[maemo-users] Poor GPS Navicore software

From: Missouga Dongi ee at la.mine.nu
Date: Tue May 8 14:36:19 EEST 2007
I own a Nokia N800 personal tablet which is a great little Linux based PDA
with a beautiful 800x480 screen and lots of functionality. Recently I've
decided to buy the GPS kit from Navicore and I'm quite disappointed with my
purchase.  I've paid for the GPS kit 154£ (including transport) and from the
hardware point of view I can't complain. It came with a car holder, power
adaptors, SD memory and quite a sensitive GPS/Bluetooth receiver. The software
on the other hand feels more like a beta version.

The one feature that make this device worthless for me (to the point that
I'll return it to the Nokia shop) is that you cannot have your maps pointing
North. You only have a function to temporarily orient the map to North and
then it switches back to its (crazy) rotate map mode so that your car always
heads forward. I don't understand who can use this mode for navigation. Imagine
how it would be like to use a paper map instead and have to rotate it at every
turn you take.

One useless feature is the "Safety Cameras" warning. The software uses a stupid
algorithm which just warns you when a camera is in a certain distance range
even when the camera is not on the same road you are driving on. When you are
on the motorway you get warnings from cameras on the roads parallel with or
intersecting the motorway. The software has also no knowledge of the direction
the camera is pointing to so you get warnings for cameras on the other side of
the road too.

For the traffic information you have to pay extra for the service and have a
GPRS mobile phone connected to the tablet.

Another software design problem is that your navigation screen is fixed, you
cannot alter any fields and the menus and icons are occupying 50% of your
screen area leaving only the other 50% for the map. There is no translucent
mode for the menus and info fields. Because of this poor GUI design it feels
more like looking at your cell phone screen than a high resolution 800x480 one. 

Other annoyances: Most of the Nokia tablet owners use the auto-lock function
of the tablet so when it's not in use for a period longer than a few minutes 
it locks the screen and then you have to use the stylus to enter your unlock 
code to activate it again. This function is not disabled by the Navicore
software and your device locks its screen while you navigate. You can imagine
what is like to enter numbers while driving just to be able to see the map
again. One solution is to disable to auto-lock function before you start using
the tablet as a GPS but this means pressing at least 3 menu items plus your
unlock code every time you want to switch this on and off.

A last problem is the voice guidance although this is not Navicore or Nokia's
fault: you can only barely hear the directions while driving even with the
volume set at max. This is a limitation of the tablet's speakers and the only
solution is to use the 3.5 jack with ear-phones or an amplifier.

For the reasons listed above I'll give a very poor mark to Navicore for their
navigation software usability. Meanwhile I'll just use my reliable Garmin 276C
GPS for every day navigation.

More information about the maemo-users mailing list