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Street Atlas 
Software Review by J.C. Clay

Street Atlas box photoThis is a great program - now you know the bottom line. Since there is no suspense to the reviewers opinion, let me tell you why I reached that conclusion.

 About one year ago version 3.0 was reviewed for the Organization and it can be found at our web site. It was also a very favorable review. 

 There are some new things this year and I'll cover some of them as we go along, but let me start by telling you that this an easy program to use and it produces exactly what is promised. You can find and print out a map to show you the location of almost any address in the USA. If you live on a cul-de-sac or a hard to find street and people have problems finding you, this program will really help. 

 For example, if you aren't sure how to get to the Alamo Heights High School, 6900 Broadway, 78209, just enter the address and zip in the appropriate search box and - there it is. You can now print it or even fax the map and it comes out crystal clear. As you can see, the location is easily found and you can even zoom in for a closer look if you need to. Cross streets are easy to find to help you locate a strange place even at night. 

 Among the many new features are ways to customize objects such as the marker used for homes, new labels to mark special features that you're interested in, the ability to measure distances, display zip code boundaries and determine the demographic makeup of the zip code area, download maps of specific areas for use in other computers not equipped with CD/ROM, and a way to connect to a G.P.S. (Global Positioning System) to use as you drive around. 

 This issue includes a specific article on the G.P.S. so I'll pass on that - and I don't have one to use anyhow. 

 You can also use a companion program - Phone Search USA - and find the phone number and address of someone and then find the house location associated with the phone number and print out a map to help find it. Sure is a nice way to find old friends that you've lost touch with. One of the very nicest things about the program is the ability to download the maps for a particular city and use them in, for example, a laptop. You identify the city you want and follow the program instructions to download it - install it in the laptop - and you can now use the laptop to find addresses in a strange city. It even helps in the confusion of Washington, DC which is not laid out in a grid but in circles and grids both. 

Let's talk about the use of the program a bit. Once you've selected a map and it is on the screen, you have a bunch of options. You can click on a part of it with the left button and you can zoom in or even switch the location you're looking at. The right mouse button gives you a menu to select various items from. In addition, you can center the pointer on a street and you can read which street it is to help you navigate your way around the area. This really helps if you are on a winding street or one that breaks up every now and then. 

 If you wanted to set up a cross country trip, you can get a great feel for the roads by clicking on the highway you're following and the map will scroll in the direction you selected. You can follow IH 10, for example, out of town toward El Paso and you will see 1604, then the small roads from it to Boerne. You can see the names of the streets in the Dominion, or in any of the many subdivisions that are springing up out that way. If you wanted, you could also select the feature that tells you the distances you're traveling as well. 

 Worried about road construction on your route? What about weather? Simple to check if you have access to the Internet. All you do is select "Options - On Line Information - Update" and the program does the rest. (It even knew about the mess at IH 10 and IH 410). If you need to, you can also download the information from the website at www.streetatlasusa.com and store the information in the Street Atlas directory. Nice touch! 

 The program downloaded a series of files of about 5 MEGs to cover the Washington DC area for use in a laptop. The maps were accurate and the system was great when some of the more obscure streets were needed. This is a really great feature of the program and can justify the cost all by itself. 

 The program installed from the CD/ROM without any problems and required 8 MB of hard drive space. The CD is set for either Windows 3.x or Win95 users. The program is available for about $40 at Ferguson Maps, from DeLorme and at many of the software stores in town. 

Great program for anyone that needs to find an address and for helping others find you! Go for it.