CoPilot GPS/navigation questions
March 9, 2010 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Various questions about the CoPilot GPS/navigation app for the Droid, especially importing POI files.

Garmin is no longer providing map updates for my 9-year-old but still perfectly functional StreetPilot III (grumble grumble), so it's time to get a new GPS receiver for street navigation, primarily for use in the US and Canada. I'm debating whether to get another standalone GPS unit, or a smartphone with GPS navigation. (I don't currently have a smartphone, and the ability to also use one as a GPS receiver would be the only thing that would justify its greater expense to me at this time.)

I was intrigued by the Droid when it came out (I'm happy with Verizon as my carrier, so no iPhone for me), but was initially put off when I found out the included Google Maps navigation required cell phone reception to work. Since I sometimes travel in areas without reception, that was a dealbreaker for me.

Now I see that the CoPilot Live app is available for the Droid, which downloads maps onto the phone itself, so that cell phone reception isn't required for navigation.

So, my questions:

1. Any general feedback on CoPilot Live, particularly on Android devices, and even more particularly on the Droid? If you use it, or you've tried it, what do you think of it? Any drawbacks (especially missing features) compared to a standalone GPS unit?

2. In 9 years of using the StreetPilot, I've built up a set of nearly a thousand custom points of interest (POIs). (Actually called "waypoints" in the StreetPilot software, but "custom POIs" seems to be the preferred terminology now.) CoPilot Central (the associated desktop software) can apparently upload custom POI files to CoPilot Live; how difficult is it to convert my Garmin waypoints (kept in a Garmin Mapsource file) to the proper format to upload to CoPilot Live?

3. The CoPilot Live User Guide notes you can pick a category, or even create a new category, when adding a POI manually from the phone itself. Is it possible to assign categories to custom POIs when uploading them from a file via CoPilot Central? (There doesn't seem to be a user guide for CoPilot Central online.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
 
I have not used Co pilot, but I thought I would mention that with Google Maps navigation, one only needs network when making the route. If you stay on route, it doesn't seem to need network along the way.
posted by JMOZ at 4:31 AM on March 10, 2010


For anyone still reading, I ended up deciding on the stand-alone GPS. I put off the decision for a few months, still using my SPIII during that time (the outdated maps didn't cause too many problems), and in the end it came down to a (soon-to-be-released) Droid X + CoPilot vs. the (newly-released) Garmin 3700 series. My own research convinced me that the POI conversion/import wouldn't be too difficult either way.

There were a few factors that led to my decision. One being that the smart-phone-based nav systems seem to be a year or two behind top-of-the-line stand-alones as far as features (one example: although pretty much all of them incorporate traffic reports, the smart-phone systems, as well as older stand-alones, only route around traffic issues when you manually ask them to do so; the Garmin 3700 series automatically takes traffic reports into account when plotting a route).

But most important has been ALK's odd near-silence about a Android 2.2-compatible version of CoPilot. Now, granted, Google, released 2.2 rather suddenly, and a GPS/navigation app is more complex than many apps. On May 28, they said, "we know CoPilot isn't compatible with 2.2, we're working on it, a compatible version will be out soon." On June 9, they said "we're still working on it, we don't have a specific release date yet." Since then, nothing. And 2.2 is no longer considered beta and being pushed out to some phones. While the Droid X is shipping with 2.1 and will be upgraded to 2.2 at some unknown time in the future, I'm not willing to risk giving up off-line navigation capability based on a release whose date is unknown and which the company has been tight-lipped about.

So, the stand-alone it is. I'll probably get a smart phone eventually, but now it will be later rather than sooner. And even then it probably won't be my primary navigation device. (And I don't mind waiting until the pace of smart phone technology settles down a bit rather than having major improvements in both hardware and software every two months.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:49 AM on July 7, 2010


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