TeleType WorldNavigator CF GPS

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INTRODUCTION

  

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

Teletype

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.


WHAT’S HOT

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

navigation.


MAP

SETUP

Last year I struggled with map

installation

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.

First,

launch the installation program (both desktop and

PPC clients are configured together).

Second,

install your map data.

Unlike

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

map CD-ROM.

For

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

or PowerLOC.

Finally,

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.

What

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.


TECH

SPECS

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.

General

Frequency:

L1,

1575.42 MHz.

C/A:

1.023

MHz chip rate

Channels:

12

Channel parallel tracking.

Antenna:

External

patch antenna via MMCX connector

Accuracy

Position:

Up

to 3 meters, WAAS

capable

Velocity:

0.1

meters/second

Time:

1

microsecond synchronized to GPS time

Acquisition

Rate

Reacquisition:

0.1

sec., average

Cold

Start:

48

sec., average (external active antenna)

Interface

H/W:

Compact

Flash Type I, using SiRF II chip set

S/W:

Emulated

COM-port (COM1-4; Auto select)

Baud

Rate:

4800

bps, N, 8,1

Protocol:

NMEA-0183(v2.20)-

GGA,GSA,GSV,RMC,VTG,GLL

Environmental

Operating

Temperature:

32

– 158 degrees Fahrenheit

( 0 –  70 

degreesCelsius )

Relative

Humidity:

5%

to 95%, non-condensing.

Size

Length:

Total

– 4 inches (10.16 cm)

Width:

Blue

part – 1.75 inches (4.445 cm)

The part insert to the jacket – 1.68 inches

(4.2672 cm)

Height:

Blue

part – 0.875 inches (2.2225 cm)

The part insert to the jacket – 0.125 inches

(0.3175 cm)


HARDWARE

EXPLORATION

Though the map transferring

procedure isn’t

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!

 

Teletype

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.

 

The

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.

From

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

antenna.

In

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.

When

installed, the WorldNavigator does extend quite a

distance out of the iPAQ.

Despite

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


SOFTWARE EXPLORATION

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

(TT) closely

resembles its predecessors in that it mirrors the

look and feel of the desktop application.

Like

before, you’re first screen will show a detail-free

view of the United States.

Though

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.

Once

you begin filling in detail, you can zoom in on the

map regions. Now let’s configure the WorldTraveler

so we can begin routing.

WorldNavigator

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.

Wait

until your position is fixed, and then you’re ready

to proceed.

 

Once

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.

Back

to the detailed map, an arrow is drawn to indicate

where you are situated.

To

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

Route.

Now

that your route has been determined, you can save

the turn-by-turn directions for later reference.

Route–Settings

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.

Here

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.

Much

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.

If

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.

An

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.

Your

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.

POI’s

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

Despite

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.


PERFORMANCE

AND ACCURACY

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

quite on-the-mark.

   

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.


HELP

SUPPORT

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.

 


OPTIONS

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.


SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

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

   

I’ve

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.


PURCHASING

   

When

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.

   

Just

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).


PROS


Super-accurate

receiver


 

Desktop

and Pocket PC package for one price

  • Very quickacquisition time
  • Altitudereadings
  • Full supportfor waypoints and painless route planning

 


CONS


Several

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

 


OVERALL

IMPRESSION

  

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!

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About The Author
Jared Miniman