NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, May 2008
Microsoft Streets and Trips 2007 with GPS
Review by Joseph Kluepfel, Director
Broward Personal Computer Association, Inc.
joekuepfel(at)bpca.com (click to email author)

Obtained from APCUG with the author's permission for publication by APCUG member groups.

Install this on your laptop and you have the luxury of setting up your trip at home and then use it in the car. A laptop screen is four times bigger than a navigator installed in a car or fifteen to twenty times bigger than a portable GPS.

Microsoft Streets and Trips is a powerful mapping program, loaded with maps of cities and towns with nearby lodging, food and points of interest. The text directions for the trip include construction warnings, and these can be updated just before you leave. One great feature is the ability to click on a section of your route and drag the route to another road or location.

You can preset your trip with choices, such as start and end times, stops, speed, freeway or non-freeway, shortest distance or shortest time. Iíve learned to be careful of using Shortest Distance; it may take you off a freeway to city streets to save a fraction of a mile.

Installation of the application is simple and quick, the GPS connects to the laptop through a USB port, powered by an included car lighter adaptor. If your trip is extensive, youíll need a car adaptor to power the laptop, and a gadget to connect two adaptors if the car, like mine, has only one cigarette lighter. The GPS attaches to the windshield with a small suction cup and it can fall off occasionally. I found that the GPS will work fine just laying on the dash. You should have a floor or dash mount for the laptop, and every time you start the application, you will have to accept the warnings from Microsoft about using it in a car. The best way of course is to have a co-pilot and a lap table or cushion will make it comfortable, remember how hot laptops get.

There is a choice for male or female voices for the verbal directions. These will warn you as you approach exits or turns. I found that some of the directions were a little late, especially if youíre driving fast. I did have a few occasions where the directions were wrong, right instead of left, or a left turn when the exit ramp was to the right.

Itís best to print out the maps and directions, especially maps for the turns and highway exits. Names of the streets are not given, but I would find it annoying to hear the names as you cross each street. Hearing the name of the route or street where you will turn would be helpful.

The screen shows your actual speed, the distance to and direction of your next turn, and distance and time to your destination.

All in all, Microsoft Streets and Trips 2007 with GPS is a very useful aid for traveling and getting directions to unfamiliar locations.

This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).

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