The map-reader with a head for figures
Software review: Electronic routeplanners can now map out your route and tot up your expenses.
Monday 15 July 1996
Microsoft's latest version of Autoroute and Route 66's new Routeplanner include Europe-wide maps and are distributed on CD-Rom. The AA has also recently entered the fray with A to B. It has no map, covers just Britain and is distributed on a single floppy disc, but it is the cheapest of the bunch by far.
All three planners work in the same way. You indicate where you want to start and end your journey, and the software works out a route and delivers it as a set of instructions. Autoroute and Route 66 Routeplanner will highlight your route on a map. Instructions and maps can be printed in A4-sized chunks.
Expenses are easily calculated: Autoroute works on a simple price per litre or gallon basis, while Route 66 Routeplanner and A to B take account of other variables such as fixed-base costs, extra expenses allowances and costs per distance unit. All three calculate how long the journey is likely to take, and Route 66 Routeplanner and Autoroute take account of driving speeds on a range of roads.
The AA is convinced that A to B will do well despite its lack of bells and whistles. It is part of a suite produced from a constantly updated database used as the backbone of a range of software for different markets including an in-car system called Routefinder. A to B should be as up- to-date as your road atlas, and quite possibly more so.
Autoroute can customise the maps, adding mountains and national parks. It even includes a small gazetteer of places of interest which it will search for you as part of the planning service. Route 66 Routefinder sits somewhere between the two, looking more like Autoroute but lacking its range of features and costing significantly more.
The drawback of PC-based route-planning is its inability to handle unforeseen circumstances. Traffic jams can only be dealt with by constantly updated in-car systems. The AA is planning such a system, but it will be some time before anything comes on the market. Meanwhile, while your PC may help plan a journey and calculate expenses, it might be as well to have a printed map with you.
Autoroute Express Europe, pounds 59.99. Contact Microsoft on 0345 002000.
Route 66 Routeplanner, pounds 99 (excluding VAT).
A to B pounds 16.49 (inc P&P and VAT) contact the AA on 01634 297123.
Routefinder, pounds 199, dial 100 and ask for freefone routefinder.
Life & Style blogs
Watching TV after work makes you feel 'guilty and like a failure'
Alien: Isolation preview - If you scream in space, it makes a sound
Mac OS X Yosemite download: How to get the open beta of Apple's latest operating system
Xiaomi Mi4: 'Chinese Apple' launches flagship mobile to challenge iPhone
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...