Fri, 06 Mar 2009 RouteBuddy 2.3 review
Handy mapping program assists GPSs without Mac travel-planning software
- Manufacturer: RouteBuddy
- Pros: Works with a wide range of GPS devices, slick user interface, great route creation and editing, supports many geographical data formats
- Cons: Doesn’t support finding the street addresses of points of interest or waypoints
- Price: $99.50 (£70), UK and Ireland roadmap $49.50 (£35)
- Star rating:
For most road-navigation situations, an in-car GPS is sufficient, but these devices fall short when it comes to trip planning and post-trip analysis. That’s where RouteBuddy 2.3 comes in, with its colourful, vector-based map display that’s easy to scroll, zoom, notate, and search. RouteBuddy can also import tracks and points of interest that you’ve collected on your handheld or in-car GPS. At present RouteBuddy supports all USB-based Garmin devices, some TomTom devices, and any NMEA device.
RouteBuddy has a built-in store for purchasing map content. These are road maps, not topographical ones, but an update, due this spring, will add topographical maps, among other things, to RouteBuddy’s features.
When adding waypoints to RouteBuddy’s map, you have room for notes about the point of interest, as well as a place to put a URL. RouteBuddy’s built-in search function is fast and flexible. Given a radius and a keyword, the program will locate every matching landmark on the map. Getting the distance between two points of interest, or two waypoints, is easy. If you need terrain or climate information, RouteBuddy can send you to the Google Map or Google Earth view for the current map.
Establishing, comparing, and adjusting routes are RouteBuddy’s biggest strengths. If there are ten places you need to go, RouteBuddy will calculate an effective route to all of them. If you re-order the places or add a new one, the program instantly recalculates the entire route. If you’d like to take a more scenic heading, you can manipulate the route’s line on the map by dragging it with the mouse or by adding a waypoint and inserting it into your route.
When a compatible GPS receiver or navigator is attached to your Mac’s USB port, RouteBuddy can record your route. Then when the trip is complete you can import tracks and waypoints that have been collected on the GPS and show the deviations in your trip plan.
RouteBuddy can import and export routes and points of interest in several popular formats, so you can share recorded tracks, routes, and waypoints with other users on geographical services like Google Earth. It’s also possible to use RouteBuddy’s import/export features to convert tracks, routes, and points from a TomTom so that they can be used on a Garmin, and vice-versa.