TeleType WorldNavigator CF GPS
It goes without saying that I carry a Pocket PC with
me wherever I go, including the bank, to concerts,
to restaurants, and of course to the gym (how else
would I enjoy stereo MP3 heaven?). Driving with my
iPAQ is no exception, which shouldn’t shock you as
I depend on various GPS systems to keep me from getting
lost. Honestly, I’ve never been that great with directions,
but technology comes to my rescue in a huge way.
Teletype has been around since 1981 and has a great
deal of expertise to leverage. Not only are they leaders
in GPS, but they also know a thing or two about satellite
communications and even two-way paging. What don’t
these guys do? Last year I sat down with the first
GPS package I had ever seen for the Pocket PC, the
WorldNavigator. Back then, technology (or perhaps
price) limited the shrinking of components to a PCMCIA
card. Because the premise was new to me, I had no
problem carrying around the extra bulk of the iPAQ
PC Card sleeve. Fast forward to the year 2002, where
everything comes in a CompactFlash card. Perhaps next
year everything will be SD-sized? Don’t hold your
breath! In this review, we take a look at the updated
WorldNavigator CompactFlash edition.
Following the drive to make
everything smaller, Teletype fit the same WorldNavigator
functionality of yesteryear into a CompactFlash Type
I card. Also, now the Teletype client provides voice
Last year I struggled with map
using Teletype; this year is no different! To begin,
launch Teletype GPS from your desktop or laptop. If
you use the application from your laptop, you can
plug the CF GPS into a PC Card slot with a CF to PCMCIA
adapter and have a slightly less mobile GPS system.
Since I’m a PPC-minded guy, I’ll leave the detailed
analysis of the desktop version to another website.
launch the installation program (both desktop and
PPC clients are configured together).
install your map data.
most other map programs where you’re only given the
option of installing halves of the United States’
data, WorldNavigator lets you select individual states.
Make sure you install all states you could possibly
need at this step, else you’ll need to re-fetch the
this review, I will focus my efforts on New York and
Pennsylvania. Next, launch Teletype GPS on your desktop
or laptop. From here you will download maps to your
Pocket PC. The process of map transferring in this
version is identical to that of the first version
I reviewed. In essence, you are clicking on regions
of the map you deem important, and as long as they
were copied to your system in the above process, the
map details will be filled in, chunk by chunk. To
“fill in” all of Pennsylvania, you’ll likely
have to click a dozen times or so. After a while,
this process becomes really tedious. You should be
able to “fill in” whole states at a time.
This is done to conserve space on the Pocket PC because
you’ll typically send over all active map data as
the map names have little human meaning and guessing
which map corresponds to which chunk is a waste of
time. It’s about time that Teletype adopt an approach
akin to TravRoute
a new “feature” worth mentioning is the
Points of Interest database support. As you can see
above, hospitals, schools, and a few other municipal
facilities appear on the map. POI’s are not installed
by default; rather, you must visit TeleType.com
and download these add-ons for your state.
you aren’t told is that these Poi’s don’t include
what I would consider essentials: restaurants, stadiums,
and other contemporary entertainment venues. Sure,
such spots can easily be added to the database, but
the fact of the matter is that you don’t get Poi’s
by default. It requires extra work.
One of the best features
of the WorldNavigator is that it’s fully NMEA-compliant,
meaning just about any industry-grade GPS software
package out there will be able to access it. Though
not a huge consideration for Pocket PC users, having
cross-compatibility is great on the desktop side where
there are dozens of software options.
MHz chip rate
Channel parallel tracking.
patch antenna via MMCX connector
to 3 meters, WAAS
microsecond synchronized to GPS time
sec., average (external active antenna)
Flash Type I, using SiRF II chip set
COM-port (COM1-4; Auto select)
bps, N, 8,1
– 158 degrees Fahrenheit
( 0 – 70
to 95%, non-condensing.
– 4 inches (10.16 cm)
part – 1.75 inches (4.445 cm)
The part insert to the jacket – 1.68 inches
part – 0.875 inches (2.2225 cm)
The part insert to the jacket – 0.125 inches
Though the map transferring
what I would like it to be, mostly because TeleType’s
“home territory” is with laptops and larger
computing devices rather than Pocket PCs (whose memory
isn’t the easiest thing to access), the WorldNavigator
receiver is very cool!
throws in a great leather-like carrying case for your
WorldNavigator. Not a requirement I had for the package
entering the review, but a thoughtful touch.
card itself isn’t big, but the antenna is enormous!
It protrudes almost two inches from the top of my
iPAQ, and it adds a good deal of mass to the combination.
the side, you can see the enormity of the antenna.
