored to
driver safety. The fonts and colors make the message easy to see
and every message has multiple choice answers. As a driver, you
don't need to type anything and only need to click on one of the
choices and hit the Send button. The voice assistant becomes very
useful here as the message can be read to you.
While the messaging feature is very nice to have,
the live route updates will probably be an essential feature to
those users whose destinations often change or require updates
while on the road. This feature allows the person in the office
to plan your next route and send to you in real time, so you don’t
have to do route planning in the car. Once the new trip itinerary
is sent to you, you can either accept or decline the change to
your current trip plan. If you accept the change, CoPilot Live
will automatically start giving guidance using the new route.
TravRoute offers maps for North America, Europe and
Australia. If you purchased the North America package, you can
purchase European maps and Australian maps separately.
How does TravRoute get their maps? ALK, TravRoute’s
parent company, has been collecting map data for years and supplies
their Worldwide Map Data to the Department of Defense and numerous
transportation and logistics companies throughout the world. ALK’s
North American map database is the backbone of the CoPilot, which
includes street level detail for US, highway level detail for Canada
and Mexico. The company claims Canadian street-level data will
be incorporated into ALK’s map database in Q4, 2003
ALK uses a combination of data collection methods
to enhance and update their map data. The primary source of data
collection are their customers (such as transportation professionals)
and secondary map data is collected from public and private sources
including detailed satellite imagery, digital earth quads, and
data from a variety of government sources including the US Postal
Service, the US Census Bureau and the US Geological Survey. After
the data is collected, the map database will go through a series
of tests and verification.
What does ALK's North American database include?
Over 7 million miles of North American roadway which include over
6 million street-level miles and over 738,000 highway miles, over
100 million U.S. street addresses, over 3 million POIs (Points
of Interest), over 27,000 highway exit numbers and 42,500 five-digit
2003 US Zip Codes. It also includes the county name designation
for every location in the US and the most recent North American
road openings, name changes and construction updates.
The European maps and Australian maps for the CoPilot
Live are licensed from other leading mapmakers. The European data
is licensed from NavTech and includes over 420,000km of street-level
data, 13,100km of highway-level data and over 1,400 cities and
towns with over 69,000 POIs. The Australian data is licensed from
Sensis and includes over 200,000km of street-level data, over 4,000km
of highway-level data and over 2 million addresses with over 23,000
Because the primary data is collected from CoPilot’s
users, you can help to make this data more accurate by sending
in your .gps files and new POIs that are not on the map yet. CoPilot
automatically tracks your trips and save them into .gps file. You
will find an Email Tracks to Club CoPilot option in the menu on
your desktop version to send your .gps files. Use the landmark
reporting option to send in the new landmarks and POIs.
CoPilot Live is a significant update from the previous
version, adding new map data, live connections and international
packages. If you are using the CoPilot 3.0, there are lots of reasons
to upgrade. With three types of receviers, CoPilot Live will work
with most current Pocket PCs. The GPS receiver performs well with
short starting times and strong signal strength. The improved navigation
software and new POI data will likely meet your needs. The unique
real time connection will help you get updates on your routes,
destinations and instant messages, which no other GPS provides
For the latest patches, download the software from
ALK web site: