The FALK Reiseplaner CITY 2002/2003 (Windows version)
Covers: Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Parts of France (Alsace), northern Italy, German language version only
Version tested: 6.51, date tested May 2002. Pack contains 2 CDs. Language: German
Size copied onto your Harddisk: 1,41 GB! Runs stable.
Able to run without CD inserted: Yes, but no additional infos and pictures. But you can live without them. However I wonder what takes up this space on the disk if the images aren't stored directly?
Mapset used: NavTech
Additional features: Direct connection to many servers via Internet (weather info, railway timetables...)
Able to work with OziExplorer: No

Moving map display: Yes, NMEA-interface
Manufacturer: Falk New Media GmbH, Mairs Geographischer Verlag
Price: Official retail price: 24,95 €, available for 8,95 € from many discounters, bought at Detlev Louis Motorcycle shops at a special reduced price of 4,95 €
This is yet another product based on the well known MapTech data set, licensed by Map&Guide. As the base set is quite accurate you can expect good details - and you get them. The product is mainly aimed at users in Germany and here it does shine. It has several different picture layers. In the smallest size (default at statup) 3 cm represent about 200 km, so all of Germany fits on half a screen. Resolutions are 200km/40km/20km/10km/4km/2km/400m/200m/100m. Bigger and intermediate resolutions are available but they don't show any more details.
Detail level in Germany is quite acceptable, in the other countries covered it could be much better. Visibility is sometimes not very good. Local roads show a white color while open ground outside villages bears a very light shade of brown. I doubt this is visible at all if you use it on a laptop outside your home. Similar for towns and open country: Difference is hard to see. There is no option to set yourself the values for colors.
The main screen is initially split into 2 halves plus icons left and above. The icons on the left show the different features like hotels, hostels, shopping centers etc. and are more or less for decoration only. I mean how often do you search for international airports or casinos? The icons above are for map navigation, details and Internet connections.
The main left half shows the map which can be resized by drawing a rectangle or by using the icons + and - symbols above. Nothing new here.
The right half is optional and can be switched off so the map is almost full screen. It has four tabs for different choices. The default is the road finder. It allows you to enter your own datas as specific fuel consumption and preferences. It also allows to use the railroad but you need to download additional data from their website for this. The second tag permits the search for hotels using your own preferences but allows only restricted sorting. A clear fault is it's use of Euro amd DM mixed and wrong labelling. So it shows two different prices, both labelled in Euro in the info pages while one should be Euro and the other DM. Quite confusing and not a good sign of quality control. In other places prices are labelled as DM but the figures shown are Euros.
Falk map at 1000 metres resolutionLeft: The village of Perl/Germany on the french/luxemburgish/german border. What shows immediately is the difference in detailing. Germany in the upper right is well defined, France in the bottom part is already much less detailed while Luxembourg in the left is completely empty. This is at about 1000 metres resolution
This is at the highest resolution of 200 metres. All streets of Perl are clearly shown.
GPS-Emulation
GPS on-screen is activated through the menu "Datei" - "Allgemeine Einstellungen" - "Position anzeigen (GPS)". Configuration-tab on the same page limites to NMEA communication with it's low (but acceptable) speed.
Search
The "Search"-function is badly implemented. You can only search for towns and cities, not for street names although those are shown on the map and contained in the data set. This is probably related to the cheap price of the software and to separate it from the "professional versions" costing 100 (!) times more.
Conclusion:
For this price you get a very good detailed mapset of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Even at the regular price of 25 € it's stil acceptable although I would then rate it just 3 out of 5. The hotel guide is useable and contains some really helpful info. If you can live with the drawbacks and you are looking for a good set of maps go for this one.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

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