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GPS for Treo: TomTom Navigator Vs. Mapopolis U.S. NavCard

As a gadget lover AND a map lover, I have long had a passion for GPS, or Global Positioning System devices. These allow you to know where you are on the planet within a fair degree of accuracy, allow you to map out a route from where you are to any destination and sometimes even let you look up various landmarks or businesses or see them as you travel. My first GPS was a monochrome Garmin StreetPilot that I bought back in 2000. When I first heard that I could make my Treo 600 act like a GPS receiver back last summer, I was entreagued. When I heard the raves about a product called Mapopolis that offered voiced turn-by-turn directions and the ability to download maps for anywhere in the U.S., all for half the price I paid (including the actual GPS receiver) for the StreetPilot years earlier, I jumped at the chance! The possibility that I could use this amazing phone for yet another important need made it even more of a convergence device. At the time, Mapopolis provided the only real GPS solution that I could find for the Treo. I purchased the program and a subscription to download maps for a year and started using it immediately. Mapopolis provided many things that my Garmin (which was at least five times the size and weight of my Treo) could not do, such as those voice-prompted directions I mentioned, displaying maps in color (albeit on a smaller screen) and allowing you to actually type addresses in instead of scrolling through a virtual keyboard on the screen.

While I was mostly happy with this software, the one big disadvantage was that Mapopolis's maps were county-based. You had to know what counties you would be traveling to or through if you wanted to get specific directions to an exact endpoint, and also be able to stop along the way and drive around a little without losing your map detail. Unless you are on a truely long-term trek, you are going from point A to point B, so really you only need the county-level map for where you start and where you end for a good set of directions. The other set of maps you need are state-level maps that contain the "major roads" for the states you will be traveling in. In any case, if I wanted to use Mapopolis during a trip, I would have to sit down with a map and figure out which states and counties I wanted access to. Initially I tried simply putting in all the counties between me and my destination of some 500 miles away, but due to the limitations of the program, this was unworkable. These maps are not small, of course, and with the Treos limited memory, the best place for them are on an external memory card.

Luckily, when I purchased Mapopolis last summer they had just made a beta version available that made it possible to use maps on your SD card more or less painlessly. However, using the SD card, especially on a Treo 600 (as opposed to faster devices like the Treo 650), meant things generally took longer to happen. Every additional map that Mapopolis had to load and look at while figuring out your route made trips with more than a handful of county-level maps and state major road maps so slow that they really weren't worth the effort. And even with a relatively small mapset, it could still take a few minutes to map my route to work – a trip that only takes a half hour!

Flash forward six months or so when I first started contemplating buying a Treo 650 (ok, maybe I was contemplating it when it was first announced in October!). One consideration I had, although admittedly not my primary one, was how upgrading would affect my experience with GPS. I knew that the Treo 650's faster processor would mean that maps would load much faster and routes could be planned much more quickly – at least in theory. I also knew that with its higher resolution screen, I could see more map in more detail, thus giving me a better idea of what was ahead as I drove, and what was around me.

I didn't think at all about the Treo 650's support for Bluetooth because I simply didn't know that there were Bluetooth-enabled GPS units. Even if I did, I don't think I would have been all that concerned because after all it's simply a way to cut down on the numbers wires in your car, a feature that while nice is not a big deal to someone who's relatively low maintenance like myself! Then again, one big problem I had when using the Treo 600 with my wired GPS receiver was that sometimes a bump would dislodge a cable and if I didn't get it plugged back in quickly enough, I would have to reroute the trip all over again!

TomTom GoNot having done a lot of reading about GPS since buying Mapopolis in the summer, I just assumed I would keep using my old GPS receiver with the Mapopolis maps. I didn't know there were other options until perusing the discussion forums again as the time neared for when I might actually be able to purchase the Treo 650. I happened across people talking about a new product from a company called TomTom. TomTom makes a stand-alone GPS unit called the "TomTom Go" which I had looked at a bit and even considered buying when I was looking at stand-alones last month after buying a new car. However, the TomTom's pricetag, even though it was one of the cheaper units out there for its full feature set, was still between $600 and $1000 depending on the store you bought it at and the options you chose, and since I knew I'd be spending a good chunk of cash on the Treo 650 soon enough, I had to hold off. I'm glad I did, because as I found out, TomTom makes software for handhelds (PalmOS and PocketPC devices) that is the basically the same as what is in their stand-alone TomTom Go. The price is also much more reasonable than any of the stand-alone devices you can get, including TomTom's.

