Reviews

Memory-Map’s

Moving map software

1 Introduction 3
1.1 Product Overviews 3

2 Summary Conclusion 4

3 Product Comparison 4
3.1 Comparison Table 4

4 Getting Started, Installation 4
4.1 Desktop Menus 5
4.2 Maps/charts, Types and Sources 6
4.2.1 Installing Maps/Charts 7

5 PocketPC program 8
5.1 PDA Menu 8
5.2 Viewing available maps and charts 9
5.3 GPS 9
5.4 Other settings 10
5.4.1 Buttons 10

6 Operation and features 10
6.1 Zooming and Scaling 10
6.2 Creating routes 11
6.2.1 Creating Marks 12
6.2.2 Alarms 13

6.3 Displaying info 13
6.3.1 Satellite Status and position info 13
6.3.2 Lat/Lon 13
6.3.3 Position, Course projection and tracks and velocity vector 14
6.3.4 Range and Bearing info 14
6.3.5 Position Lock lock icon 14
6.3.6 Alternative View Alt view icon 14
6.3.7 Track info 15
6.3.8 Route info 15
6.3.9 Goto info 15
6.3.10 Overlay Manager 17

7 Other Desktop features 17
7.1 Printing 17
7.2 Creating your own maps 17

8 Summary: 18
8.1 Wish List: 18

9 Acknowledgments/References 18


1 Introduction

This review covers the moving map software from Memory-Map and its two variations sold by Maptech and Navman. This software runs on a PocketPC under Pocket Windows 2002 or Windows Mobile 2003. In addition, there is a desktop version that runs on all versions of the OS from Windows 98 to the present XP version.

I will reference primarily the Maptech software and exclusively their nautical charts. To confuse things a bit, I used a patch for my Toshiba PDA that blurs the line between Maptech’s PocketNavigator (PN) and Memory-Map Navigator (MMN). My initial install of PN was version 2.5.7, but I used a Maptech patch that brings it to 3.1.3. When I make reference to native Memory-Map software, I’m talking about the version from Memory Map, not Maptech or Navman. This review will concentrate mostly on the PocketPC version, but the desktop/laptop version allows one to do the same things and is really nice for pre and post trips. My experience with this software spans a few years with use on a Casio E115 and Toshiba e750, initially with an external Magellan GPS and now with a Holux CF.

This software is useful for any off-road use like; marine and aero navigation, hiking, and the sport of geocaching. To get full benefit of this software you will also need a GPS to connect to your PocketPC (PPC).

1.1 Product Overviews

Memory Map: (http://www.memory-map.com) is the US company and developer behind all three products and therefore they are all very much the same. The Memory Map product will support a wide variety of map types and even allow you to scan and create your own maps. These programs use raster-based maps, not vector based like the road navigation programs. This means that there is no “snap to” a road or any point on the map. Your position is displayed without any software finagling. It also means you get a map/chart with much more detail (showing buildings, elevations, railroads, nav. aids, etc.)

One of the neat things about this software is that you get a version that runs on the desktop/laptop that nearly matches the version that runs on your PocketPC. The Memory Map product has one feature not found in any of it derivatives, printing capabilities.

Maptech's Pocket Navigator: (http://www.Maptech.com/products/pocketnavigator/index.cfm) is a slightly restricted and customized version of Memory Map. Maptech is Memory Map’s US partner. Maptech has probably the best topographical maps for the US, as well as marine, aero and skyview. The customization is in the area of the product name, company name and logo and web site pointers. The Maptech version doesn't allow all the various map types and doesn't contain the enhanced overlay manager on the PocketPC, allowing you to list marks, routes, etc, in tabular form (which is a nice feature but you can live without it). And of course, no printing capability. Pocket Navigator supports the Navman iPAQ GPS/sleeve too.

SmartExplorer™: (http://www.Navman-mobile.com/html/3000.htm) Navman is Memory Map’s European partner . This variant of the software is very much like the native Memory Map and allows the use of various map types. But the SmartExplorer software only runs on Navman hardware and is sold as a package. Navman consist of a sleeve for an iPAQ, which contains a GPS and the customized Memory Map software.


2 Summary Conclusion

So what did we think? We’ll tell you right up front. If this sounds good to you, then read the rest and get all the details why we came to this conculsion.

