Sunday, November 06, 2005

PathAway 3

PathAway is developed by Muskoka Tech based in Ontario, Canada. Originally developed for Palm the PocketPC release is about a year old. Specially while transferring files you might see some error messages still referring to HotSync, the Palm way of synching files. It also seems that there are quite a few more Palm users in the recently created message forums on its website.

After installing the package on Windows you will get a set of quite good manuals (with Palm references here and there) and a MapManager utility. If you want to try it out, be sure to get a good hang of the map calibration step and go fast, the trial only lasts 10-days. After that you will need to purchase a $49.95 license.

You can load a .jpeg image with the map utility or load pre-calibrated files in JPR calibration file format developed by Fugawi, or PathAway’s PWM and CAL formats. For me the map calibration required the use of d mm.mm even though I had degrees, minutes and seconds selected.

After some struggle I finally got a moving map working. But I could not transfer maps thru MapManager I had to copy files manually from its temporary location. The utility would give me an error message or go away after starting a transfer. I didn't compare the saved .prc file and the one from the temporary storage to see if they were the same, but I only got the PPC package to work with the version from the temporary storage (/Documents and Settings/[username]/Local Settings/temp on XP) plus a .pwp text file with empty coordinates.

Precise

The moving map shows a pretty good precision after all. Default screen provides bearing, coordinates, average, max and current speed and is highly configurable as most aspects of this package. The user interface shows its Palm origins.

You mark (way) points along a trail, track and PA3 will display the distance from the closest point you have stored, including the trigger of an audible alarm. You can save track, points and split the display with a moving map and a list of saved points or tracks.

You can download a command-line tool to convert database entries to text format and vice-versa. There you will also find a library for batch map conversions, and a DLL with its published API for use from within your own application.

Touratech QV

PA3 supports map files generated with Touratech QV, a PC desktop tool developed in Europe, in this case you won't need to use PathAway tools. Some of their website is translated to English but if you know German you will feel home.

Pocketnow.com published a pretty extensive "review" of PathAway by the time of its release.