How to make GPS S/W bad ( or good )

I have a GPS S/W and H/W. They are manufactured by the DeLorme.
What is good about the GPS is that it is inexpensive solution, compared to other GPS designed for cars. Let’s summarize the pros.

  • inexpensive
  • your notebook computer’s big screen is used for the GPS navigation. For GPSs, screen size matters

However there are also cons.

  • slow startup speed : boot-up time for the Windows and the S/W itself
  • Unstable S/W : the Windows crahses. The GPS S/W ( StreetAtlas ) also crashes
  • Unstable H/W : Sometimes it behaves abnormally with the GPS H/W hooked through the USB
  • awkward mounting in your car
    • My notebook is hold by rubber bands on a seat next to driver’s seat. It is sometimes dangerous to look at. So, use the voice feature extensively!!

Those problems are really serious problem. Probably due to those, it may be better to buy real GPS solution designed for cars.

Besides of the cons, there are more invisible but critical design flaw with most of the GPS S/W designed for computers. Let’s summarize them.

  1. Important information is very hard to find on the screen ( please cf. the screen capture below )
    • A thick colored line for represneting a route hinders the names of streets.
    • The most important name of street may not be displayed somewhere else which is not near where your focus is, or where you look at.
    • The name of a street which crosses ( or is perpendicular ) your driving direction is not emphasized. So, while driving, it is hard to figure out where you are.

  1. Important setting should be changed without going deep down of the GUI
    • turning on/off voice navigation, etc.
  2. It should keep saying even though you don’t need to make turns. If not, you may not know if the S/W is crashed or not. ( It really happens!!! )
  3. It should inform the driver in advance, especially if you drive on a highway.
  4. Address search feature should gives you more unique location. With the Street Atlas, although you type exact address, it gives you bunch of locations.
  5. When there are multiple routes on one instance of a map, creating new route, modifying existing route should not be in conflict.
    • With the StreetAtlas, sometimes you edit a route which is not intended. You did uncheck routes you are not interested in, and on the screen you only see the route you are interested in. However if you don’t click on the name part of the route first, although it has check mark on its left side, and it is the only route, other route can be modified with the current version of the StreetAtlas.

There are more to say, but I would like to stop for now.


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