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Thread: Is it me or is Route Buddy awful?

  1. #1
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Is it me or is Route Buddy awful?

    I just downloaded the trial of Routebuddy. It now has turn by turn route navigation with voice and I thought, well, okay...maybe now is the time to buy. I'll try it out to see if it works on my old PPC Mini.

    Maybe it's just me....probably is....but the interface is the most difficult to use that I've ever encountered. Here's the problem - it's based on the fact that you A) know where you are; B) know where you want to go. Here's what I mean:

    Say you just landed at the airport and need to meet a friend at 811 Calle Saragosa Street in Santa Fe, NM. You've never been to the city and you have no idea where the airport is in relation to your destination.

    To get Route Buddy to generate the route, you can't simply type in the starting and ending address. They have this point and click interface where you define where you want to start and where you want end by clicking on the screen with the mouse. Problem is, you don't know either piece of information.

    First, you have to locate the airport using a search (PERHAPS if you have a GPS this shows up automatically, but I haven't tested it outdoors yet). Now, you would think you could right-click and choose "set as start point" somewhere. Nope. You have to either memorize where on the map this is, OR store it as place along the left side. Which, by the way, I dislike but I think that's a personal preference about Leopard in general. It works for iTunes but I don't like the construct for much else.

    Even if you memorize where the airport is, you need to know the destination. Now you use the search tool to find it and again, either memorize it, switch to route mode, select start, select finish and finally route.

    Here's something that would help a lot more:
    1. Click on Search mode
    2. Type in address
    3. When found, drop down appears next to address you typed that says "Make Start, Make Finish, Make Waypoint"
    4. Click on Navigate and go.

    I drew a picture to show what I mean.

    Not to mention that when you click "Route" it ought to give you the same type of interface you get when hit "Search" but with a spot to type both the start and end address with the default start being your GPS location.

    In addition, the Filter window on the upper right has the same icon as the "Search" does on the toolbar. I typed the address I was searching for a couple of times before realizing its some kind of filter thing which ought to have an icon on the toolbar like everything else and work exactly like the Search interface does.

    I'm just sick about it. I know these guys are trying really hard to make a good Mac Nav product but I'm really hating it. Nav software shouldn't require reading the instructions and 15 minutes of dicking around to realize how hard it is to use.

    Considering that Route buddy plus maps costs more than Leopard, this would be one of the most expensive pieces of software I would own. I just can't justify that for something I am repelled by.

    Is it just me?
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  2. #2
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    Yeah, I use Routebuddy to visualize logs from my cars and to prepare materials and print maps for our navigation competitions, but the interface for geocoding and routing is kind of weird.

    (PERHAPS if you have a GPS this shows up automatically, but I haven't tested it outdoors yet).
    Yes, the current position shows automatically and it is quite reliable.

    Another thing is the speed of routing. TomTom Go, which is much less powerful hardware is many times faster when planning a route (same route, same maps installed). I admit we have the same problem with QCar navigation module.

  3. #3
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    One way I noticed that Tom-Tom Go is able to trim down the entry process is by requiring you to enter State, then city, then street and it guesses pretty quickly about both the start and end points. By starting wide and getting narrower and narrower, it can usually pinpoint the street pretty quickly without you having to enter the whole thing.

    As far as the actual speed of generating the routing, if it takes a minute or two, I don't really mind. If it took 5 minutes, well...that would be different. Even if it solved part of the route first, and then the rest took another minute or two, that would be okay.

    I've done some route logic coding in the past, so I understand the possibilities can chew up a lot of processing time.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  4. #4
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    One way I noticed that Tom-Tom Go is able to trim down the entry process is by requiring you to enter State...it can usually pinpoint the street pretty quickly without you having to enter the whole thing.
    Yep, we use the same approach. On the other hand, RB's approach with parsing natural language address makes more sense for a computer with a keyboard. It is faster to type "Philadelphia, PA" than to select "PA" from a combo or even type this into a text field and then to move to next one.

    As far as the actual speed of generating the routing, if it takes a minute or two, I don't really mind.
    I have not tried a long route with Routebuddy, but in QCar, a 300-400km route takes about a minute. TomTom does it in under 20 seconds. That we cannot beat it even on a Core 2 Duo 2GHz computer is simply a disgrace for us ;-)

    I've done some route logic coding in the past, so I understand the possibilities can chew up a lot of processing time.
    In our software, the main bottleneck is the map storage. 80% of time during the route caclulation is taken by retrieving the road network data, only 20% is the path searching calcultion as such (we use A*). We can reduce the time by tweaking the heuristic estimate function, but then we get routes that are far from optimal.

  5. #5
    Newbie RouteBuddy's Avatar
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    RouteBuddy 2.5 Road and Topo

    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    I just downloaded the trial of Routebuddy. It now has turn by turn route navigation with voice and I thought, well, okay...maybe now is the time to buy. I'll try it out to see if it works on my old PPC Mini.

    Is it just me?
    Hmm..

    I think what it comes down to is not getting in touch with Support and/or reading our manual, there's an awful lot we could have done to brief you on getting the best out of RouteBuddy and at the same time understanding that what we do (and have built in a new way) is for a reason, which takes the product into the future.


