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Old 08-01-2002, 10:40 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Trailer Life RV Campground Finder

I thought I was getting the CD equivalent of the paper directory, but what it is is a P-poor map program by Rand-McNally that I foolishly bought and then threw away a long time ago in favor of DeLorme Road Atlas. Road Atlas isn't perfect, but it has all the roads and I can deal with its weaknesses. This program is simply frustrating (and I am a professional programmer).

This Rand-McNally program is a joke that can't even get me out of town in a reasonable manner. Important roads are missing, so it routes me through downtown Austin with about 40 traffic lights rather than a parallel expressway. The program has some good ideas, but is so poorly coded that it is nearly useless.

I wish Trailer Life would simply give us what I asked for ... a CD version of the paper directory. That would be worth the cost.
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Old 08-02-2002, 08:22 AM   #2
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John,
I couldn't agree more. Ideally, I would like to be able to combine the TL campground and location information with my Delorme Street Atlas deluxe, or my Delorme Topo maps in one seamless application.

There are a couple features that I like on the TL CD like the end of day planning feature and the ability to alter start, finish and stopover times, but the mapping is poor at best.
Jace
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Old 08-02-2002, 09:32 AM   #3
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Delorme I really enjoy - I do several trips from the East to West coast a year - have never used it for finding an RV spot; however, it has been invaluable in finding places to eat and where the next gas station is etc... I use the Delorme Mapping software in conjunction with the Delorme GPS system. The only issue I ever had with the Delorme GPS was the batteries - having to change them out every couple of hours was a just a minor aggravation - but I decided to splurge and get the USB power adapter for it so hopefully this trip coming up - no more battery changes.
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Old 08-02-2002, 02:23 PM   #4
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Rand-McNally software

I do like the R/M end of day planning. I have been trying to get DeLorme to include it in their code. DeLorme finally put in gasoline planning, but it is totally useless because you can't tell it where you will fill up. If they fixed that and added end-of-day planning, it would be close to perfect for my use.

One thing I like with DeLorme is that if I add a via to make a preferred route, the via is sorted nicely in sequence. With R/M, I have to move it to make the sequence correct. What is nasty is the the proigram recalculates the route before I am given a chance to move the via.

I have found a flock of small bugs in the R/M application. I am a retired software programmer and I spent the last year and a half before I retired testing a very large and complex application. That made me very sensitive to software that doesn't work well, especially when I understand what, generally simple, steps could be taken to fix the problems.
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Old 08-02-2002, 02:44 PM   #5
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Since I'm 51 years young, it's interesting to listen to my 21 yr. old, who is an Internet Systems Admininistrator at a local internet company, talk about how problems should and could be taken care of in software programs. Several times he has played around with a new program then sent improvements on to the company, sometimes with no response. I guess that is like many things in life, always trying to come out with an improved version of something when enough people complain.

I remember typing cards in '69 or '70 in college then running them through a computer the size of my kids rooms. I was lucky I made it out of that computer class with a grade of C. If a couple of guys hadn't helped me figure out what I was doing each time, it would have probably been an F.

Thanks for putting out the advice on the Trailer Life CD. I was contemplating CD vs. Book but you have made up my mind.
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Old 08-02-2002, 10:40 PM   #6
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Trip planning

When trip planning, checking distances, how many miles, or related I use Mapquest and/or FreeTrip, both online at www.mapquest.com and www.freetrip.com

John
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Old 08-02-2002, 10:55 PM   #7
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Talking Trip Planning

I have been using www.mapblast.com for the past couple of years.

Had a number of misdirections from mapquest. I also prefer the line drawings and milage count down that mapblast provides.
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Old 08-02-2002, 11:02 PM   #8
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I've used mapquest numerous times over the last year or so and I too have had a few misdirections. I used mapblast one time and it seemed fine but couldn't remember the site when I needed it again. Thanks for bringing it back up.
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Old 08-03-2002, 08:39 AM   #9
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Misdirections

Always a pleasure to help my brothers and sisters when I can.

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Old 08-03-2002, 09:11 AM   #10
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Here's what I've been searching for and can't seem to find. I would like a good detailed map of the area I'm gong to travel. I plan on leaving Portland traveling up through Washington, through the corner of Idah into Montana. Stay in Glacier Park, travel North to Banff and come back through Vancouver BC, down through Seattle and back to Portland. I can't seem to find a site that easliy lets me mark points and print a custom map, with roads, Hwy's etc. Do I need to go out and buy a software program? should I head down the path of a GPS system? What interests me in the GPS system if getting accurate data on where I'm at and how far to the next city....or point of interest. But I'm concerned it may be alot of fluff for the dollars. Anyone have the GPS in their MH and love it or find they don't really use it? If you love it what's the best one out there? And where did you install the screen?

Thanks
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Old 08-03-2002, 09:16 AM   #11
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Thumbs down MapBlast

I just tried MapBlast for the first time from home to Eureka Springs, AR.; an upcoming trip that I had already laid out with Street Atlas. This allowed for a quick comparison.

Fastest way by MapBlast was 660 miles in 10:32 with 28 instructions.
Shortest way by MapBlast was 575 miles in 10:52 with 88 instructions.

What is totally silly is that the MapBlast shortest way exits at about every 2nd freeway exit and then gets right back on the freeway. That is why there were so many instructions. I would say that this program needs a strong infusion of common sense.

Street Atlas gives me 590 miles as the fastest route. 70 miles shorter than MapBlast and just about the same driving time. SA gives me 572 as the shortest route and dosn't take every freeway exit in the process.

My take is that MapBlast is OK to get some general routing ideas, but I sure wouldn't like to depend on it to lay out a trip for me. I guess you get what you pay for!
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Old 08-03-2002, 09:34 AM   #12
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Street Atlas

I recommend DeLorme Street Atlas with or without a GPS. Personally, I don't miss a GPS.

I print out the Street Atlas strip maps (omitting the sections near home or that I know very well). I also print out and insert detailed maps of high density areas. I have the program attach markers for places I might want to stop. The strips overlap and I usually figure about 1 1/2 hours for each page. The running mileage is printed on the margin, so it is easy to estimate miles to the next town or crossroads.

For longer trips, I go down to the copy shop and have the whole mess bound with a spiral plastic spine such that the maps will open and lay flat in my lap or sit propped up on the console. A map for a 2000-mile trip is easy to handle when bound in this manner.

I travel alone a lot and I use the maps as a boredom antedote on long trips. I'm always checking the map for off-route towns I see on signs or looking up the exits as I pass. The strip maps are the only maps that my wife can reliably interpret.

I have 4 mapping programs. I would rate them as follows:
1. Delorme Street Atlas (US only, but better otherwise)
2. Delorme Map'nGo (US, Canada, and Mexico)
3. Microsoft Streets and Trips
and definitely last
4. Rand McNally (standalone or as part of Trailer Life CD)
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Old 08-03-2002, 09:45 AM   #13
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Thanks for the info....Delorme Street Atlas it is....

I'll go buy it and play around.

Ken
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