This software is full featured with all controls well thought out. This software is well seasoned and behaves flawlessly. In addition I found the following:

Ø Blazingly responsive, very fast screen redraws
Ø Easy to use and understand
Ø Chock full of features and various ways to present information
Ø Will run with less than 2 MB of program memory, but 4mb is recommended and more is better
Ø Supports a vast number of map and chart types with various formats
Ø
Maximizes and utilizes the PPC screen very well
Ø Flexible and customizable
Ø Supports a gazillion waypoints, marks, tracks and routes (no real limit except your memory)
Ø
Excellent data exchange between desktop, PDA and GPS
Ø
No major short comings and few, if any, minor ones
Ø
Reasonably priced, but maps and charts are extra cost (can easily double, triple your cost)

 

3 Product Comparison

The following table shows all the variants of Memory-Map and what features are available in each. The blue column is the native MMN, where as the green is Navman’s version and the yellow Maptech’s version.

In each case you get two pieces of software, a desktop/laptop version and a PPC version. The features between the desktop and PPC work pretty much the same, so once you learn one, you know the other.

3.1 Comparison Table

Memory-Map

Memory-Map

Memory-Map

Memory-Map

Navman

Maptech

Trial Demo

Street Atlas

Discoverer

Navigator

SmartEx

Pocket Navigator

Free

(UK product)

(UK product)

$125.00

(European Product)

$99.95

Desktop Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP

YES

YES

YES

YES

No GPS

No GPS

Pocket PC

10 Day only

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

Features included:

Plan routes

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

Print

YES

YES

YES

no

no

Import/Export GPS

YES

YES

no

PPC only

Real time Plot GPS

YES

Navman GPS/PPC

PPC only

Performance review

YES

YES

YES

Map Import

ALL

ALL

ALL

ALL

ALL

Maptech only

Elevation

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

4 Getting Started, Installation

Depending on how you purchased the software, you might have a CD or a file to downloaded. The file download is only about 3 mb so that is within the realm of any broadband connection. You will also need maps and charts which are not reasonable to download.

In the US you are most likely to buy one of the Maptech packages. If you were to just buy a TopoMap or a Navigation Chart from Maptech you would get a chart viewer program for your desktop. This is not the software we are reviewing. In addition with your Maptech purchase you will need to buy Pocket Navigator. With Pocket Navigator you will get a desktop version and a PocketPC version.

First the desktop program must be installed. When you use the Maptech CD labeled Pocket Navigator, what gets installed is Memory-Map Navigator with its icon…

You need to register the program. You will need both a Product ID, and a Product Key. Note the license information is not interchangeable between the variants (Maptech, Memory Map and Navman). You should also check Maptech’s , Memory-Map’s, or Navman’s web pages to make sure you have the latest version.

Note: Toshiba 7xx owners will need a patch to run the latest version correctly. Contact your vendor for this patch. The patch for each version isn’t exactly the same. Without it you will experience problems wiht the course projection and track lines.

Once you have registered you should then transfer the program to your PocketPC. Just setup the normal Active Sync connection and use the PDA menu and select Install Pocket Navigator. You will get the usual install screens on your PocketPC. Make sure you get a notice that the license was transferred. Otherwise you will not be able to use a GPS with the program.

So, the installation is typical and pretty much a breeze. Initially when I installed it, I ran into one problem getting my license online. A quick call to Maptech fixed that instantly. You will also find e-mails to Memory Map get answered very quickly too.

4.1 Desktop Menus

The desktop Memory-Map application menu is shown below as a composite pull-down. The items highlighted in yellow are only available with the native Memory-Map software.

Note: Maptech and Navman do Not offer GPS, printing, or the ability to create your own maps using the desktop/laptop software. For these features you’ll need the full-blown native Memory-Map software. Memory-Map provides an upgrade for those Maptech and Navman users needing these features

4.2 Maps/charts, Types and Sources

Memory Map supports a wide variety of map and chart types:

Ø Maptech marine, topographical, aero and photoview types in BSB, PCX and RML format.
Ø
Also marine and aviation charts from Imap at http://marineplanner.com/ in Softchart format.
Ø Canadian Charts from NDI at http://www.digitalocean.ca/
Ø European topos from Memory-Map at http://www.memory-map.co.uk/maps_uk_onland.htm and http://www.memory-map.co.uk/acatalog/maps_europe.html
Ø Your own scanned map images in PNG or TIFF format

Note: In the following screen-shots; the Marine, Topo, NavPhotos and Photo Views are of the same area; the Aeros are of the Statue of Liberty/Ells Island

Also note that you can place marks, waypoints and routes on the Marine, Topo, NavPhotos and Aero charts.
The
Photoview is only a picture and does not allow the use of these features.

