PocketMap Navigator from Space Machine - posted July 12, 2003 by Tong
Zhang, Senior Editor
Coming from many years of experience in making city
guides, Space Machine spent the last few years developing personal
navigation software for the Pocket PC called PocketMap Navigator.
Their unique approach to providing Pocket PC GPS solutions is to
highly personalize the packages, from the type of receiver to the
level of details in the maps. Currently Space Machine offers three
GPS packages, two in CF format and one that’s a Y-cable with
Above, Standard CF card version
PocketMap Navigator Packages and What’s
in the Box
Advanced CF GPS Kit- Includes
navigation software & US maps, User's Manual, PMG-270 CF GPS
receiver, external GPS booster Antenna, 12V car charger/adapter and
a universal vehicle vent mount kit. This CF GPS receiver is WAAS-ready
12 Channel receiver that supports Type I and Type II CF slots. (If
you don’t know what WAAS is, read our GPS
FAQ.) When used with PocketMap Navigator software, the PMG-270
is an ideal GPS navigation device equally suited for door-to-door
city driving as well as for long-distance cross-country trips. It
supports HP iPAQ 3600-5400 series, iPAQ 2215, Dell Axim X5, Toshiba
e750/e740, Casio E-200 and more. $299
Standard CF GPS Kit- Includes
navigation software & US maps, User's Manual, PMG-220 CF GPS
receiver, external GPS booster Antenna, 12V car charger/adapter and
a universal vehicle vent mount kit. This GPS receiver is a low-profile
ultra-sensitive 12-channel receiver that also support Type I and
Type II CF slot. It does not however have the WAAS capability. Because
the design is tuned for high sensitivity, this GPS solution is the
best for city and urban environments. It supports the HP iPAQ 3600-3900
series, iPAQ 2215, Dell Axim X5, Toshiba e750/e740, Casio E-200 and
Y-Cable Auto GPS Kit-
Includes navigation software and US maps, User’s Manual, PMP-2000
mouse type GPS receiver, Y-cable car charger/adapter for Pocket PC
and a universal vehicle vent mount kit. This GPS receiver is WAAS-ready
12 Channel receiver that’s designed for using in the vehicle.
It supports all iPAQ models, most of Toshiba models, Dell, T-Mobile
PPC Phone Edition, ViewSonic V35, Jornada 560 series and more. $199
For further system requirement and compatibility,
check out Space Machine’s web site. The review unit we’ve
used here is the Standard CF GPS Kit.
PocketMap Navigator comes with 2 CDs including the
navigation software and US 2003 Atlas maps. Follow the installation
instructions to install the PocketMap Data Manager on both desktop
machine and Pocket PC, and PocketMap Navigator on the Pocket PC.
Use the PocketMap Data Manager on the desktop to install
maps and Points of Interest (POIs) to your Pocket PC. There are three
types of date you can download: Map data, Highway data and trip Routes
data. In the Map data download utility, you can choose to download
the maps by searching for the city, county or state, although the
smallest map is the county map. You can download multiple county
or state maps and see a list of cities in county download or a list
of counties in state download. The Highway data is optimized for
calculating long-distance routes on your Pocket PC. It breaks down
the US highway system into two files: West and East. You could however
manually delete the counties you won’t need after downloaded
the maps. The Routes data download allows you to create routes and
download the maps of the areas around each Route Points. In the Routes
window, you need to give the origin and destination addresses, and
can add Waypoints along the routes. Once all the addresses are entered,
you can calculate the route, get driving directions and download
In all three map data download modes; you will get
info on map file size, POI file size, etc. If you don’t want
to pull out the data CD each time you plan a trip or download a map,
you can install the maps onto your desktop or save routes you’ve
planned on your desktop for reuse later.
Driving with PocketMap Navigator
Once you’ve downloaded map data and connected
your GPS receiver, you can click on the PocketMap Navigator on your
Pocket PC to launch the GPS software. The PocketMap Navigator software
has a very intuitive interface that gives you quick access to Configure
GPS, Explore, Driving Directions and Navigate functions. You can
set up map display preferences including Night Mode, Pan Arrows,
Auto Reroute and more in the Settings on this main screen. You can
also set up POI categories and storage options in the Settings.
GPS configuration allows you to select settings such
as Baud Rate, Data Bits, Parity and Stop Bits. Oddly enough, you
have to go through the configuration window to choose the GPS device
or a COM port since the software doesn’t pick its own receiver
by default. Luckily you will find a drop-down list with GPS model
and COM port info for you to select. The PocketMap Navigator Standard
CF GPS receiver gets very good signal strength in both areas I’ve
tested (SF Bay Area and Boston). The initial fix takes about 25
seconds and warm start a few seconds. I typically can track 5-6
satellites with this receiver.
If you haven’t created a route or downloaded
one from your desktop, you can do it right on your Pocket PC, as
long as you have the maps on your handheld. Click on the Explore
button on the main screen, you can explore the vicinity of your
current location, view the maps, POIs and plan your route. To find
a location, you can search by address, intersection or city name
as well as nearby POIs or your recent favorites. There is no integration
with your Outlook Contacts, which means you need to retype the
address even if you have already had it in your Contact database.
There are panning and zooming tools to help you pinpoint a location.
Once you’ve entered origin, destination and waypoints, hit
the red Calculate Route button to get the route map and driving
Driving Directions can be accessed from the main
screen and is a text version of the turn-by-turn instructions with
icons indicating various maneuvers. You also get additional trip
information such as how many turns, miles and ETA. To see the map,
you need to go to the Navigate screen. If you have a route planned,
the Navigation will mark your route on the map and track your movements.
You will hear the voice guidance giving you turn-by-turn driving
instructions. If you missed your turn, the PocketMap Navigator
will make a sound alert and re-route automatically and give you
new driving directions. The re-route process is fairly quick in
our test. The Navigate screen also offers additional visual aids
such as shortcut buttons for reverse the route, next maneuver,
etc, and icons such as Countdown for number of voice guidance messages
left before the next turn.
The timing of the voice guidance seems right on target,
but the volume is very low. Unlike the CoPilot Live that has a
voice amplifier, PocketMap Navigator offers no amplification for
the voice guidance and somehow gives you lower volume than your
device sound volume level. The low voice volume only affects the
text-to-speech feature and doesn’t affect any sound alerts.
About PocketMap Atlas 2003 Data
PocketMap Navigator GPS solution uses the Atlas 2003
map data. It covers 50 US states, 3,100 counties and 30,000 US
cities. The map database has 7 million miles of roads and 2 million
Points of Interest.
In addition to the amount of data Atlas provides,
it offers flexibility in using the map data. There are eight zoom
control levels that can aid you to pinpoint a location on your
map. The map panning features make the trip planning and driving
navigation easy. The map updates in a moving vehicle are very smooth.
PocketMap offers new data updates on their web site so that you
can keep current with your maps.
By offering two different versions of GPS units,
Space Machine is able to suit both urban and rural/highway travelers.
The CF GPS receiver gets strong signals from satellites and takes
a short time to get a fix. The smooth map update and quick re-route
features will likely please the road warriors. I wish that PocketMap
Navigator had a better text-to-speech system which would make it
easier to hear the instructions with noise on the road. While the
full featured POIs and various map data search functions give you
plenty of ways to create your routes, there is little integration
with Pocket PC apps such as Contacts.