Street Atlas USA« 6.0
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the DeLORME« atlases. Well, I'm now a fan of their software. I had purchased their Street Atlas USA« 5.0 software sometime ago. However, I was disappointed and had nothing but trouble with it. I won't go into details, but I did think it had potential. Because of this, I upgraded to Street Atlas USA« 6.0 as soon as it was available. This is a huge improvement over version 5. In fact I have had zero problems with it.
If you have a supported GPS unit, this is must-have software. You can plan trips then upload routes and waypoints to your GPS. After going on a ride, you can download your "track" information and print a map of where you went. It's fun to plan a dual-sport ride and then compare where you had planned to go with where you really went. The software has a reasonably easy to use interface.
I have to admit I don't use the software for what it's really intended to do. It's really designed for things such as address-to-address routing, locating addresses, intersections, etc. It is also good for planning business and pleasure trips (using pavement not dirt). It has some cool bells and whistles such voice-assisted navigation (using a GPS and a laptop while your driving around in your car). It includes Solusń Basic, which allows you to download a map and routing directions to your 3COMÔ Palm ComputingÔ or WindowsÔ CE handheld computer. It also includes "Exit Service" information. While these are all really cool features, I really use it for mapping where I've been while off-roading. I also use it to plan dual-sport excursions (it does contain some dirt road information).
One really nice feature is that when you download a "track" from a GPS unit, it displays the track as a semi-transparent line that you can see the underlying roads through. These "tracks" can be printed or saved for future use. It would be nice if it included more dirt roads, trails, and even topographic information. Well guess what? DeLorme just recently released DeLorme Topo USA and I just got my copy. I'll let you know how it pans out and how it compares to Street Atlas USA« 6.0.
Also, for more information, stay tuned. I plan on doing a series of articles on trip planning using a GPS unit and some available software.
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