And “what you see is what you get”! The application accurately displays the maps and does not change the maps in any way. The maps are usually high-resolution scans of paper maps and charts with the same features, color, and size. Since these have much bigger files sizes (sometimes 10 mb) than vector (road navigation maps) make sure you install the maps on a storage card.


Marine Chart – close up

Topo Map – closeup

NavPhoto view

Marine – zoomed out

Topo – zoomed out

Photo view – zoomed out

Aero

Aero zoomed

NavPhoto

4.2.1 Installing Maps/Charts

Once you have the program installed and registered you then need to install your maps and charts. This is a fairly easy but time consuming process, assuming you have lots of maps. Once the initial install of the maps is performed you will then be able to access the charts/maps much more quickly.

From the Desktop application select the Chart menu, which will open the Chart List window.

Initially the list will be blank so you need to press the Refresh Chart List button to get to a window to input the source of your map files. Once the files are loaded and on the Chart List you can then sort them by any column or search by a map name or partial name.

After you install the charts and maps, you can send them to your PockePC if you have an Active Sync connection, or copy them directly (using File Explorer) to your storage card by a card reader. You cannot copy them directly from CD to the storage card without first going through the install process




5 PocketPC program

Once you have got the desktop software running and maps installed on your desktop you will need to setup some parameters on your PocketPC .

5.1 PDA Menu

The PocketPC screen shot of the Task bar is as follows:

pda menu


The simple menu line provides access to the key features. The GPS status icon, when active, indicates your GPS is not connected. Pressing this icon will give you GPS status. The “Lock” icon becomes fogged when you do not have an active GPS. So there are 2 indicators that tell you the GPS has lost lock.

Once your GPS is actively connected the “i” icon becomes fogged and the “lock” icon become unfogged.

5.2 Viewing available maps and charts

chart list


Very much like the desktop chart list, the PocketPC program has a chart list too. You access the chart list by selecting Menu, Chart…


You can do a search and/or sort just like with the desktop Chart List.

The charts on this list are charts that you transferred from your desktop after installing the chart first to your desktop.



5.3 GPS

Selecting Menu, GPS, Settings will display the following screens. Once on the Setting screen just select each drop-down menu and pick your parameter. Things couldn’t be easier. Most of the manufacturers for stand-alone devices are displayed. If your device isn’t displayed, just select NEMA. It will most likely work fine. But if you plan on downloading waypoints, tracks and routes from your GPS to the PocketPC, then you will need to have the correct device selected. Continue with the setup and pick your Com port and the baud rate of your device. About the only “wish” here would be for an auto-detect of these settings, but since you set these mostly just once, it is not much of an inconvenience.


GPS menu


GPS settings


   

5.4 Other settings

There are a few more parameters you will need to set to make the program function correctly. Select the Menu, Overlay, Settings to display the following screens…


It’s the Units setting that hikers and boaters will choose differently
     

5.4.1 Buttons

Once you pick your units and position display values what’s left is to setup some hardware buttons if you so desire. You may only program buttons 1 – 5. Button 5 is the Record button on a Toshiba. As you can see I picked buttons 2 and 3 to be my zoom in and out keys. In addition the program has the PocketPC’s Scroller/Jog and Navigation/cursor buttons programmed to scroll the map. Pressing the center of the cursor pad or in on the Scroller/jog button causes the map view to toggle between the present and an alternative view. This is one of my favorite features, and as far as I know, is a very unique feature in mapping programs.


6 Operation and features

6.1 Zooming and Scaling

As you can see in some of the screen shots above you have the ability to zoom at 6 different levels using either the zoom icons or hardware buttons if you programmed them. The greatest zoom level magnifies the chart to bigger than original and sometimes is just what you need for your small screen or aging eyes.


Scaling allows one to pick a chart map with a different scale factor (if available). Some charts/maps have a scale of 1 to 10,000, providing good details while others maybe 1 to 80,000 and good for overviews and long trips. The program allows you to select from the available maps by a simple point and hold on the presently displayed map. And when changing maps you will be notified if the map datum changes (such as depths and measurements in feet to fathoms or meters).


If you have loaded maps/charts that are adjacent to one and other, there is no user interaction required as you cross boundaries. The next charts will automatically be invoked. Scaling is used when you have more than one map for a given area.


