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Mapopolis Platinum for Palm OS with HOLUX GPS GM-210 series
 - by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor and GPS guru

Mapopolis is one of the most popular mapping and navigation software vendors for the PDA market and one of the first to provide maps software for the Palm OS back in 1999. Along with their comprehensive map systems and navigation software, Mapopolis also offers many GPS hardware bundles so that users can have one-stop shopping for their GPS needs. The software runs on both Palm and Pocket PC OS devices. The Mapopolis Platinum for the Clie we have received for testing comes with the HOLUX GM-210 mouse GPS with a vehicle power adapter and a serial cable. I find this bundle is the most efficient for those who upgrade their PDAs often as the Mapopolis application and maps can work with many GPS units; and the HOLUX GPS supports many handheld device models. Here is the support list for both Mapopolis and HOLUX hardware. If you want to know more about how GPS works, read our GPS FAQ.)

Mapopolis and Holux GPS

Mapopolis Support List:

Mapopolis software will run on any Palm OS 3.1 or higher device including OS 5 with 8MB of RAM recommended. It also supports the Clie hi-res screen at 320 x 320 and the high res plus display at 320x480. If you have maps installed on your expansion card, Mapopolis transfers the map to RAM before displaying it in order to make the display and search functions as fast as possible. So make sure that you have sufficient free RAM on the device to temporarily hold the map.

The Mapopolis application supports any GPS device that transmits NMEA 0183 standard and currently supports GPS receivers from:

Magellan GPS Companion for Palm V
Magellan GPS Companion for Handspring Visor
NavMan for Palm m500 series
NavMan for iPaq
Nexian HandyGPS Pro for Handspring Visor
Transplant Computing CF-GPS for HandEra 330
Rand Mcnally Streetfinder GPS
Pharos GPS

HOLUX GPS Support List:
The HOLUX GPS can support many PDAs with the appropriate connectors including iPAQ, Casio, Jornada, Clie, XDA/T-Mobile, Toshiba and even IBM Workpad C505/500. Check their web site for more updated list. The GPS has a removable connector so you can buy the connector that fits your PDA should you upgrade PDAs.


Using the installation CD in the Platinum package, the Mapopolis software will auto-start the installation process. You will see a list of all the States in the US excluding Alaska (you can download maps of Alaska from Mapopolis web site) and some major areas of Canada. You can install the maps of any counties you wish to store on your PDA and check the Install Palm Application box if this is the first time you install the GPS and maps. There is an additional feature in this installation window. If you only know the city names but are unsure which counties they belong in, you can select the State and type the city name to find the county. This only works for the US maps. After you are done selecting the maps you wish to install, you will see the list of the maps and files size on the right hand column. Select the Target User if you have more than one PDA that HotSyncs to your computer, the application and maps will be installed next time you sync. You will see a Mapopolis icon on your PDA with which you can launch both maps and GPS software.

GPS Functions

The HOLUX GM-21 is a 12 parallel satellite tracking channels GPS that’s designed for in-car use and powered by the vehicle’s cigarette lighter. The 2.6x2x0.88 inches mouse GPS has a patch antenna and a strong magnet for accessing signals while mounted on top of your car roof. It also has a built-in rechargeable battery and memory to store satellite data for quicker position fix. When you plug the GPS in your cigarette lighter, the power will charge both GPS device and your PDA. The cold start takes about 30 seconds with good access of the sky, and warm and hot starts take a few seconds. I’ve been able to get at least 6 satellite signals with good strength consistently.

The GPS device can be accessed and controlled by the Mapopolis software. Launch Mapopolis map, then click on the menu button on your silkscreen. You can launch the GPS menu, which lists your current Latitude and Longitude, Elevation, moving Speed and Satellite Strengths bars. You can also modify the GPS settings including Connection Type (Serial, MemStick, CF, FR and BT), Auto-scroll map (to keep your current location in the center of the PDA screen while driving), Auto-rotate map, Keep device power on for 1 hour, Display GPS data on map and Restart GPS at program start.

Navigation and Map Features

Even though you need to be in your car to use the GPS receiver, Mapopolis navigation software and maps give you plenty of freedom to either plan your trip ahead or find directions on the go.

Mapopolis claims to have every street in the US including thousands of landmarks. The maps are updated as the new developments pop up and are surveyed. Of course, one cannot test every street in the US, but I had no trouble finding the most enclosed street in relatively new development areas. When you view the maps on your PDA, you can scroll them by dragging the PDA's stylus across the screen. One very useful feature in viewing the map is the zoom function. You can have up to 16 levels of magnification, giving you a powerful view of the area and specific streets. You also have choice of the level of detail you want to display on the map by modifying the Display Settings, which include Display Street Name, City/ Town Names, Landmarks and change fonts and colors of different road types.









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To locate a place on the map or get driving directions, you can use the Find feature. There are several ways to search for locations on the maps. You can search a name in your address book, or by category for landmarks and business as well as street intersections. Once you find the place, you can either hit the “Go To” button and have it displayed on the map view with the address highlighted and centered, or use the “Highlight” function to highlight the selected address without changing the position of the map. A house icon will mark the selected address, and you can view the addresses you’ve search by clicking on a shortcut icon on the map view. You can also use these addresses when you search for directions. Mapopolis can generate turn-by-turn directions on your handheld. You can use a previously entered address, or find a new address or just simply tap a landmark or a business on the map to indicate the start and end points. You can display the directions in text or in route traced in bold on the map. If you are planning a cross-country driving trip, make sure you get the Mapopolis Major Roads Maps to generate turn-by-turn directions coast-to-coast on your handheld.

One additional feature you will see on the Mapopolis main menu is the Maplets feature. These Maplets are user-built map collections that are shown as overlays to a base map. You can create Maplets of your house, office and other business locations, and share them with others via email, web or beam before they come for a visit or business meeting.

Different Map Types and Packages

Mapopolis offers three different types of the maps. In addition to the Platinum maps we’ve tested here, there are also the Basic and Enhanced map packages. The map data source for the basic and enhanced maps is the US Census Bureau's TIGER '00 database. The map data source for the platinum maps is licensed from Navigation Technologies, which also provides map data for MapQuest.

Basic maps contain the least amount of information among all of the maps and also use the least amount of memory. The basic maps only contain street data, but do not contain address information, water boundaries, or city and town boundaries. Enhanced maps contain the same street data found in the basic maps as well as street address information, water boundaries, city and town boundaries. These maps support street address lookup and allow for searching specific cities and towns.

Platinum maps contain the most information and are more accurate than the basic and enhanced maps. Platinum maps support driving directions whereas basic and enhanced maps do not, and Platinum maps are approximately three times larger that basic maps.

Mapopolis does not yet offer any European and ROW maps.


Pro: With wide variety of PDA GPS hardware support, Mapopolis is an easy choice for people who change their PDAs every couple of years. The easy-to-use interface and great map coverage at the Platinum level will make this solution attractive to any Palm OS PDA owner. The map display looks great on both SJ30 and NX70V. The HOLUX GPS gets great signal strength in the Silicon Valley area with very short start up time. Con: no international map support. The different map packs could be both cost-effective and cumbersome depending on the user’s needs., price varies depending on map package and GPS bundle