GPS/Navigation apps on Windows 8.1 (and Windows 10)

Discussion in 'Software' started by HJK, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. HJK

    HJK Scribbler - Standard Member

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    On several threads here there are a handful of us who seem to be on a quest for the best way to use our Windows tablets (usually with some sort of GNSS chip) for offline navigation. I think it is about time that we start a thread to informally begin to collate and compare our experiences with what is available.

    While the elements that are essential and the elements that are negotiable will vary by use case, here are some of the things I think one would want in a single app in a perfect world:
    1) Ability to communicate quickly and efficiently with GNSS chip (or related sensor) to find the user's position.
    2) Ability to communicate quickly and efficiently with a USB GPS receiver (my Asus T100 does not have a GNSS chip).
    3) Ability to download maps for offline use (Google Maps cache capabilities are nice on an Android; but I think the ideal app should have full blown offline maps available, as is the case with Nokia's Here Maps).
    4) Ability to adjust the route "on-the-fly" (if one misses a turn while driving, the app should be able to reconfigure a new route to get the driver back on track).
    5) Ability to provide turn-by-turn directions audibly (voice navigation).
    6) Ability to adjust the route manually (just this morning my wife was planning our trip out of town and Here Maps wanted to take us through the heart of a busy city; there is no straight-forward way to adjust the route with Here Maps in the way that one can simply click and move the route on, say, Yahoo! Maps--unless Yahoo! Maps has changed).
    7) Ability to search maps through voice commands (OK; here I admit I'm getting into dream-land territory, but it may be possible with Win 10 and Cortana). I want to be able to sit in my car and say "Computer! Plot a course for Rigel VII!" :)
    8) Clear and accurate visuals (preferably satellite images). Even if my GNSS chip can't always reliably locate exactly where I am in the parking lot, a good map can show me what the parking lot looks like.
    9) Detailed and helpful information about the route, with ability to customize which info. one gets. For example, I want to know exit numbers and I want to know what side of the street something is on.
    10) Ability to set the app as the default program that will open up and find an address when one clicks on/touches an address on a web-site (I suspect that there is a way to do this with Here Maps, but I've not found it yet).
    11) Ability to respond to voice commands (my limited experience with speech recognition in Win 8.1 leads me to believe that this won't happen in Windows 8.1; but one can dream and perhaps Windows 10 will deliver in this area).
    So, what apps have you all found and used? Please share any info/tips/gripes on this thread!
    *edit--# 11 added to the wish list*
    _________
    Asus Transformer Book T100TA (mine)
    Asus Vivotab Note 8 M80TA (my wife's)
    Nook HD+ (now used mostly by my kids)
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  2. thierryb

    thierryb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    You can have a look to Mapspro. It can use internal or external gps, download maps for using them offline, it can route you.
     
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  3. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...there are a handful of us who seem to be on a quest for the best way to use our Windows tablets...for offline navigation...it is about time that we start a thread to informally begin to collate and compare our experiences with what is available...>>

    There is an entire website devoted to this topic:

    www.laptopgpsworld.com

    I've been a member there for years. Unfortunately, with the rise of smartphones with navigation apps, the market for personal GPS navigators (Garmin, Tom-Tom, Magellan...) and for laptop and tablet route planning apps has apparently contracted dramatically. A few months ago, Microsoft announced that they were discontinuing Streets & Trips, presumably because of poor sales. DeLorme, another popular developer, hasn't updated their application in a couple of years. Similarly, Garmin has cut back on their laptop (and apparently also on their personal navigator) product lines.

    So the outlook at this moment, doesn't look too good. I continue to use Streets & Trips 2013, and it should continue to be good for another couple of years, but I've been searching for a suitable substitute and I haven't found anything comparable, yet. One possibility is Bing Maps (that is, the "Metro" Maps applet) which is supposedly going to be expanded into something like S&T "lite," if I understand recent reporting correctly. The plan is that you will be able to download "local" map segments and use them offline, but I haven't seen any plans for the ability to download a state- or national-sized map segment like S&T provides.

    So, I think you've made a good suggestion. I'm just not sure what's out there at the moment...
     
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  4. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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  5. HJK

    HJK Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Yes, indeed. Most people I know use their smart phones for GPS. Once in a while I'll point out to someone that they have a device (say a Samsung Galaxy) that can do offline navigation, and they are uninterested altogether.
    Personally, though, if there is an option to make it work without having to pay AT&T or Verizon or whoever, I am all for it.
     
  6. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...if there is an option to make it work without having to pay...I am all for it...>>

    I'm waiting to see what Bing Maps does. I took a look at Maps Pro, but was surprised at the number of negative reviews. Apparently, offline operation is a problem?

    In the meantime, S&T still works...
     
  7. bizlazybug

    bizlazybug Pen Pal - Newbie

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    From what I read on the Maps pro website, the app is $5 and you need to purchase offline maps by country (another $10ish?). I currently use Navmii app from the store and it works ok, just some bugs with the UI, but its free (but no inputting directions through voice or external GPS support). There are software that can convert GPS data from an external GPS so that store apps can use the coordinates (I think its called GPSDirect).

    I think Bing Maps in Windows 10 with Cortana support would probably be your best bet (with the exception of the USB GPS receiver thing).
     
  8. ships10

    ships10 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I continue to use Streets & Trips 2013, and it should continue to be good for another couple of years"

    Do you still need the USB dongle to use S&T or can it use the built in GNSS inthe TPT 10?
     
  9. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...Do you still need the USB dongle to use S&T or can it use the built in GNSS inthe TPT 10?..>>

    I assume you mean the GPS dongle? S&T can be used without GPS for route planning. Of course, you need a GPS feed for realtime navigation.

    I'm not sure if S&T 2013 can use the API as implemented in current hardware; I use a Bluetooth GPS unit. Perhaps another member can comment?
     
  10. HJK

    HJK Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Of the wish list above, which of these can S&T do? If it's not any better than any of the free and cheap software available on the Windows Store (Nokia Here Maps, NavMii, MapsPro), I can't see forking over $40 for it (or whatever the going price is).
     
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