6.2 Creating routes

Routes can be created either directly on the PocketPC or on the desktop application and then downloaded. You can also create your routes on an external GPS and then import them to either the PocketPC or Desktop.

All one has to do is select the chart/map you wish to create your route on. If your route should span several charts it’s best to use one large-scale chart. Select Menu, Overlay, Create Route and place your stylus at the points on the map you wish to traverse. Each press of the stylus creates a Waypoint at that position. Don’t get fussy about the exact position when mapping out your route initially; just get the approximate positions for the waypoints. To end your route just retap the last waypoint you created.

Now you can go back and zoom the map at each waypoint and simply drag the waypoint to the exact location you desire. In addition you can insert a waypoint either after or before any waypoint by using a press and hold operation on a waypoint, and of course you can delete a waypoint too.


Waypoints (Landmarks for you landlubbers) have generic names like WP01 but you are allowed to rename them to anything you like.


You can attach a note or a file to each waypoint as well as change the symbol for the point.

You can edit the properties of a waypoint by a press and hold on the waypoint and selecting Properties.



6.2.1 Creating Marks

map marks

Marks are very similar to waypoints but are not part of a route.
To create a mark, select Menu, Overlay, Create Mark and tap the position on the screen you wish to place the mark. The screenshot here shows a flag placed as a mark.

You can edit the properties of the mark by a press and hold on the mark and selecting Properties… This activates a screen similar to the waypoint properties screen above.



6.2.2 Alarms

map alarm Another nice feature of waypoints and marks is the ability to set alarms. There are two possible alarms, proximity and anchor.

The Proximity alarm will notify you when you get within a user set radius of the point/mark.

The Anchor alarm will notify you when you go outside the user set radius of the point.

Note, the alarm may only be specified in meters



6.3 Displaying info

One thing this program doesn’t lack is the ability to display information. And the other good thing is you can tailor it your way.

6.3.1 Satellite Status and position info

sat/pos screenshot Selecting Menu, GPS, Satellites.. or Position… will activate a sizable, moveable window. A true window in a window application. You can place these windows anywhere on the screen and even over the Windows task bar at the top of your PPC.


You may also select what parameters you would like to display for the GPS Position window. Selecting fewer lines of information will allow bigger font to be used.



6.3.2 Lat/Lon

lat/lon display
With a simple tap of the screen you can display the latitude and longitude of any position. You must have the Data icon activated to display this information.



6.3.3 Position, Course projection, tracks and velocity vector

Once you have activated your GPS and begin to move, the program will automatically show not only your position as indicated by a blinking red circle but also your projected course from that position and a track (bread crumbs) as you travel. If you loose GPS lock the circle will change to gray and indicate the last known position.

The projection line can be set to display your projected position in minutes from your present location via a user settable parameter.

6.3.4 Range and Bearing info

You can get the distance and bearing from your present location to any point on the map by a single tap of the screen. In the screenshot here the range and bearing to the green/red buoy is displayed.

Note that once the bearing info is displayed there is no indication of the exact point referenced; here I used the red/green buoy.



6.3.5 Position Lock

Another nifty feature of the position indicator is the ability to “Lock” its position to a point on the screen. Notice, I said to a position, any position you like. When you activate the Lock icon the GPS indicator will be positioned in the center of the screen. But, if you’d rather see more map one way or the other, just drag the position indicator and it will track and stay at that position. This is another feature I’d like to see the road-navigation programs employ. This really maximizes your tiny screen and makes it most usable.

6.3.6 Alternative View

Here’s what Alternative view will do for you…

akt view 1

alt view 2

Switch from this…

to this, instantly


You can switch between two views instantly once you establish the views. And I mean instantly, there’s NO screen redraw time to speak of. I don’t know how they do it but it’s fantastic! Note in the above views, I have the red flag (my mooring) positioned at different parts of the screen. You can change either view to be positioned and zoomed however you want independently. So, you get the ability to have different zoom levels, different positioning and when the GPS indicator is active (not in these screen shots), you can set it’s position anywhere you like. These views with their parameters are maintained separately. Just tap the Alt View icon, or press the center of the cursor pad or in on the Scroller/jog button to switch views.

This is one feature the road navigation software programs could use.

6.3.7 Track info

Your tracks are automatically saved. You can at any time get information on a section of your track by a press and hold operation on the track section.



