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 Destinator 3 Israel Review (updated links)
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igurevich38

USA
764 Posts

Posted - 14 oct. 2004 :  23:45:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Destinator 3 Israel Review
Road Software

(Off-Road Software review here)

Updated 05/05/2006

There are now 3 Navigation products for PPC avilable for Israel:
1) Destinator (it's back) - http://www.benchmark.biz/
2) Nav N Go (iGo) - http://www.navngo.co.il/
3) Navigator (PocketMap Navigator) - http://www.carpc.co.il/EN/

There is also 1 for Palm:
1) U-Drive - http://www.udrive.co.il/




Updated 01/08/2006
For those who come to Israel unprepared and want to buy GPS hardware and sofwtare quickly, it's now available at all local Office Depot stores (which are all over the place). Prices are very good.

Mio 168RS is selling for 1800 NIS ($390), Nav N Go Software for 1200 NIS ($260), and Mio 136 bundled with Nav N Go for 2600 NIS ($563). All prices include 16.5% VAT.

Check the latest price for Nav N Go here:
http://www.officedepot.co.il/(pto1w455makp2u55dv2wr045)/catalogSku.aspx?PR=QJ5&ID=668160
And for MIO here:
http://www.officedepot.co.il/(pto1w455makp2u55dv2wr045)/catalogSubCategory.aspx?PR=*&id=2701009
Find the Office Depot closest to you here:
http://www.officedepot.co.il/(pto1w455makp2u55dv2wr045)/specialLinks.aspx?ID=101

All PPCs come with Hebrew support preinstalled, so you don't have to pay for that separately. Nav N Go does not require any kind of activation, so you should be ready to go straight out of the store.




Equipment Used:
Axim X5 with 512MB SD card
Destinator 3 Israel version 3.0.32
Haicom 303S GPS in the CF slot

Introduction:
I finally got around to writing my Destinator 3 Israel (D3I) impressions from my trip in August 2004. This review will not cover general features of D3, since there are many reviews out there that have done that already. It will only focus on the specific features of D3 Israel.

Overview:
D3 Israel is not compatible with any other maps besides the Israeli ones, due to copyright restrictions. If you try opening D3I map with the US D3 or vice versa it will tell you that he map is corrupt. So if you already own a different D3 for US, Europe or some other country, you must have a separate installation of each, if you want them installed on the same Pocket PC. D3 Israel comes with 2 maps of all of Israel, one in Hebrew and one in English, both of which are exactly the same. The interface and the voice instructions can also be either in English or Hebrew, and you can have both installed at the same time.

Installation:
Since D3 Israel uses Hebrew, you must first install Hebrew support for PPC (yes you have to buy that too) made by either PDAC (www.wince.co.il) or Eyron (www.pocketpc.co.il). If you install D3 Israel without the Hebrew support it will crash when you try to run it, even you only use it in the English mode with an English map. What I found was that you can install the trial version of Eyron for free, which works for 7 days, and then when it expires you can uninstall it and D3I will still run ok. I guess some files get left behind. This way, if you don’t speak Hebrew and will not be using it anyway, you can save yourself $80. I don’t know if the same would work with PDAC’s Hebrew support, since I only have Eyron.

Having US and Israel installed on the same PPC:
Since I already owned the US D3, I didn’t want to uninstall it just to have D3I. So I figured out a work around to install both. I renamed the DestinatorApps/Destinator folder in which the US D3 was installed to DestinatorUS. Then I ran the regular D3I installation which installed D3I into DestinatorApps/Destinator default folder. When I upgraded the US D3 to a later patch, I had to make sure that its folder was renamed back to the default name DestinatorApps/Destinator, and D3I was renamed to something else like DestinatorApps/DestinatorIsrael. Make sure that you register each tool first before you change the folder names. But once both are registered it will work.

Interface:
D3I interface is exactly the same as any other D3. If you want it to be in Hebrew then you have to switch the whole OS to Hebrew in the Language Settings. It doesn’t have a separate switch. However, if you want your interface to be in English, but want the map to be in Hebrew then you can just open the Hebrew map. Each map takes up only 10 MB, so you may even not need an SD card to store the maps.

Here are some screen captures of what both maps look like:



Voice Commands:
D3I comes with 2 sets of .WAV files for the voice commands, Hebrew and English. If suddenly you changed your mind and want to switch to the Hebrew commands you will need to manually copy the Hebrew .WAV files to your PPC and you don’t need to reinstall anything. You cannot switch between Hebrew and English voice commands without overriding the .WAV files in the default directory.

Setting Destination:
Depending on which map (English or Hebrew) is loaded, destination have to be entered in the same language. So if you have the Hebrew map loaded, but try to type in the destination in English D3I would not find it. However, Favorites can be saved in either language or both, since D3I finds them by the Lat/Long location and not by the name.

