IntelliNav GPS Navigation Software
What’s New and Improved in Version 1.1?
As most of you might already know, IntelliNav has some well-known OEM
presence by the names of Routis, iGuidance and MyNavigator. Its strong
presence says a lot about its excellent usability. Like any software, however,
bugs in the previous version limited its full potential. The ones most
discussed about being: (1) Aggressive
locking to highway (2) Highway
ramp cloverleaf routing issue. For weeks, the bug fix has been said to be
underway and a few schedules had slipped hence some adjustments made. While end
users like me have been eagerly awaiting this important upgrade release, GpsPasSion.com
had the privilege to get a copy of the September
12, 2003 build and offered me to
review this release. So here you’ll have the first hands-on review of this new
and improved version of IntelliNav. Since this is not a brand-new product, I am
not going to do a feature-by-feature review because, in case you didn’t know,
there’s already a pretty nice
review of a previous OEM version of IntelliNav. What you’re going to read
here are the major improvements and bugs fixed over the last release, and how
well they work in this release.
[Note 1] The tests done for this review were performed on an
HP iPAQ 2215
with a Holux GM-270 CF GPS device. Maps,
executable and sound files are installed on an SD Card.
[Note 2] The color scheme in IntelliNav navigation screen is
as follows: red routes denote highways/freeways; cyan routes denote major
roads; grey/black routes denote secondary roads; and finally blue route denotes
the planned route.)
Program loading (including
the map data) of this release seems much snappier
compared to the last one. I don’t have big enough of a map
to test on map management but it seems like map
data is now loaded on an as needed basis so memory use is more efficient.
This is sort of confirmed by iNav Support on a
GpsPasSion.com forum thread. According to the description, you can now plan
a long-distance trip by routing from end to end, for example, and highway maps
will be available in between for navigation purpose. It is not clear whether map
data between the end points, if installed, will be loaded on demand (for
example, if you decide to visit an unexpected nice little town halfway through
your planned trip). More tests should follow when the official
release becomes available. Update might be added to this review if necessary.
Program flow is a bit
faster. But the initial route creation is still taking a bit longer than I
prefer. Although the route quality is still the best, very close to what you’d
get from one of those online services like MapQuest. Rerouting when you go off-route
is still pretty fast so you won’t be left without directions in the middle of
The first thing an existing user looks for in this release
will be whether the bugs that have been bothering them are fixed.
[Cloverleaf Routing Issue]
From what I can tell, the cloverleaf problem has been fixed.
The following snapshots give you an idea of the
issue (before) and how it is fixed now (after). Notice that the previous
version of IntelliNav incorrectly (or awkwardly, depending on whether you
perceive this as a bug) routes you off the
first fork of the off ramp then ask you to
make a U-turn whereas this upgrade release correctly (or more intelligently)
routes you off the second fork to effectively
utilize the cloverleaf.
You may notice the snapshot
[Before] to be “strange” looking as I have unloaded the previous OEM version of
IntelliNav from my Pocket PC
for the purpose of this review so it’s easier for me to use the PC
edition of the OEM version to get the comparison snapshots.
Still, static routing is one thing whereas real-time navigation according to
the route created is a different story. So
here’s a road test of the new routing engine behavior. This road test happens
to confirm another bug fix we mentioned, which is discussed below.
[Aggressive Locking to Highway Issue]
Snapshot 1 shows the
navigation screen 700ft before the cloverleaf freeway off
ramp (notice the solid green arrow with a circle, which denotes your current
location). Snapshot 2 is the close-up view
right before the off ramp. This is the point
corresponding to the lower green pointer I marked in Snapshot
1. Snapshot 3 is the close up view while approaching
the fork off the ramp, corresponding to the
point where the upper green pointer I marked in Snapshot
1. In the previous version, IntelliNav all too often would “assume” that you
missed the exit as soon as you get off the
ramp in Snapshot 2 and immediately re-routes
you to the next exit. The continuous snapshots
shown above should make it clear to you that this has been resolved, well, with
a little twist. I observed in two occasions that if the GPS
signal is briefly blocked for some reason (bad reception, overpass, etc) as you
get off the freeway ramp, the routing engine would
for a moment behave like the previous version (assume you’re off-route,
reroute) then pick up the signal and get back to the correct route. A little
confusing if you closely monitor the screen, but not so in practical use as you
won’t be able to (and shouldn’t) keep your eyes on the screen while driving.