6.3.8 Route info


You can also get information details on a route with a press and hold operation on a route section



6.3.9 Goto info

Here’s a feature the geocaching folks will find handy. The GoTo Mark or Waypoint feature will display two sizable, moveable windows, a direction indicator and a window with distance and bearing, velocity, ETA and Cross track error .

A press and hold on the waypoint or mark and then tapping the GoTo selection activate this feature.

6.3.10 Overlay Manager

This feature is not found in the Maptech program for the PocketPC. You can accomplish the same thing using the desktop software included with all of the programs, including Maptech’s.

Once you have marks, waypoints, and routes created, this manager provides a convenient way to track, edit, view, delete, show or hide each item


These parameters are all stored in a file with the extension of .mmo. You can create several mmo (overlay) files on your own to help manage the data. And of course you can transfer the overlay file between your desktop and PPC.




7 Other Desktop features

The following features are only available with the native Memory-Map desktop software.

7.1 Printing

You can print a section of a map or a whole map. The program lets you print your maps to scale.

7.2 Creating your own maps

If you need to create your own maps you can do so with the native Memory-Map desktop program. The procedure is involved but in some cases it may be the only way to get a map for your area of interest. Generally you will scan a paper map and then identify some reference points, feed this information in to the program using the menu selections under Chart (Edit Chart Properties…, Calibration, Boundary from Route, Route from Boundary, and Create Blank Chart).


Note: If you can buy a chart of the area you are interested in, it’s best to do so. It will be more accurate and save you time and some frustration.


The source here was a topo map taken from Maptech’s online server using screen capture software, then edited using a photo editor and converted to a PNG file; then installed into Memory-Map, calibrated and finally it was ready to transfer to the PPC. This took well over an hour to do. And then you have to verify you got it right. I probably spent another half hour playing with the calibration and I’m still off about 30 yards at places.


8 Summary:

I hope you found this report to be helpful in giving you a good sense of what these programs can do for you. In addition you should now understand the features of each flavor. Overall, you can pretty much consider that these programs are all the same. The programs are chock full of features, things have been well thought out and very easy to use. The program offers numerous ways to customize items your way. So the good news is this may be the best software to use for off-road navigation. So, if you sail, hike, or drive where there aren’t any official roads or you’re into geocaching, check out one of these programs.

8.1 Wish List:

Well, there’s probably something that someone won’t care for but it’s really hard to find something to criticize. Probably the most obvious is the lack of the Overlay manager on the PPC in the Maptech version and the printing feature, both which can be overcome by upgrading to the native Memory-Map version.

Another thing that one might consider on the negative side is that the Maptech version is NOT compatible with its new Outdoor Navigator subscription maps and charts. Seems to me Maptech, who’s primary business is selling maps would want to encourage me to sign up for their subscription plan. Since I now own a large collection of maps and charts it would be nice to update some of them, as I need them. The only way to update now is to buy a whole new (expensive) set of map/charts on CD. Although, using other sources (non Maptech) it is possible to purchase individual maps and charts.

Probably the most import features to be added are those that would better support off-road, car navigation. Features, like voice prompts at waypoints and skipping waypoints, and some of the other features that are usually found in the vector based road navigation programs could help here.

Other items listed here that would be nice (in no particular priority), and now I’m getting picky:

ØBigger icons so you can use the command line icons without a stylus
Ø
Ability to program the jog button as desired (it is pre-programmed)
Ø
A way to indication the position on the map for the “position info” window display
Ø
A heads-up display (but this could result in the map printing being upside down)
Ø
Ability to set alarm radius in units other than meters
Ø
An Arrow in the circle position indicator once moving
Ø
Allow multi-page printing of maps
Ø
Allow notes to be placed directly on the map
Ø
Allow skipping to the next Waypoint when following a route
Ø
Voice prompts for upcoming turns in a route

9 Acknowledgments/References

Memory-Map, Inc., 7358 Wyers Point Rd, Ovid, NY 14521
Telephone (607) 532 4122, Fax (607) 532 4278, sales@memory-map.com

Maptech, Inc., 10 Industrial Way, Amesbury, MA 01913
Telephone: (978) 792-1000, FAX (978) 792-1091, http://www.Maptech.com/company/contact/contact.cfm

Navman Europe Limited, Gatwick Road, Manor Royal, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 9RZ, UK
Telephone: +44 1293 449 882, FAX: +44 1293 459 735, avl.sales@Navman.com