Here is a list of the hotels that I saved, some of which are written in English and some in Hebrew:



Map Quality and Directions:
There are 2 aspects to the accuracy of D3I maps. The way it looks and binary markers inside the map. The looks were very accurate. All of the roads and streets were present and in general the map was up to date. But the binary markers which tell D3 where a roundabout begins and ends or where certain intersections occur, were really messed up, so often D3I would not tell you that you’re approaching a roundabout and you need to run off of it. Since Israeli streets and roads are extremely curvy and are not on a grid, the voice instructions were practically useless. Often D3I would say Left Turn, when it really meant Right Turn. After a little while I completely stopped relying on the voice instructions and just had to look at the map all of the time to tell me where it was going.

Route Recalculation:
D3I recalculation is as slow as the regular D3. And the algorithms used seem to be more design for the US roads, which are more or less straight. In Israel if you make a wrong turn, the best way to get back to your route is to turn around, go back to the same spot and then make the right turn from there. I.E. U-Turn is the best recommendation most of the time, since there is no grid and a different street will not bring you to the same spot. D3I doesn’t know about that so it would try to calculate a different route, which may result in hours of extra driving.

POIs:
POIs is the most excellent feature of D3I. They are very complete. I used them extensively to find hotels, parks, historical sites and supermarkets. Everythign I needed was there. Another nice thing is that it comes with a category called Street Lights. So if you turn it on, then all of the street lights in all of Israel will be visible on your map. Very useful. In Israel small villages (called Kibbutz or Moshav) do not have street names. So if you are going to one, you can only input the name of village, but not more than that. If your hotel is located in one of them the only way to find it using D3I is by putting in its Lat/Long coordinates. This where the POIs came in really handy, since all of the hotels are already there.
Before the trip I also added a bunch of my own POIs with places that I would need to visit just in case.

Here are just a couple of snapshots of POIs that are available:



Avoiding Roads:
This is a very critical feature and also a very poorly implemented one. D3I has 3 settings to avoid by default:
1) Palestinian Area A (Yesha A)
2) Palestinian Area B (Yesha B)
3) Toll Roads

On the surface it looks great, since it appears that all dangerous Palestinian areas, in Gaza and West Bank are automatically avoided. But you have to know that all major highways in Israel that go through Gaza and West Bank are officially not a part of Area A or B, because they are controlled by the Army. Yet, many of them can be extremely dangerous due to shootings, and also have Army roadblocks which will results in delays, or in certain areas require to have an Army vehicle to escort you.

When I was driving from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea the shortest road is to go through Hebron, which is one of these areas. D3I created a route that goes through major Palestinian areas, even though I had them set to be avoided, since all major roads are officially not a part of it. Instead I had to use a paper map for the whole 2 hour drive to go around the West Bank since D3I kept telling me that I am way off-route and tried to bring me back into the West Bank. D3I is completely not reliable to avoid the Palestinian areas and if you think that your road may go through any of them, you have to manually check the route that D3I generated.

As far as Toll Roads go, there is only one in all of Israel and that’s Highway 6, so it’s really not that big of a deal to avoid it.



In comparison with OziExplorer with good street maps of Israel:
In my last review about GPS navigation in Israel I described driving around using OziExplorer and a complete set of raster Israeli street maps. The only drawback of Ozi was that it didn’t have pre-made POIs (I had to make them all myself before hand) and it couldn’t automatically generate routes, so it required some preplanning. With D3I preplanning was not required for most part, except for driving around Palestinian areas. However, to save money if you don’t mind preplanning then OziExplrorer will do just fine.

Planning without a GPS:
D3I was very useful to plan routes and find places even without a GPS. I set it to the Planning Mode (the cursor looks like pushpin instead of a wheel) and could use it like a regular mapping program. And with the help of SOTI Pocket Controller tool, I could type things in on my PC and search for places and routes without tapping the PPC all the time. Since currently there is no PC mapping program for Israel available, D3I was very useful in this sense. My wife, used it in Israel even without a GPS just to walk around and manually pan the map, to find places, instead of using a paper map, since D3I has a lot more POIs marked on the map, than any paper map.

Summary:
D3I was useful because it generated good routes (except for when you have to drive through Palestinian areas) and comes with a great set of POIs. It was not very good as a navigation tool, because its voice commands were completely unreliable. Despite all of the drawbacks it was still of great value to get around in an unfamiliar territory. But for the price of $400 for D3I, plus $80 for Eyron, other methods of navigation may be a lot more cost effective.

Edited by - igurevich38 on 05 mai 2006 12:21:58

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superduper

18 Posts

Posted - 15 oct. 2004 :  06:58:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
what version have you used? was it 3.0.75?