What I also had to decide was what kind of GPS receiver to buy, because as it turned out I could not use my old GPS receiver with the Treo 650 due to Pa1mOne's decision to change the port used for plugging in such accessories to the phone. Since Bluetooth GPS receivers are not prohibitive and because I heard good things about TomTom's own Bluetooth GPS receiver, which came either separately or bundled with the software and maps, I opted to get the bundle from and have it shipped to my house for free while I waited for my Treo 650 to get out of backorder status and get shipped to me. As it turns out TomTom's Bluetooth receiver has some of the latest GPS features, accuracy and performance enhancements via a recent chipset called "SiRF IIe/LP." (I believe an even more advanced SiRF III has just gone into production) Among its more impressive features is its ability to get a GPS signal without having to have line-of-sight to the satellites. So I can put it in my glove compartment, and since there are no wires, shut it, and it still will get a signal and send it to my Treo 650.

After receiving the TomTom package and actually getting the software to work on my Treo 600 (a feat that I hadn't seen anyone even attempting), I found out that Mapoplis actually made a product that was a more direct competitor to TomTom! It was too late to return TomTom and do further research before making a decision, so I contacted Mapopolis and they were nice enough to send me their product so that I could review it for potential customers and compare it to the TomTom Navigator software and maps. Mapopolis's product, called U.S. NavCard for PalmOS, is actually an external Secure Digital memory card that contains the software and street-level maps for the entire U.S. One can also buy cards that contain only parts of the U.S. for significantly less. I felt compelled to compare the two products not only for myself but for others out there who are looking for a new (or a first) GPS system for their Treo and who may not have known about the Mapopolis product - while there's been more buzz lately about TomTom because of it being the new kid on the block and having some nice features, I didn't see much discussion about this relatively new product from Mapopolis.


The Mapopolis Navcard is the winner here, of course. All you do is plop the card in. The first time it installs some files into your Treo's main memory (subsequent insertions just cause it to start right up) but all the maps are maintained on the card itself, which is necessary for a device with such a limited amount of main memory. While this is process is very easy, there are some downsides to the approach. One is that the files that it installs in memory take up a pretty good chunk of space – over 3MB! With the Treo 650's memory issues, this is significant! Also, while using the Navcard, you won't have access to programs that you may have installed on a separate external memory card. I've put as many programs as possible on my external card in order to keep the free the main memory on the Treo due to it's memory issues. But perhaps this isn't that big an issue. If you are using a GPS during a trip, for the most part you aren't going to be doing anything with the Treo, aside from maybe using the phone which doesn't require any external program. Ideally, having at least the possibility open for doing other things like playing some music or audio books that are on a memory card while using the GPS would be nice, but the lack of multitasking on the Treos as well as lack of great stability with either of these products mean that this was never going to be a real possibility at this point anyway. Initially I thought having the software on an SD card meant that it wasn't meant for updates, however, Mapopolis is currently working on updates that can be installed on the card, and I tried out a beta of this update successfully – you just need to switch the write-protect tab on the SD card.

TomTom Navigator's installation is not nearly as straightforward. One receives Eight CD's worth of maps, voices, and the application. Any of these CD's acts as an installation program, but nothing gets installed on your computer. Rather, when you put one of these CD's in, it runs an installation program off of the CD and asks you want you want to install. It gives you the choice of installing in main memory, on a storage card or "other (advanced)" That third option then gives you further choices to install to a directory on your hard drive (which you can later transfer to an SD card via a card reader for example), or directly to the SD card. All these options are a bit confusing and I had to play with the install process a bit before I got it to work the way I wanted. Installing to Storage Card initially did not let me have access to the application. I had to go back and install it to main memory, but then it took up a big chunk of memory. I then deleted this, and tried installing to the storage card again and this time it seemed to work. The process also seems to require at least a couple of hotsynchs so you really need to play close aattention to the directions the installer is giving you and don't just assume you hit install and then do one hotsynch. The reason I knew there shouldn't be a big chunk of memory taken up in the Treos main memory is from what I'd read on the discussion forums. Nowhere is any of this explained during the installation process or in the manuals.

Once you install the program itself, you also have to install maps. You can install a map for a single state, or for groups of states. This is relatively painless, as you just select from a list and it will prompt you to insert a different CD if necessary. You can also install a large variety of voices for the voice prompts. Unfortunately installing each map and each voice prompt requires a separate install process, and you have to basically tell TomTom that you've hotsynched when you really haven't, otherwise you would have to hotsynch after each one!


The documentation for both of these units is not the best. The Navcard comes with one sheet of paper that with some basic instructions. A "Quickstart Guide" which isn't much longer but at least as some screen captures, is available on the Mapopolis website. Mapopolis is apparently working on an a more in-depth user guide, but in the mean time the user guide for Mapopolis 2 will serve to answer most of your questions. TomTom's "manual" is a slick, professional printing, but is not all that thorough. It definitely beats Mapopolis's single sheet, and one can download a slightly expanded User Guide from the TomTom website that's a bit more helpful. Unfortunately, TomTom includes no documentation for their Bluetooth GPS unit, which was part of the bundle; something I thought was a bit odd.