But because you’ll be using this most often in your
car, size isn’t a major issue. Just make sure your
PDA mount is strong enough to support the one inch-thick
the box I received the WorldNavigator, an optional
external antenna, and the Teletype GPS software and
maps CD-ROM (only one CD, versus the three or more
included with most systems). No PDA mount accessory
was included, so you’re on your own to find one that
suits your needs. Check out our “For
the Car” review section for some suggestions.
installed, the WorldNavigator does extend quite a
distance out of the iPAQ.
its size, there is one feature I love of the new WorldNavigator:
a blinking LED indicating GPS activity. Another subtle
touch, but I tend to appreciate physical status reminders.
Continue to software overview
As I mentioned earlier,
because I spent a good deal of time surveying Teletype
GPS(an earlier version), I will refer to it as
a comparison point. The latest version of Teletype
resembles its predecessors in that it mirrors the
look and feel of the desktop application.
before, you’re first screen will show a detail-free
view of the United States.
the help file says to add maps by selecting File–Load–Load
in view (this didn’t work), I was forced to click
on city or town names to bring them into focus.
you begin filling in detail, you can zoom in on the
map regions. Now let’s configure the WorldTraveler
so we can begin routing.
uses the “Teletype” port (rather than a
COM port). Click “Open Port” beside “Start
Log,” and hopefully you’ll see data stream down
the screen as shown above.
until your position is fixed, and then you’re ready
your satellites have been locked in (I typically could
access eight or so), you’ll see your exact coordinates,
including your altitude, accurate to several feet!
Very nifty, especially when you’re drifting up or
down a mountain.
to the detailed map, an arrow is drawn to indicate
where you are situated.
create a routing, select Route–New and begin filling
in this screen. I like the fact that you can travel
from your current coordinates to your chosen destination.
Just plug in the appropriate fields (use History,
Current Position, or Reverse as shortcuts), and hit
that your route has been determined, you can save
the turn-by-turn directions for later reference.
brings up some options new to this version. You can
have your route calculated based upon quickest or
shortest path, force usage of highways, and to save
processing time, select whether your endpoints are
in rural or urban areas.
you can see your turn-by-turn directions with distances
between each step. As you get closer to each turn
point, the distances change to reflect that and scale
from miles to feet.
to my dismay, when I zoomed on my start region, I
noticed that my street still wasn’t included in the
map data, which was the case with the first version
of TT. In over a year, you mean to tell me that the
database hasn’t been updated? As a result of this,
the routing path made little sense. Hopefully you
will find that map density is greater in your region,
since it’s map density that really determines how
useful the particular GPS software will be for you.
you are lucky enough to be presented with a valid
route, turn notifications are quite big! I found that
notifications were a bit off; TT was quick to announce
upcoming turns, so I was often prompted to make a
move when I really wasn’t supposed to do so for another
light or two. I know the receiver is accurate enough
to know where I am, so it puzzles me that the notifications
were buggy. If you travel off-route, a new updated
route is calculated based upon your current coordinates.
updated Navigation tab has a home in View–Show Preference…
and allows you to warn you if you’re going too fast
and change the default view to head up.
routes can be saved for later use (or can be sent
to Teletype to help them improve their database) if
you select Route–Save As.
can be found on the map by selecting Tools–Find–Others.
Restaurants, for example, are not included in the
database, though they are my primary use for Poi’s
the jumbled interface, Waypoints are considered very
important throughout TT. You can define each of the
individual turns in a route as a Waypoint or add them
by specific addresses. Using Waypoints is an easy
way to define your own interest points or setup landmarks
for future reference. Waypoints can be exported to
a .WAY file and shared with the desktop TT client.
Though its “accuracy”
is in many ways hindered by the density of the maps,
at least for my region, the WorldNavigator is an exceptionally
precise receiver. In fact, I’d be so bold as to say
that it’s one of the top nonprofessional receivers
on the market, and there are so many receivers to
choose from. Not only are your coordinates accurate
to about three meters, higher than anything I’ve seen
thus far, but you even get very reliable altitude
readings. In short, you always know precisely where
you are. Satellite acquisition time is fantastic because,
as Teletype claims, they use proprietary acquisition
algorithms. Not sure how exactly this is done, but
your position will be locked in within 10 seconds
of opening up the card from a cold boot!
I’m a bit concerned by the regularity with which Teletype
updates their database, since my region was filled
with informational gaps last year, and still is now.
Additionally, Teletype needs to bring in more POI
entries (several million will do nicely) to cover
restaurants and entertainment venues. Aside from general
improvements to the database, the receiver is of topnotch
quality. Should the database be better propagated,
I am confident driving notifications will also be
Finally, automatic rerouting needs to be enabled.
