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Not every navigator is suitable for this. Older models (without a cartographic base) or with a small amount of RAM are not suitable. Even if a world map is stored in the device’s memory, the cities in it are displayed sparingly; you won’t find either streets or even more information about road signs in them. Therefore, the city map must be additionally loaded into these devices.
It can be otherwise - use a personal digital assistant (PDA) and a special receiver for communication with satellites, connected via a connector to a computer. (A computer in its free time can perform a host of other useful or entertaining functions.) A significant amount of memory allows you to load a detailed map into it, without saving every megabyte. The main drawback of PDAs is that they are more vulnerable than conventional navigators: they have no protection against moisture and dust, and are sensitive to vibrations. Power is also not going smoothly - special batteries require recharging from a stationary 220 V network or from a car cigarette lighter, while GPS navigators can receive energy from the on-board network of a motorcycle or from “finger” batteries.
Some motorcyclists use a laptop for navigation, but still it is not very convenient to travel - it is heavy and not small.
There are two types of cards: raster and vector. The first are scanned "paper" topographic maps. Being processed by one of the programs (Maccentre PocketGPS or Ozi eXplorer), they display all its elements on the display, and the GPS receiver indicates your location. The advantage of this method is that a reliable large-scale military map contains a lot of useful information. Such two-kilometer cards can be downloaded from the Internet in a scanned form. And completely free. Raster maps also have drawbacks - you cannot route along them, the program does not "see" the road network and settlements. This means that you can’t use search engines that work fine on vector maps. In addition, there are no reliable raster maps for cities with an exact coordinate reference for working with GPS systems.
More perfect vector cards. In modern cartographic fundamentals, vectors exactly repeat all road networks, taking into account traffic signs, with turns, throughput, one- or two-way traffic. Namely vector maps of the world, individual regions and cities are contained in the memory of all GPS navigators, and they can be downloaded into the device’s memory from sellers of navigators or bought on a CD for the PDA.
Naturally, domestic developers are preparing maps for Russia. There are three most famous programs for navigating vector maps of Moscow and the Moscow region. These are PocketGPS Pro from MakTsentr company, Ariadna from Gemos and PalmGISGPS from Cyberso.
Ariadne (cost $ 120) has no special frills in the interface. The program has only three tabs: "settings", "quick route" and "map". In the "settings" the coordinates of six points are remembered. “Quick route” allows you to press the button, for example, “home” to get the laid route from the point where you are to the house.
The “map” of street names at a small scale does not exist at all, but the program pronounces the names aloud. Although endless voice prompts are not always heard, traffic noise drowns them. Messages very often do not sound clearly enough, and again you need to click on the "map" to find out what kind of street it is.
To search for the necessary objects, it is proposed to choose either the address search, which is cleverly hidden in the interface itself, or to start from the objects laid down in the search, such as: metro stations, airports, regional cities, railway stations, restaurants, cinemas and hotels. "Ariadne" is not able to lay a route through several points. If you need to call somewhere, you will have to set new coordinates twice. And bypassing the traffic jams (we will talk about them a bit later), it will not be possible to drive with the help of Ariadne.
The menu of this program (cost $ 119) can easily be rearranged to fit your needs or even remove the buttons for a while, so that nothing prevents you from quickly navigating the map.
Inside a small square on the screen, when you press a key, the speed, time and distance to the end of the route, the satellite indicator (“status”) and the battery charge level are alternately displayed. Administrative and residential buildings are indicated in different colors. It is important: the inscriptions on the map are always readable and scaleable along with the map.
The map is updated every three months. If desired, the user can replenish this database with his objects using the “Waypoints” option, and make a bookmark with his favorite restaurants or gas stations in the computer's memory. By the way, there are already more than a dozen files created by altruists, with the addresses of restaurants, bars, museums. These files and a demo version of the program can be downloaded at www.pocketgps.ru.
The program provides the ability to plot a route through several points on the map. One of the most interesting features of the PocketGPS Pro program is not just to upload traffic congestion information to a city map, but also to plan a route based on these data. Moreover, the program will tell you how to get around traffic jams on more than 800 highways of the city. When forming a route, there are alternatives - the fastest in time or the shortest in distance options.
In this program (cost $ 70) all buildings are presented only in gray. Street names, according to some strange idea, are scaled along with the map, so that against the background of unreadable streets, a huge name of a district or a city near Moscow can surface.
PalmGISGPS reports speed, time and distance to the end of the journey and traffic jams (if you connect the service from Vessolink). All these features are hidden in the settings. During testing, it became clear that if our speed was slightly higher, poor scaling and slow rendering of the map could interfere with operational orientation.
PalmGIS, like PocketGPS, draws routes through several points and is almost identical. A feature of the program is the separation of the route into night and day. That is, "in the afternoon" takes into account the congestion of tracks and a myriad of parked cars. The “Night” does not take this into account, although for the center it is not too relevant: here life is in full swing around the clock.
The search system at PalmGIS does an excellent job of finding the address of the house we need, but if you want to find, for example, a pharmacy or dry cleaning along the route, you will have to use the help of passers-by. You can find an object only if you know what it is called, and you can choose from hundreds represented.
PocketGPS seemed to us the most convenient and functional. The program takes up only 35 MB on the card, respectively, this is the only program that can be written to the PDA.