Alamo PC Organization: HOME > PC Alamode Magazine > Product Reviews

cat

PC RoadMap CD-ROM 
Software Review by Greg Lundblade

Can you remember being a kid packed in the family station wagon with your family on vacation? I sure can. One of my "jobs" on such trips was the unfolding and folding up of the many maps we received from the American Automobile Association. 

I remember once digging through a bag full of maps in order to find a map of Long Island that would help us find the way to the house of a family friend. The layout of highways and major streets in the New York City area resembled a bowl of multi-colored Fettuccine Alfredo. We eventually found our destination. The PC and its software has progressed to the point that maps and databases on CD-ROM can be used to help us find our way to our destination. This is the idea behind PC Roadmap CD-ROM by Parsons Technology. 

INSTALLATION:

The installation was typical of all Parsons Technology products. It was easy and relatively fast. All software should load that easily! 
 
 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS/EASE OF USE: 

Perhaps I should begin with my only complaint. The program comes without a manual that you can hold in your hands. The help feature was not complete, in my opinion. I ran into questions that the on disk help does not cover. The program is easy for anyone with a knowledge of various windows based programs to use. It takes some practice to learn the finer features. 

FEATURES: 

  • 274 detailed metropolitan area maps of the continental United States and Hawaii

  •  

     

  • US national highway database

  •  

     

  • The Map Locator feature can be used to find any community 
  • The Find feature can pinpoint the exact location using house numbers, street, and city info.

  •  

     

  • Open the Information feature, point and click on a street, and the program will display the address of the area specified, including zip code.

  •  

     

  • You can trace a route on the map and the distance calculator will tell how far it is you have to go, and will even print you directions.

  •  

     

  • Use the Draw tool to customize maps. Draw lines, circles, boxes, set markers, add text.

  •  

     

  • Over 100 icons are included with the program and can be used to designate hospitals, hotels, stadiums, ATM machines, etc.
  • You can take maps that this program provides and then customize them using programs such as Microsoft Paintbrush, Visio graphics, bitmap images, and then export them to Wordperfect v.7. I experimented with this by tracing a route on a map, adding icons such as schools and churches, and then exported my map to Visio. 

    After adding some more graphics I exported it to a Wordperfect v.7 document, and then back to PC Roadmaps where I could play some more with it. The idea was to create a map that was to be printed in a newsletter. This is where you need, in my opinion, 16MB of RAM or better. If you plan to customize maps, you will need the memory. The program occasionally slowed down to a crawl when I was customizing. I'm not so sure that you would be happy with this program on an older 386 with 8MB RAM, unless you like to take coffee breaks while maps load. 

    The programs power lies in the fact that it could be useful to many different kinds of people. You could use it to print out maps for a business trip. It would not replace a program like Tripmaker, unless you had no need to locate smaller highways in rural areas. It can show you where on a street a location is, as long as you have a street address and number. 

    I dug up some flyers that I still have from visits to New York City and Houston. I then used PC Maps to locate certain museums, restaurants, etc. This program is not a database that indicates where people or businesses are. If you were traveling cross country with your notebook computer, you could use it along with these software CDs to lookup local maps as you go. 

    This program is not difficult to load or use. It could run (walk) on a 486 PC. For this reason it is does not demand top of the line hardware. Best of all it is available from Parsons Technology for $19.95 plus shipping. On the old jalapeno scale of one to four, I give PC Roadmap three jalapenos. Enjoy! 

     MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: 
    486, CD-ROM drive compatible with multimedia specifications, VGA 256 color display, Win 3.1, 8MB RAM, 9 MB drive space, mouse. TESTED ON: 
    486DX4-100, 2x CD-ROM, SVGA, VLB 1MB VRAM, WIN 95, 16MB RAM.