Sure, I can click “Reroute” every time I
believe I have gone off course, and a new route will
be determined based upon my current coordinates, but
wow is this dangerous to do at 55 miles per hour,
especially since the fonts are all reasonably small
(standard size). Throw in an auto rerouting option
in the Navigation options.
Take one look at TT, and
your immediate reaction will be, “I hope this
has online help!” You’re in luck. TT desktop
has one HTML file as your entire help system, which
is dumped over to the Pocket PC. It has basic feature
overviews as well as a handy “Tips” section.
I have covered options
contained within TT for Pocket PC in my last review.
Back in that review I also mentioned TT’s built-in
support for air and marine navigation, as well as
a handy drawing program (all of which are available
at an extra cost). These add-ons are very interesting,
but are beyond the scope of this review.
size=2>Now that we’re dealing
with the standard, Type I CF form factor, just about
any Windows CE device running H/PC Pro, H/PC 2000,
and Pocket PC can be paired with the WorldNavigator,
pending it has a CF slot. The same, of course, applies
to the software. TT requires 1.6 mb of free storage
space for the base installation in addition to 1-2
Mb per metropolitan area. Note the small map size:
though there might be a slight sacrifice in map density,
1-2 Mb is a fraction of the size required by most
other GPS systems out there, and this is a good thing
since you don’t have a free storage card slot (unless
you’re using an iPAQ H3800 series with SD card). When
running, TT consumes just over a megabyte of program
memory. If you’re so bold as to use TT with another
GPS receiver, you can do so without problems as long
as said receiver is NMEA-compliant.
BUGS AND WISHES
said it once and I’ll say it again: the usefulness
of a GPS software bundle can be easily measured by
your home region’s map density. If your house can’t
be found in the database, chances are good you will
have difficulty obtaining exact routing to nearby
destinations. Of course, you can compensate for this
by getting yourself on a major road and proceeding
from there, but if you have problems tracing from
the origin, you might be disappointed with the continuity
of the route data. If you have used TT on your laptop
or Pocket PC and found the map database to be especially
good or particularly sparse, please let us know in
the discussion thread. I strongly advise that you
consider the WorldNavigator as your GPS receiver even
if you don’t elect to buy the software.
Now for a few UI suggestions. Just as I suggested
with Pocket CoPilot, the screen brightness needs to
be cranked up so you can better see the directions
when faced with sunlight. There ought to be a separate
window where I can survey the turn-by-turn directions
for a given route, along with each segment’s distance
and a trip-long time and distance summary. Finally,
and this could be circumstantial and the result of
there being poor data for my region, but the voice
notification needs to do a better job of “just
in time” and “fair warning” indications.
For example, instead of telling me “Turn Right!”
about 1000 feet from my actual turn, present me with
a warning and then at a distance of maybe 100 feet
(depending on my speed, which the WorldNavigator can
track) before my turn, urge me to do so.
buying the WorldNavigator, you have oodles of bundle
options. The “standard” package is the WorldNavigator
CF receiver, Teletype GPS software (US maps), and
an external antenna to boost signal. Buy it for $349.00
here. European users should purchase the same
package but with European maps (I cannot report on
the accuracy of these maps). This pack can be had
for $399.00 here. TeleType’s “premium”
bundle adds a car mounting kit, a carrying pouch,
car lighter adapter, and CF to PCMCIA adapter. This
pack can be had
for $499.00 here.
want the WorldNavigator receiver? Grab
one for $199.00 here. Though many TT add-ons
are available for purchase, you can buy
TT alonefor $95.00 (US and Puerto Rico).
and Pocket PC package for one price
- Very quickacquisition time
- Full supportfor waypoints and painless route planning
screens are very cramped
- Most screenstorn directly from TT for desktop
- POI databaseis limited
- Poi’s areadd-ons rather than auto-installed
- No realauto rerouting
Despite several quirks detected in the Teletype GPS
software package, I was rather impressed with the
accuracy of the WorldNavigator receiver, especially
when used in conjunction with other Pocket PC GPS
applications. Because the WorldNavigator is NMEA-compliant
and doesn’t use any proprietary output encoding, you
can use it with basically any application out there,
including your own, should you be so daring as to
write one. Once Teletype becomes more committed to
updating their database, I will wholeheartedly recommend
the entire package, but until then, I would recommend
snagging the WorldNavigator and doing research into
the available competitive map databases.
Teletype is a long-standing expert in GPS technology,
and it shows in their WorldNavigator bundle. Though
the software is rough at points, the features that
I desire are all there, with the room to graduate
to even more sophisticated functionality such as marine
and aviation tracking. The WorldNavigator kept tabs
on my exact location, accurate to three meters, and
was courteous enough to suggest I slow down to prevent
getting a speeding ticket!