GPS Mapping Apps for OS X?
June 22, 2005 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I'm quickly becoming a member of the Mac Cult with my shiny new PowerBook. I can't seem to find a MS Streets&Trips or Mappoint like app though.. Any suggestions?
posted by joshgray to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
The only one I'm aware of is Route 66.
posted by mcwetboy at 1:06 PM on June 22, 2005

Joshgray, open this Macintouch thread and search for the keyword "map software". This page contains a really excellent overview and in-depth discussion of the various mapping application options for Mac OS X, including mcwetboy's Route 66 suggestion.
posted by Rothko at 1:13 PM on June 22, 2005

Route 66 is just about the only decent mapping package with route calculation, but it isn't very decent if you're accustomed to the relatively fast and responsive packages available for Windows. The UI is abysmal and it's astounding how slow the software is. Yet it seems to be the best of a truly sorry lot.

There's a National Geographic TOPO release for OSX, but I haven't been able to get my palms on it to try it. I hear the map data is hopelessly out of date, and as far as I know it has no street map / routing functions at all.

The linked article seems to be concerned primarily with GPSr compatibility and doesn't say much about how badly each package sucks. It even laughably concludes with a recommendation to notify the developers of all the problems, but the folks at have studiously ignored correspondence about all non-PDA/phone versions of the application for a year and a half. Don't expect Route 66 to get fixed any time soon.

Your best bet, frankly, is to run your favorite Windows package under a Virtual PC VM. Current model Powerbooks are fast enough to do that somewhat well -- and with better results than running R66 natively.
posted by majick at 1:29 PM on June 22, 2005

hmm interesting.. that amazes me software vendors don't think there is still not a market for map apps on the mac os.

majick, i havn't tried virtual pc yet - how slow is it on the newest rev powerbook? useable at least to do moving map display?
posted by joshgray at 7:49 PM on June 22, 2005

"[Is VPC] useable at least to do moving map display?"

Yes. VPC is a bit sluggish at times but it works fine on current Powerbooks, and I'd deem it worth the investment. Windows running on it is faster than on some of the actual PC hardware I have around the house.

While I don't have my GPSr hooked up to do moving maps -- it's and old RS232 Lowrance and Macs don't do serial ports -- I've run TOPO! USA on VPC and it's faster than the (thoroughly outdated P3/600) Windows machine I've been using for the same tasks, and certainly faster than Route66.

I keep Route66 installed, but mainly because it hasn't occurred to me to reclaim the disk space, and occasionally I resort to its (fairly thorough, actually, though steadily aging and infuriating to use) POI database. By and large I can't recommend it unless the vendor decides to resurrect support for it and start fixing bugs. Apart from moving maps, anything else Route66 is capable of Google or Yahoo Maps will do more easily.
posted by majick at 12:07 AM on June 23, 2005

(I should add that Windows on VPC with insufficient memory is a truly painful experience. Have a gig or more of memory installed, or it's not worth it.)
posted by majick at 12:11 AM on June 23, 2005

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