    Neil
    ------------------
    www.RouteBuddy.com

  6. #6
    Newbie RouteBuddy's Avatar
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    RouteBuddy iTunes interface

    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    Yeah, I use Routebuddy to visualize logs from my cars and to prepare materials and print maps for our navigation competitions, but the interface for geocoding and routing is kind of weird.
    The iTunes style interface is weird for map work?

    Of course we'll always be looking at refining RouteBuddy over time and will make improvements to the interface but we do have a map UI - and the product is on the market.


    Neil
    -----------------
    www.RouteBuddy.com

  7. #7
    Newbie RouteBuddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    Yes, the current position shows automatically and it is quite reliable.
    The position showing on RouteBuddy is down to the signals received from the GPS device; RouteBuddy only shows the information it receives.


    Neil
    -------------------------
    www.RouteBuddy.com

  8. #8
    Newbie RouteBuddy's Avatar
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    RouteBuddy - Quick address search

    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    One way I noticed that Tom-Tom Go is able to trim down the entry process is by requiring you to enter State, then city, then street and it guesses pretty quickly about both the start and end points. By starting wide and getting narrower and narrower, it can usually pinpoint the street pretty quickly without you having to enter the whole thing.
    TomTom
    - Tap, move finger, tap, move finger, tap move finger, tap number?
    RouteBuddy
    - Type part of the address? ...and click once on the desired result.


    I've done some route logic coding in the past, so I understand the possibilities can chew up a lot of processing time.
    ...and some, which is where all the hard code work and skill goes in to deal with this sort of data. (Which is why there are only a handful of companies worldwide in this market.)


    Neil
    ------------------
    www.RouteBuddy.com

  9. #9
    Newbie RouteBuddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    I have not tried a long route with Routebuddy, but in QCar, a 300-400km route takes about a minute. TomTom does it in under 20 seconds. That we cannot beat it even on a Core 2 Duo 2GHz computer is simply a disgrace for us ;-)
    It depends...
    - Look at the whole picture, rather than just the distance and the time taken to calculate, look at the data involved and what is asked of it, viz. you are missing parts of the equation.
    - TomTom use less data for a lower resolution and RouteBuddy use more for a higher resolution.

    In our software, the main bottleneck is the map storage. 80% of time during the route caclulation is taken by retrieving the road network data, only 20% is the path searching calcultion as such (we use A*). We can reduce the time by tweaking the heuristic estimate function, but then we get routes that are far from optimal.
    If you take a look around there's really only a handful of companies offering consumer versions of a mapping product, if it really was that easy then everyone would be doing it. If you take into account the others making map apps for mobile phones then the numbers are still small; as you know the data is very complex and so have to be the applications that use it.
    ----------------------------------------------------


    I saw this post when it was created (a year and a half ago now) and kept an eye on it just to see what any responses would be, and also to see how far QCar would progress in that time or even if QCar would be released.

    In that respect I think Jirka's honesty of the magnitude of work facing his map engineering colleague was enlightening, it's also a reflection of the time consuming, intricate and detailed work that goes into map software engineering.
    ----------------------------------------------------


    Jirka and the RouteBuddy team last met some three years ago, back in 2006. At that time RouteBuddy had been on sale for some months and in R&D for over two years before that. I suspect, like us, QCar have been finding out that working with map data is never as straightforward as one hopes in the beginning, and as soon as one issue is tackled another one can, and often does, present itself. (Or in multiples thereof as we have suffered!)

    As always, we here at RouteBuddy will continue to refine the software and add new maps, for which I'll add a summary in the next post.

    Jirka, you've got my phone number and email address; whenever you'd like to catch up it would be good to talk. :-)


    Neil
    ------------------
    www.RouteBuddy.com

  10. #10
    Newbie RouteBuddy's Avatar
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    RouteBuddy 2.5 Road and Topo

    To summarize, here is where the RouteBuddy product line stands now:

    - RouteBuddy 2.5
    Can use both Road and Topographic Maps

    - RouteBuddy Road Maps (Tele Atlas)
    Complete coverage of all the worldwide countries that Tele Atlas offer for all continents. (Bar Antarctica! ;-)

    - RouteBuddy USGS Topographic Maps
    The first seven states derived from 1:24,000 scale USGS maps are now available and more will be released as soon as they have been rendered and are available from the RouteBuddy Store. Complete US coverage planned before end of 2009. (Note: There is a sample in the RouteBuddy 2.5 demo.)

    RouteBuddy USGS derived Topographic Maps are superior to anything else yet derived from the same data, please refer to our 'News' article here for more information: http://www.routebuddy.com/news/index.html

    - RouteBuddy Ordnance Survey Maps
    We'll be releasing 1:25,000 scale maps for use within RouteBuddy in a very short space of time. The incredible detail available in these maps makes using them in RouteBuddy on the Mac ideal for many users and solutions. Sample image here: http://tinyurl.com/OS-Forum


    Of course, there's much to come. ;-)


    Neil
    ------------------
    www.RouteBuddy.com

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