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Software Review of:
Streets and Trips 2002
A Travel Product from Microsoft


Vade Forrester

From the June, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

This program is a great trip planning tool. It shows you maps of almost every conceivable address in the US and Canada. Additionally, it works with Global Positioning System terminals to pinpoint exactly where you are on a map. Let’s see what Streets and Trips 2002 offers.

These are the basis for Streets and Trips 2002, and it does them very well for over 6.4 million miles roads in the US and Canada. A good map program must have a very legible on-screen display, and to my eye, Streets and Trips 2002 displays are great. I can zoom in or out for more or less detail, and can move toward an adjacent part of the map by moving my cursor near an edge of the map until it turns into an arrow, and then clicking to start scrolling in that direction. When you have found the address you seek, you can mark it with a “pushpin” symbol that indicates a specific location, no matter what the zoom setting is.

Besides looking good onscreen, maps must look good in print. After all, most of us print out appropriate maps when we go in search of a place we’ve never been. Streets and Trips 2002 does this very well, also. You can print out maps in five different formats: 

  • Turn-by-Turn Maps and Directions 
  • Directions Only 
  • Map Only 
  • Strip Map and Directions 
  • Highlighted Places Map 

I recently used Streets and Trips 2002 maps to help me find a store in San Diego, California, while on vacation. It also planned and drew maps for the rest of the vacation trip, also, which took us from San Diego to Joshua Tree National Monument, then to the Anza-Borrego State Park, then returning to San Diego. Although I wished I had carried the program with me on a notebook computer (so I could use its turn by turn driving directions), I now carry only the absolute essentials on airline flights. Those maps I did use were great, making it unnecessary to consult the standard folding map. 

Route Planner
This feature lets you set up a trip from Point A to Point B, with intermediate points and stops in between. You can specify what kind of route you prefer, i.e., fastest, shortest, etc. You can even specify your driving style: preferred driving speed, fuel mileage wanted, etc. The Route Planner even generates turn by turn driving directions, to help you as you navigate your planned route. It doesn’t drive your car for you, however; that’s in a later edition (really!). 

Route planner knows about enroute attractions, like museums, tourist sites, and golf courses. It also know where to find gas stations, ATMs, and restaurants. Additionally, it knows where road construction is taking place, so you won’t get hung up in slow traffic. The latter feature is supposed to be updateable on the web site, but darned if I can find out how. I consulted the Help files, which look rather crude compared to Windows XP’s spectacular Help files, but had no luck.

Global Positioning System (GPS) Support
I don’t have a GPS terminal to evaluate this feature, but if you have a GPS device running NMEA 2.0, you location will appear on the map shown on the screen. No excuse for getting lost if you have Streets and Trips 2002 installed on your notebook computer!

Export to Pocket Streets
If you have a PocketPC device (not a PalmPilot), you can export a street map generated in Streets & Trips, save it and download it to your PDA. Using Pocket Streets, which comes on the Streets & Trips CD, users can interact with the map - look up addresses, pan, zoom and reference any pushpins. So you don’t really need your notebook computer—your PDA will do it all for you.

Streets and Trips 2002 lists for $44.95 direct from Microsoft, but can be found much cheaper at local stores. I got mine for $5.94, after a rebate offer. Microsoft can be reached at http://www.microsoft.com/streets/.

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