Feedback: 'Autoroute' heads in right direction

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The latest version of Autoroute Plus, the mapping program, has just appeared on CD-rom. It now has maps that look like maps. The use of the program is unchanged: it calculates routes and distances between any points in the British Isles. But these can now be seen overlaid across a proper-looking map, rather than a rat's nest of jaggy lines.

This is because it is a bitmapped picture of a paper map; and paper maps have behind them centuries of research into what on a computer would be known as the user interface: they present all their information in a remarkably simple and uncluttered way. Autoroute maps always look either too sparse or too cluttered to me. I use the program a lot, but print out itineraries from it rather than maps.

The CD-Rom comes protected by a password. It costs pounds 699 including VAT. Autoroute Plus on floppy disks, without the picture maps, is pounds 581 including VAT. Autoroute Express, for private buyers, is pounds 175

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