There is another incident which proves to be true for all portable GPS
navigation software, which is that when the GPS
signal is weak or reception is bad in general for a prolonged period, the GPS
routing engine could behave rather erratically and give you unexpected
navigation info. I have observed that under such circumstances, IntelliNav
still favors highway. But as soon as the signal strength is regained, it gives
reliable navigation instructions.
[Contact Database Address Lookup Issues]
Two issues as far as I am concerned exist in this category.
(1) Previous version of IntelliNav seemed to
have problem parsing some Contact address with long or multiple address names.
This seems to have been fixed in this release. (2) The previous version seems
to favor “West” over “East”. Don’t get confused. Here’s the explanation.
Whenever the street address contains “West”, the routing engine will routes you
OK but take you to the East side of that street – without a warning. What a
disservice. This has been fixed in this release for a couple of street names
that were incorrectly parsed.
Knowing that the two major issues are resolved, you may be
eager to find out what’s new in this release.
[3D Perspective View]
OK. So you’ve probably noticed from Snapshot
1 that the 3D rendition of the navigation view is added to this release. In
fact, you have three levels of perspective to choose from. (Snapshot
4) So what’s the big deal? PoweLoc Destinator
pioneered 3D view for portable GPS navigation
software and TomTom Navigator also has 3D navigation view. The difference
is, IntelliNav’s 3D view implementation is a true 3D
perspective reflection of the 2D map. Think of
it this way: you are effectively extending the
reach of your view of a huge vertical 2D map
through a limited window (the map area on
screen) by rotating the 2D map by the X-axis
along the Z-axis. (Snapshot 5)
Snapshots 6~8 shows the
same map with three different
Not only do you get the 3D “feel” of the map
as the navigation session proceeds, you get to see clearly for the first time
what the route ahead you can anticipate.
I find this to be the most effective 3D
view implementation of all existing portable GPS
navigation software that provides this feature. And did you notice that this is
the only 3D view implementation with street names displayed? For the reasons
described above, this is the first time I’d like to have the 3D view mode
always on in place of the 2D map view even
after extended use.
Two new routing options are introduced in this release,
namely Reduced Turns (Snapshot 9) and Avoid
Roads (Snapshot 10~11).
To me, “reduce turns” results in an “easier” route and hence
a more comfortable drive in general. The usefulness of
this feature may be subjective. Avoid Roads is accessed through the Detour
button on the Destination Options dialog. (Snapshot
10) It improves on the original limited detour functionality (which only allows
circumventing three fixed distance ahead) and allows for flexible choice of
avoiding any of the roads on the planned route. (Snapshot
11 shows CA-17 S we are trying to avoid.)
You can avoid certain roads from the route by repeatedly
selecting the road to avoid then tap on the
Avd (avoid) button. When you’re done, just tap
on the Nav (navigate) button and the new route that excludes the roads you try
to avoid will be created. I tried
several routes with this new detour functionality and it works quite well but
if you want to get to the route that you feel “comfortable”, it becomes a
little tricky. Then again, if you know which route is more comfortable to you,
simply drive with the initial route and let it reroute as you go off-route
so you’ll still have the directions in case you get lost. In a word, I find
this new functionality to be a really useful replacement to the original detour
[Points of Interest]
To some, POI is a major
part of GPS navigation software. After all, POI
provides a convenient access to a list of addresses for often-visited places,
which greatly extends the very limited addresses stored in your Contact
This release of IntelliNav adds one category of POI
to the database: Shopping. (Snapshot 12)
This is a welcome addition and should prove quite useful
to ladies and gentlemen out there. Haven’t done a great deal of testing but
seems like the entertainment category now has a more complete collection of POI.
I am able to find in this release various theme parks and tourist places that
didn’t exist in the POI database in the last
release. Again, it depends on the map area
you use so your mileage may vary.
This release of IntelliNav is a worthy upgrade to an already
lean and mean GPS navigation solution.
IntelliNav has all the necessary bells and whistles that you need for a
reliable and comfortable navigation experience without any unnecessary eye
candies that may adversely impact overall performance. It has a well thought-out
user interface that facilitates finger-tip operations and an elegant map
rendition that provides an uncluttered view along the route – in either 2D or
3D mode. Although there is still room for improvement, quality engineering is
observed in every aspect of the application. I
fully recommend this GPS navigation software
to those who want to unleash the power of their Pocket
PC devices and especially to those that always
seem to have problem finding their way from point A to point B.
is an experienced PocketPC GPS user who
recently participated in the TomTom