Friday, February 02, 2007

There's maps and there's maps...

I've added this map-based tracker of blog readers in the right hand margin. If you click it, a pop-up will try to appear so please watch for that if you don't see anything after a click.
I bought Microsoft AutoRoute 2007 to help with the journey planning. The 2006 version was a bit of a disaster for those travelling in the UK as it completely buggered up UK postal codes, which are a very useful navigation aid here, since they'll usually get you to within a few hundred feet of your destination, or at least to the correct side of the street. Microsoft didn't acknowledge the problem or issue any patches.

2007 seems to be a little better, but I see very little improvement over the 2003 version that I last used. While you can do street-level navigation of a number of countries in Eastern Europe (not all those I'm visiting) it hasn't indexed the streets for search. To locate my accommodation in Budapest I had to squint at another map and try to match up the streets in AutoRoute.

There are still stupid behaviours like responding to a search for "Via Reggio, Roma, Italy" with a "cannot find in United Kingdom" or whatever your system locale happens to be. It's obviously created by a US-centric team.

While planning this trip I've already noticed bizarre things like:
  • plotting all routes from the north of Italy to Sorrento via ferry trips to and from the Isle of Capri in the Bay of Naples. I had to mark out that area of the map and tell AutoRoute to avoid it so that it would take the shorter land-based route.
  • I just added the "Bari-Dubrovnik" ferry route as a one night stop. Although it had been selected in the right geographic position - in the Adriatic Sea between Italy and Croatia - the program added it as a point on the border between Denmark and Germany! Conversely, the Naples-Palermo ferry turns up in the right geographic location as "Unnamed".

I have a little more of the Italian route plotted now, and am awaiting details of pet-friendly accommodation in Sorrento and Dubrovnik, and confirmation of ferry crossing to Dubrovnik.

Next step is to line up prospective places in Sicily, Slovenia, Vienna, Slovakia and Poland. I'm not going to book there yet, but it's good to have a short-list of pet-friendly possibilities ahead of us.

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