GPS Unit Compatibility

TomTom BT ReceiverSurprisingly, I found that the Mapopolis product was much easier to get working with the TomTom Bluetooth GPS unit than TomTom's Navigator. Once I figured out that you needed to set it so that it would always look for the GPS as soon as you enter the program, and also set the it for a Bluetooth GPS (as opposed to a serial GPS) connection, it worked flawlessly. You do have to pick the TomTom from list of Bluetooth devices each time you start it up – the Navcard can't seem to remember which device you set it to the last time - but this is not much of a hassle.

The TomTom, on the other hand, was much more finicky. I would have to exit out sometimes or go in and change the GPS setting because it just wasn't finding the device. I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, but it can be quite annoying. Once TomTom sees the GPS, everything's fine, but it just seemed to take a much longer time than necessary sometimes. Other times it picked it up right away, and unlike Mapopolis, it remembers your settings, so as soon as you start running the software sometimes you're all set and don't need to do anything more to get things working.

Planning a Route

This is one place where the TomTom Navigator outperforms Mapopolis in most, although not every aspect. The interface to TomTom is one that doesn't look anything like any PalmOS application that you've seen, and that is because it is not exactly a PalmOS application. Instead, TomTom uses its own environment, bypassing the PalmOS. You start by choosing what kind of destination to pick, including an address, your home (if you've programmed that in when prompted when you are first setting TomTom up), a destination you've navigated to recently, a "Favorite," (predefined location), a "Point of Interest," or just an address. For now, let's look at just a plain old address as your destination. First you are asked what city your destination is in. You can start typing with the Treo keyboard or with a virtual one on the screen. As you type, a list of cities pops up that correspond to what you've typed so far, and as you continue typing that lists gets smaller, since, for example, fewer cities start with "Spring" than start with just "S." Once you see and pick your city from the list, it then asks you what street your destination is on and a similar list comes up as you type out the street. Finally it asks for the number or a cross-street. The routing system also remembers the last place you routed to, and so when you first start to route again, it brings up a list of recent places, so that you can quickly choose that place without having to manually enter it again from scratch.

(Clicking on "Navigate To" on the Main Menu will give you these options)

(When you click on "Address" you can start entering the city name to bring up a list)

(Once you've selected a City, you can choose a street in the same way)

(You can enter a street number)

(or simply say anywhere on that street or a cross-street)

Without actually experiencing it yourself, it's hard to get a feel for how easy setting a destination is, compared to many GPS systems I've used in the past, but trust me; it is very fast and easy. The actual amount of time it takes for the TomTom software to create the route with all the directions is astonishingly fast. Routing my 35-minute same-county trip from home to work or back takes less than 3 seconds. Even mapping a trip from Virginia to New York took around 5 seconds! In addition to your straightforward route, TomTom has the ability to include a "waypoint" or a point in between the beginning and the end points through which you want to travel, even if this will take you out of your way based on the optimal route. As a waypoint you can pick any address, favorite, a recent destination, point of interest, etc. I've never personally found a big reason to use waypoints while driving, but my trips are usually pretty straightforward – go visit a family member or friend, come home.

For those who have used Mapopolis 2 with the Treo 600, you will be right at home with the Mapopolis NavCard. The NavCard has basically the same exact interface with a few minor differences. The only major difference is that you don't have to fiddle with maps, map directories, etc. (There are also a couple of features that have been left out but I'll get into that later) - in fact the "Maps" button in the settings menu is simply gone. This is because you already have all the maps at your disposal preinstalled on the SD card. The screen that lets you pick where to route to is definitely one of Mapopolis's weakest points. It's not intuitive, and takes a bit of fiddling with to get what you want. It's something that you can get over as you get more accustomed to using it, but it is certainly an area where Mapopolis could make some big improvements. For example, there's the issue that while looking for an address, you may have missed the pull-down list where you specify which state to look in, a particularly annoying problem. For some reason, when you go to set an address to find, it defaults to looking in Malibu, California. A better choice would be to use a recent destination city or even the current city according to the GPS. In addition, Mapopolis seems very finicky about addresses. For example spelling out East or Lane instead of abbreviating these yielded a "nothing found" message. This may be even be true of TomTom as well, but because of the way it works by offering you choices rather than having you input an address to find an exact match for, it avoids the issue.

