Michelin Atlas Routier Europe

Covers: All of Europe except Scandinavia and South East Europe, French language version only (see picture on right)
Version tested: no indication, labeled 2000. Pack contains 1 CD, LaserLock protected. Language: French
Size copied onto your Harddisk: 75 MB, Runs stable.
Able to run without CD inserted: NO
Mapset used: No indication
Additional features: Contains the Red Midhelin Guide Europe
Able to work with OziExplorer: No
Moving map display: No, seems they never heard of that
Manufacturer: www.Loxane.com
Price: Official retail price: no indication

Michelin is one of the world's largest manufacturer of maps and their paper products are of famous reknown. They are my favourites for many years. Hard to beat in precision, coverage and price. So I was eager to test their digital product.

But it was a big disappointment. The bitmap maps are of very bad quality, the vector based maps are not detailed at all. No external programs may run with this program but they implemented the LaserLock copy protection which is not compatible with a lot of CD players.

But let's get into more details to explain my raves. First all of Europe was scanned from a paper mapset at a terrible low resolution. This implies absolutely no details on the smallest scale so you don't even see the country boundaries. Zooming in shows just maginifies the map, it does not change between higher and lower resolution maps like in other products. So the map is only useful in one or 2 scales, all the rest is junk. The picture on the right shows a bit what I mean. And, NO, it wasn't altered when I fitted it for the Web. It's the same ugly thing you stare at when you use the product.

If you zoom in further it switches automatically to the vector based mapset. I don't know where they got that set from but I strongly suspect they made it themselves instead of buying one of the big manufacterers' set.

It's not much to say about this except that I don't see who wants to use it? There are several zoom steps available but it hardly shows any more details. So why did they implement the zoom at all? Also it's missing important roads, others are completely wrong. Suburbs are marked as towns of their own while other important villages are completely missing.



I was very intersted to see the additional info so proudly presented on the box: Contains the Red Guide of Europe. Well, I don't have the paper edition of that particular guide but I have many single country editions. So, as far as I can tell, it's a shame. Only a very limited number of hotels and restaurants are presented and I have no clue how they were chosen. There is no search function worth to talk about. Info is , well let's be kind and say "basic" and contains just the info you must have. No additional search functions worth talking about are available. Also it's not easy to find the switch for displaying the info. It's shamefully hidden behind 2 submenues. And once found you have to resize it manually so you can read the text. Not even a shortcut has been included. I call this at least careless.

Conclusion: Another product that would have better not been published. I suppose someone mentioned "Everybody makes a digital map maybe we should too. But nothing too expensive, people should buy our papers maps instead". So the best I can advise is just doing that - buy the paper maps and let this one rot in the shelves.

Or go to the website of Michelin at www.michelin.fr and download your itinary. There's a quite good wayfinding program on their site and it's free.

Overall rating: 1 out of 5

This page last updated 02-Mar-2003 19:26

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