Euro Route 2.0

Personal review by Alain Hoffmann

Frankly, I havent's seen a similar piece of enerving crap since I tested the Michelin guide Europe (also in this section). But how does it come it gets a score of -1 out of 5? Let's see what it has to offer:

Coverage according to the box cover: 14 european countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Sweden and Danemark. Useable coverage: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg. The rest is unusable.

Version tested: 2.00, date tested August 2002. Pack contains 2 CDs. Language: German

Size copied onto harddisk: 910 MB! (All countries) Runs stable. Able to run without CD inserted: Yes. A smaller installation can be chosen but that one requires the CDs. Single countries can be selected/ deselected when installing.

Mapset used: Tele Atlas.

Additional features: Direct connection to server via Internet. Mainly for trafic jams. Tries to connect all the time until you switch that off in the settings.

Able to work with OziExplorer: No
Moving map display: Yes, NMEA-interface
Manufacturer: Topos Verlag & Marketing, www.topos-verlag.de
Price: Official retail price: 19,95 €

This is yet another product based on the TeleAtlas data set. The details are wildly varying. Some regions are extensively covered, showing many details. Other parts do not even show major roads (see example further down). The product is mainly aimed at users in Germany and Austria and here it does shine. It has several different picture layers. Overall it's quite nice maybe except the thick styles of the roads. The full view of Europe is really pretty.

Detail level in Germany is quite acceptable, in the other countries covered it could be much better. Height over sea level is shown in colors.

One of the most frustrating features I didn't managed to turn off only shows if using a laptop: The map sticks to the pointer after just a short move. The result is a wildly moving map. This "feature" makes it almost impossible to do any serious work. This not only happens when the pointer is over the map screen but everywhere on the display. Strangely it doesn't do it every time, just occasionally. And you can't use the arrow keys as they shift only a full page - way too coarse for serious work.

Left: This is the second highest resolution on the same map I use for every mapping program. It's a small village in Germany. If you compare the graphics to those of the Falk guide it first looks quite similar. But if you have a closer look you notice at least one mistake in naming of the roads. The Falk guide is correct.

 

Another problem reappearing at every startup is the map screen not fully fitting the frame. So you must first extend the image by clicking on "Full View" (below) on the window tap. Not difficult but annoying. And necessary at every start.

Even more annoying is the fact it does not support the laptop keyboard correctly. I don't know how they managed to do that but you can't use some keyboard shortcuts on the smaller laptop keyboard. Hit the + or - sign as often as you like, nothing happens. This shows it was not tested on a laptop. But why do you advertise a program as GPS-ready when it doesn't work on a portable computer?

Left: The search screen. Looks good as long as you don't need it. It's clumpsy and for most towns it does only show the city center. Even on the more detailed countries it contains countless bugs, typos and an erratic search function. Pretty useless.
Above: This is what makes me angry. This is the most details you get for France and for instance for many other countries too. And this is not a desert, no, it's a densely populated area. At Cattenom there is one of the biggest nuclear power planst in the world (4 reactors of 1.2 Gigawatt each). Important roads are completely missing. Look at the left where the road stops at the village of Garche! This is a major road between France and Luxembourg carrying a trafic of several 1000s of cars every day.
Oops, scrolling down a step made the villages near the river drown. Must be the rain season I think.
Near major towns you clearly see where the data set stops and the desert begins. As I said before: absolutely useless.

Another feature is the 3-dimensional flight over a track. I tried various settings but I always got only a view similar to the picture below.

OK, it's a route to a holiday destination but I'm not staring at the sky when driving. What's this good for? Oh, you can change between day/night and add fog to make it more realistic. But why should I stare at a night sky with fog?

Conclusion: Take the 20 Euros and buy a bottle of good booze. Sit in the garden and sipp it down. You will get a headache but at least you won't be sorry about spending good money for absolute crap.

Overall rating: -1 ot of 5 (sorry but my scales weren't designed for such products)

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