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Tested : OnCourseNavigator 8
Posté le 30 novembre 2008 à 22:30:05 par gpspassion.

Article written by Paul, moderator of our forums and experienced user of GPS Assisted Navigation, first on PocketPCs, then on AIOs and smartphones. .If you have questions or comments you can use this topic of the forums.
OnCourseNavigator 8
iGo 8 - Liquid Display - Lane Assist - TeleAtlas 2008.4 Maps



I'll start out by giving you my conclusion first: OnCourseNavigator 8 (which is really iGo 8) may very well be the best piece of navigation software I've used to date. The GUI used by OCN8 is the one that HP should have used for its HP310 and it is a real pity that this software is not available in a PND here in the US.

I used the program on my MWg Zinc II and it ran without a hitch. No stuttering, slow downs or restarts. Unfortunately it takes 128M RAM to run text to speech and so I couldn't try TTS out on the Zinc II, which has only 64M RAM. This is a poor choice on OCN's part, as there are TTS engines out there that will run in a 64M RAM space.

The maps are by Tele Atlas and are labeled 2008.4.

Now for a few shots of the basics of the program. As usual, all shots are taken live and not from a simulation. Thus the glare on some of the screens. OCN8 is the most confgurable program I know and has more options than any other that I've seen. This being the case there is no way I can cover every option and feature in the program. In this review we're just going to look at the basics.

OCN comes on a 2, 4 or 8 Gig micro SD card and costs from $75 to $125, depending on the size of the card. Since the program is locked to the card getting a larger card will enable you to keep more non-OCN stuff on your phone or PDA.





Like earlier programs from OCN the has the ability to drop down into a "simple mode" which cuts out a lot of the options available in the program and makes it much easeir to use for a novice. Note that you can navigate to coordinates, which will be a big plus for many users. While you will see TMC mentioned in one of the buttons above, there is no TMC currently available on OCN8.


The large keyboard is easy to use and it has type ahead so that it calls up possible locations as you type. The search is very fast. The only slow part of OCN8 is initial setup, where it scans all your contacts and attempts to turn them into POIs. This can take a very long time and initially I thought the program was locked up or broken, until I found the FAQ on the OCN website. In this one regard OCN8 was a failure. It was a 100% bust in importing any of my contacts. This might not be a fair test, however, since I use a Mac and had synced my contact over to the unit with The Missing Sync. It is very possible all this conversion broke something in the contact formatting, even though the contact appear fine in the Zinc II's contact list.


POI searching is also very comprehensive, as you can see, and I especially like the ability to search along your route and at your destination, which not all programs offer.


Note from the above that OCN8 will do track logs, which can very useful.




Two excellent features here are the easy ability to go to a city center and the ability to go to a coordinate. Searching for an address was always very fast.



After a search you are presented with the above screens. If there is one thing that OCN8 has it is options for everything. Notice how many things you can do with the cursor once you have completed a search. I don't know of any other program which gives you all of these options.


Once you have plotted a route you are given the above information screen, and then have, as you can see at the bottom, a number of options to change the route parameters. Options are always present, no matter where you are in this program.


Of course, you can call up a turn by turn itinerary of your route.



Most importantly, to me, is the ability to program avoids. You can do this by miles ahead, which I have never found very useful, but, as you can see, you can also do it by maneuver, which is very important for refining a route or forcing a route to take certain roads. Not all programs allow this degree of flexibility.


After you are on a route you are offered all sorts of Detour options, as you can see above.



Above is a shot of one of the route screens that is available whole you are driving, as well as a shot of the trip computer. There are three seperate trip computers available.


Now we are under way. It is spooky how smooth the screen movement is due to OCN's high refresh rate. It looks more like the movement you see in video games, as opposed to the jerky movement of most GPS screens. The thing just flow along. What is also neat is that the overpasses are elevated over the roads and quite often, though not 100% of the time, you can see the car icon pass under, and be obscured by, an overpass. NavNGo's gaming heritage is very apparent in every element of the display.

On the right of the screen you can toggle between 3D and 2D, do a detour, get position information and go to the menu. These icons fade out after a short qhile and can be recalled by touching the screen. On the left you can see the basic navigation information and more screens, such as the trip computer, can be called up by touching the various elements themselves.


Another nice touch is that you can call up information about your current positon and see all the POIs that are nearby, all in one screen.


As you can see on the bottom of this screen, you can also change the 3D perspective of the display.


As you are going you can record a track log, and notice all the options you are given about the log's creation. I especially like the ability to set the update interval as it will allow you to log long trips. Unlike any other road navigation program I've seen this function also allows you to change the type of log it creates.


Here you see a shot of me under way and coming up to a roundabout, or traffic circle as we call them in New Jersey. Notice that the display not only shows me the roundabout, but the next turn after that.


Here we have a shot of the lane assist function. You can see the arrows at the bottom of the screen. This function worked perfectly on all the Interstates and major highways where I used it. The spoken directions are clear and called out early enough. It is just a pity that a program this good requires so much memory for text to speech.



Of course OCN has the ability to show buildings, as you can see in the above two shots of New York City. For me, this is a pretty useless function. When it was demonstrated to me in Las Vegas by NavNGo at CES it seemed pretty impressive. But later I realized that this was because the Vegas streets are very wide and the buildings all have very distinctive shapes and forms. If you use it in a city like New York all you see are a bunch of boxy buildings that you can't tell apart. Because of the narrow streets and look-alike buildings the display gives you no help at all in telling where you are. It may be useful in some cities, like Las Vegas, but I consider it mostly eye candy. I must say, though, that even with all these graphics on the screen OCN didn't slow down a bit on my Zinc II.

Conclusion: I really, really like this program. Even though I have a fair number of PNDs, with much larger screens, I find myself grabbing my Zinc II and using OCN8 when I need a GPS unit. I really wish someone would take the program and put it on a big screen PND. HP made a rather abortive effort and MIO dropped NavNGo, so there is currently no PND implementation here in the States.

Kudos to OnCourseNavigator for giving us access this this great program. As NavNGo is available in Europe, I wonder how closely the above screen shots resemble the European program. Perhaps some of our European readers could comment on this.
If you have questions or comments you can use this topic of the forums.

 
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