I have notice horrible memory leak on Destinator 3.0.75. Have you?
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igurevich38

USA
764 Posts

Posted - 15 oct. 2004 :  07:04:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No, it was the previous one 3.0.32. 3.0.75 didn't come out until a few weeks ago. Does it have any improvements (besides the memory leak :-))?
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superduper

18 Posts

Posted - 15 oct. 2004 :  12:44:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
yes, it does have major maps improvements. we are working on he above mentioned issue right now. it is hard to reproduce o some devices but looks like Destinator does not clear the buffer out from incoming GPS data and therefore buffer groving in time and eventually occupies all memory available. i should be able to tell you more soon. Unless Destinator guys will comment on this issue.
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gpspassion

93999 Posts

Posted - 15 oct. 2004 :  12:56:01  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
"we" is that you/your company or a "cut/paste" of an email you received? Anyway you should start a news discussion thread as this does not appear to be specific to D3i.

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RonenB

Israel
51 Posts

Posted - 16 oct. 2004 :  07:50:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Illia,
(edit by GpsPasSion - stick to email for personal comments, thanks)
Please allow me to correct few mistakes in your article:
1. Hebrew - D3I doesn't need hebrew in its new version. I installed it already on several PDAs for people without hebrew (tourists, foriegn citizens etc.) without any problem. Just install it in English with English map.
2. D3 US+Israel do work together with the new version 3.0.75 which was released about three weeks ago.
3. Language switch - No problem to. In D console choose FILE->Add language and upload any language you want. Then in D go to Look& Feel and you can switch the language of the voice commands and/or the skin upon your choice.
4. U turn issue - I think you missed something here. The software does try to put you back on route using the nearest way. I never drove for hours by mistake here.
5. Voice commands - There is a time when the map shows left but by some strange bug, the voice says right. This happens very rarely.
6. Recalculation times - in the new version this goes by less than ten seconds !
7. West bank - the new version also allows you to avoid area C which is the roads in the west bank controlled by the Israelis.

Thank you for a nice article. If any one of you guys needs help with D or anything else related to navigation in Israel, you can email me.
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gpspassion

93999 Posts

Posted - 16 oct. 2004 :  14:14:25  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for these comments, on 6, we've heard that before...I'll believe it when I see it ;-) On 7. Can you clarify whether this would fix the type of problem encoutered by Ilya?

Instead of having people email you, you might want to put a message with info you find useful for "Navigating Israel", and I can put it on the corresponding page on the portal with due credit and links of course.

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RonenB

Israel
51 Posts

Posted - 16 oct. 2004 :  14:23:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I wrote a lot abot it as the GPS & Navigation administrator on www.pocketpcfreak.com However, pur site is in hebrew so most people will probably find my articles unuseful for them.

The new version solves all the problems Ilya encountered. More info about D in Israel could also be given at the local vendor support mail:
support@gpsmore.com
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gpspassion

93999 Posts

Posted - 16 oct. 2004 :  14:35:06  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ok, well if you want to do an English version we can host it here.
As part of this discussion , I'm not sure a sweeping statement about the new version "fixing everything" is very helpful, but we can take it from there ;-)

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RonenB

Israel
51 Posts

Posted - 16 oct. 2004 :  16:24:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nope, actually the new version also interduced new problems. I will consider translating our knowledge base about it to English.
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gpspassion

93999 Posts

Posted - 16 oct. 2004 :  16:36:05  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Oops about the new problems...ok looking forward to that when you have some time.

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igurevich38

USA
764 Posts

Posted - 17 oct. 2004 :  05:59:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ronen.
Thanks for the corrections. I guess I would have to try the new version next time I am in Israel.

About #1, I tried doing that first. And D3 would crash everytime I would load it. But as soon as I installed Eyron it worked fine. I wonder if that happened because I loaded the Hebrew map together with the English map.

Can you post a complete list of changes/improvements in 3.0.75.
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RonenB

Israel
51 Posts

Posted - 17 oct. 2004 :  20:17:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If you can read hebrew, I made a PPT project about it.
http://destinator.co.il/files/-54565067-89220828PPCFreak.ppt

If not, I might make this list. I just wish to know if there is enough interest here before I sit and do it.
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igurevich38

USA
764 Posts

Posted - 18 oct. 2004 :  18:46:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ronen.
Thanks. I read it, but I am sure others would like know about this stuff. You can now import/export POIs from/to Ozi waypoints? Can you post some screens of that? It's really weird that none of this is avilable for the US version, still.
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RonenB

Israel
51 Posts

Posted - 20 oct. 2004 :  06:30:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes you can with the new version ! Actually, not only from Ozi. You can import POIs from any LAT/LON database! all you have to do is add them to an excel page and then use the tool. The new version will be available worldwide in the next few weeks.
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325xi

Canada
41 Posts

Posted - 01 nov. 2004 :  12:58:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by RonenB

You can import POIs from any LAT/LON database!


Well, what about export of POI, and ability of editing them on PC?
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