Pros Easy to use GPS interface
Cons Useless for canoes and kayakers. Many rivers have totally disappeared from the 2004 version
Summary If you plan on using this product to create maps or in your vehicle with a GPS, it works quite well. Be aware though that many rivers just don't appear at all and many that do are just a thin line, including major rivers. If you happen to be driving in an area that is flooded, it would be nice to know where a river is.
I used the 2004 version to navigate the Tom Bigbee in conjunction with paper charts. It showed many small forks and the width of the river to scale. Now there is just a line. Also the Homossasa River in Florida is gone as well as the state park. My recommendation is buy the 2004 product unless you need the latest new streets and the fancier GPS interface
Pros Voiced directions, easy main interface
Cons Spotty GPS tracking activation, direction input
Summary I bought this before '07 came out thinking what a great deal it was for the price compared to the stand-alone GPS units. I have used it to great efficiency since on my laptop.
Although the voice in the program is very soft and hard to hear even at high volumes, it provides a decent notice about upcoming events on the road. The tracker is very accurate and rarely if ever fails to grab a signal.
I have found two things that have irked me to no end.
First, when inputting directions, you have to explicitly state a start point in order to get the program to start routing either from that point or from your current position. Once it gets going, a simple re-map will quickyl redraw the best route for you.
Second, the USB GPS unit (PHAROS I believe) is easily detected by the system and takes minimal fiddling to get the program to recognize. But to my great annoyance, after you have everything set to go, the darn program refuses to start tracking your position... I've driven miles while trying to get the GPS to pick up the signal. The indicator stays grayed out for minutes at a time until some magic fairy decides it time to start tracking... Not really nice when you're trying to get a trip started and the blasted thing never gets going... I've had mixed experiences where it sometimes starts immediately and other times, long waits until it kicks in.
I don't know if I'm initializing the device and program incorrectly but the manually doesn't provide any clues as to what I (if I am) doing wrong.
All in all, once you have the thing set up and tracking, the software and device works beautifully. I'd say that the savings by choosing this as an alternative to a dedicated device is worth the hassles. And of course, this is assuming you have a laptop.
Pros I can pre-route my route on my desktop than transfer the file (on mmemory stick) to my Laptop that is mounted in the car.
Cons No Automatic re-route, Not able to restict it from routing certain streets.
Summary First this is the only GPS mapping program I've used so I can't compare it with others.
But I am a on the road salesman covering 4 states. I've had this program about 8 months now and I use it all the time.
So far I've only had one ocassion where I got no satellite signal - for about 5 mins, And once it tried to route me over a bridge that was closed down.
As mentioned I normally map out my route on my desktop the night before and just use a memory stick run it from there on my Laptop (I leave the file on the stick and just run it right off that - works great) However I do have a Laptop mount in my car (see setup here http://i14.tinypic.com/4hiq1hs.jpg ) and don't think it would work anywhere near as well without that. (Unless you had a passenger)
I also have external speakers hooked a up and use the voice feature. It gives me plenty of warning when I will have to make a turn or whatever. I did end up upgrading to Windows XP for the voice to work for me. (Guess there are downloads you could get to avoid the upgrade)
Also I have looked at a few other programs (tomtom types) and hate the idea of such a small screen.
The only things I would like to really see changed. First allow me to restrict it from routing certain streets. There are some roads that I just don't want to go on (potholes - lights) even tho it may be shorter/quicker. Wish I could block those out from be routed. And also if you go off course for whatever reason it's does not have the ability to auto-reroute. Sure all you have to do is push f3, but that's not always all that easy if in traffic.
In conclusion - best money I've spent in a long time.
Pros ease of use, cost
Cons if using on the road, need another person - requires pc
Summary I purchased this software with the sole purpose of getting to know Los Angeles a little better, since I am unfamiliar with american cities anyways. Points of interest and so on are not really ... of interest to me - I get the address of where I need to go, and using the GPS pane, I click the button to calculate route based on my current position - and it works remarkably well.
Because this system requires a pc to work best, you will need someone else to handle the system while you drive, or you will need to make stops while you tweak the application.
Otherwise, this software app is very easy to use, the GPS is fairly accurate (although it sometimes may tell you to turn after you have passed the exit) but I believe this to be a factor of the pc's processing speed and capabilities.
Just make sure that your laptop's battery is fully charged or have a car adapter handy - because the last thing you want is to have a dead GPS when you are totally lost - TRUST ME.
Pros price, software
Cons lack of POI's
Summary I just got MS Streets and Trips 2006. It installed flawlessly on my laptop. It works great. Make sure the passenger runs it though, otherwise you'll be sure to get into accident. Detailed pictures. A lot of nice pics at http://www.navigadget.com/index.php/2006/06/26/review-of-microsoft-streets-and-trips-on-fujitsu-p7010/ if you are considering buying this.