software refers to the software
that interprets data from the GPS receiver
position or give navigation
instructions to the driver. Currently, the overwhelming majority of GPS navigation software is available for the Windows
operating system with much more limited options for Apple / Macintosh
OS X and Linux
Major features of most, but not all, navigation software
* Moving map display. This uses the GPS to pinpoint the user's location while either moving the map underneath as the car changes position, or a moving dot on the display that corresponds to the user's GPS location.
* 2D/3D display. A 2D display is an overhead view as if the map were drawn on a flat piece of paper. A 3D display takes the map data and tries to mimic the user's point of view through the use of perspective and scaling to provide a view similar that what the driver sees out the window. Not all navigation programs have this option.
* Auto-rotate map. This feature automatically rotates the map so that the map is oriented in the direction of travel. As the user changes direction, the map automatically rotates to reflect this change onscreen.
* Turn-by-turn directions. This feature calculates the route between the start and end points and notifies the driver as each turn approaches. This notification can take the form of on screen directions (text or and arrow), audible directions spoken by the computer, or both.
* Auto zoom. Auto zoom adjusts the zoom level of the map based on the speed of the car. For example, as the car speeds up the map may zoom out to give an overview. As the car slows down, the map may zoom in to allow nearby streets to be read more easily and to make it easier to see the exact location of a turn.
Major brands of navigation software
o MS Streets & Trips / MapPoint
o CoPilot Live
o Destinator / MapMonkey / FreeDrive
o Michelin Mapstore
o Ozi Explorer
o TomTom (via PocketPC Emulator)
o Google Earth-based (GooPS, CommTest2)
A poll of the 'best' navigation software for Windows
o Google Earth
Navigation Front Ends
Not all navigation software is designed for use in the car PC environment where small touch screens are often the input method of choice. Fortunately, some navigation software can be accessed via a software development kit (SDK), allowing members of the car PC community to program a more appropriate interface on the nav software.
o Map Monkey