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Laptop GPS Compared
Posté le 05 mars 2005 à 20:11:53 par gpspassion.

4. CoPilot Laptop 8


Unique features
The following features I have not seen yet in other consumer GPS navigation software. If you think they are essential to you, keep on reading to find out if this may be the right product for you.

* RV-friendly routing: 12'6" height restrictions for large vehicle routing, avoid U-turns, sharp turns, narrow roads and dense urban streets

* Scenic Routing guides your route toward one of 518 scenic byways that make up over 42,000 miles of scenic roads throughout the U.S

* Enable Propane Restrictions to avoid tunnels that prohibit propane tanks.


Live Communications allow you to email tracking invites to friends and colleagues. Text messages sent from home or office to the vehicle include large, customizable, one-touch response buttons to ensure driver safety. Real-Time Tracking of your travels by friends and family over a secure Internet connection. Itinerary updates including new stops and revised destinations, allow you to coordinate changes to your plans without having to pull over and enter new information. (Live vehicle tracking and other “Live” features are only usable when you have a wireless internet connection on your laptop.)

The software requires “activation”. It can be done on-line via the Internet or users may phone ALK for activation code. I activated the product on-line and it was quick and without any glitch. However, software activation schemes always wake up the paranoid side of me: What if I need to re-install the software in the future and the company is out of business? What if I don’t have Internet connection or the company phone number and I need to re-install it in an emergency situation? What if the company’s server is down. What if it’s a weekend and nobody is answering the phone? What if…

ALK has CoPilot products that cover Europe, Australia and North America. I tested the North American version which came with Canadian map coverage. USA coverage may be purchased separately, or if you are in the US and your CoPilot arrives with US map, you may, if you wish, buy Canadian map.

Generally speaking, coverage is very good and even small towns are included. Unfortunately during my brief exposure to CoPilot I did notice a higher level of map data errors and omissions than I have experienced with e.g. MS Streets & Trips or iGuidance. Also I miss the detail of highway network that other products offer. In my city a lot of highway segments consist of express lanes and collector lanes, but CoPilot shows all highways as a single red-yellow-red line. If you are driving in an express lane you may be suddenly told your exit is approaching, but in most situations exits are from collector lanes. Because of the lack of highway detail, CoPilot has no way of knowing when to tell you to transfer from express to collector lanes.

Points of Interest (POI’s)
Likely there are more Points of Interest (POI’s) south of the border, but here in Canada I would not use the POI feature. I tried to locate the closest gas station here in Toronto and I was told the closest one was on the US side of Niagara Falls, about an hour and a half from here. Microsoft Streets & Trips will locate well over 200 gas stations just in a 10 kilometre radius anywhere in the city of Toronto.

Entering of destination address

When entering your destination in CoPilot it is (unfortunately) mandatory to enter City, not just Street. I find it very inconvenient because even if everything goes without a glitch, the necessity to enter that extra piece of information just makes the whole process unnecessarily longer. Many times I did come across a hiccup just because in my area, often if you walk across a street you may be technically in another city. Some streets in my area are 30, 40, even 50 kilometres long or longer. At times I only know the street name and street number but if I don’t know the city name I may have a difficult time with CoPilot, because one street may go through several towns.

But even bigger issue is the inability to successfully search for an existing number on a lot of streets. That appears to be in some cases due to some streets not having any numbers associated with them, and in some other situations it appears to be due to CoPilot not having accurate information about valid number ranges in many street segments. If CoPilot fails to locate a street number, it will let you select a cross street, but if you are not familiar with the area you have no way of knowing which cross streets in the dropdown list to choose.

Voice Prompts
Direction prompts can be given in your choice of either male or female pre-recorded real human voice. Variety of languages and accents are available. You may also select male or female text-to-speech voice directions, which will, in addition to letting you know where to turn, also let you know street names. Every user will find their favourite. I ended up using pre-recorded female, English language with Australian accent.

Other features

Optional “Driver Safety” mode hides the map and displays only text on the screen. At speeds below 10 m.p.h. it switches to the map display (map displays Next Turn view). I suspect most users feel more comfortable seeing map at all times, but this “Driver Safety” mode may be a preferred option of users with smaller displays, for example 7 inch external monitors so popular these days among car pc users.

* Speed Alerts give visual and/or audio warnings when you exceed pre-set speeds.

* Routing Options include Auto Quickest, Auto Shortest, RV Quickest, RV Shortest and Toll Avoidance

* CoPilot can respond to your voice commands.

* Automatic Route Recalculation

* Detour and Avoid Roads

* Customizable Display lets you decide which pieces of navigation information are displayed on CoPilot Live's screen. You can choose among Current Road, Crossroad, Current Time, Speed, Elevation, Nearest Town, Next Major Road, Time Left in Trip, Heading and Destination

* POI Alerts notify you when you're approaching gas stations, restaurants, rest areas, etc.

* Route Optimization re-orders your stops in the most efficient manner.

CoPilot Live Laptop 8 may be the right software for you if you think you can take advantage of the features that are unique to this product, especially the live communication via the Internet, the web based tracking, RV-friendly routing and Scenic Routing. This is a feature rich program that takes a while to master. It has many more features than I have mentioned here or that I have even discovered during my limited exposure to it. Consider the above not a review, but rather a brief summary of my first impressions.

$199.00 or less (Software only)

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