(notice no "Maps" button)

(intermediate screen - you have to click "find" to set up your destination)

(Note the "In Los Angeles, CA" - you'll have to change that if you want it to find your address if you don't live there)

(You can look for just a street but an actual address would usually be more helpful - notice how everything's abbreviated though, if you don't abbreviate things it won't find them)

That being said, Mapopolis does have some routing features that aren't available in TomTom. In particular you can look up someone's name in your address book and it will plop their address into the find field. Of course, it only does this for their actual address. You still need to make sure you are looking for it in the proper city and state (or zip code), since these are in separate fields from the address, and setting these each time is not a very fast and easy process. You can also tell Mapopolis to avoid highways, favor them, or be neutral to them when creating a route, something TomTom cannot do. Neither program has the flexibility of the online programs that allow you to find the shortest route vs. the quickest route. Routing times for Mapopolis, while a lot faster using the Navcard on my Treo 650 than with the county-level maps with Mapopolis 2 on my Treo 600, is still significantly slower than the TomTom. Routes from Virginia to New York took at least 30 seconds, perhaps as much as a minute, whereas routes between a local computer store and my house about two miles away took about 5 seconds. The route from my house to work (a 30-minute ride within the same county) took about 10 seconds. Mapopolis, however, is working on an update that improves routing and searching speeds. I was able to look at the beta for this update and for a longer route (DC to NYC) it did seem to shave it down from about 1 minute to 30 seconds, but shorter routes that took 10 seconds or less with the regular version didn't seem to gain much discernable benefit.

Traveling the Route

Once you set off on your route, the main features available are the actual screen display of the map, the written directions and other information, and finally the audible voice prompts. Oh yes, and then there's the overriding accuracy of the directions themselves! Let's tackle these one by one.

For the written directional information, I preferred the Mapopolis, both because their color scheme of blue letters on a white background was more readable from a distance than TomTom's white on dark blue. Both applications have directional arrows that tell you what kind of turn is coming and how far you have to go till the turn, and for these Mapopolis's seemed a bit easier to read. Part of the reason why Mapopolis might have the edge here is that these instructions take up more screen real estate and so allow for bigger and clearer fonts. This has the disadvantage, though, of making the space taken up by the map smaller. TomTom does have a nice feature though which allows you to see only the directional arrow and the direction text over the entire screen, making it even more readable than Mapopolis (although unlike Mapopolis it shows absolutely no map). You can set this on or off, or even to come on automatically when you travel above a certain speed.

(Mapopolis NavCard Navigating a Route)

(TomTom Navigator Navigating a Route - using its 3D Map Mode)

As far as directional accuracy, I found that both programs would sometimes give directions that didn't make sense, or that I just wasn't expecting. Normally these will actually get you to where you want to go, but they often seem less intuitive than what you may be used to just guessing yourself. Sometimes they might even save you a bit of time, sometimes they might take longer. I think it would take weeks to determine with any kind of confidence whether one of these products are better at figuring out directions on whole better than the other, although you might be able to do that very quickly for a given area and set of routes that you travel on a regular basis. The other issue that both seem to have (although in different places) is that they occasionally give you directions where none are needed. I've gotten stuff like "in 1 mile continue along X" where X is the road I'm currently on. However, looking around, there's no way NOT to continue along X unless you want to barrel through some guardrail and off the side of the road! Much of this depends on the type of mapping data that these programs use. Mapopolis uses data from NavTeq, whereas TomTom uses data from a company called TeleAtlas. Both of these companies have one annoying problem for me – they put my house 5 houses east of where it should be! I even notified NavTeq about this error, but even though the big online mapping apps like Mapquest use NavTeq data (so you think they would have the latest), they still show my house incorrectly placed. I can only imagine how many other inaccuracies there are, especially for never roads – my road (and house) is at least 50 years old so I don't think that's the problem there!

A closely related aspect to this is how the directions are actually explained to the driver. For this Mapopolis is the hands-down winner. They simply make more sense to my U.S. roadmapped brain. TomTom is a Dutch company, so perhaps in Europe these kinds of directions might be more comfortable, but not as much in the U.S. Don't get me wrong, they aren't that bad, but Mapopolis's are just more descriptive and helpful. Also, while you can set TomTom to use miles instead of kilometers, when you get under 1/3 of a mile or so, it switches to yards, a measurement that is only familiar in the sense of football to most U.S. residents! Unfortunately there is no way to switch this to feet, which is the unit that Mapopolis uses for its sub 1/3-mile directions.

As far as the map part of the display, TomTom is probably the winner, but not by much when you consider all the related features. On TomTom the maps just look better to my eye, are faster to browse, scroll better, and zoom in and out more fluidly. In addition one can choose from the standard overhead view that one would see on a paper map, or a special "3-D" view, as if one were traveling in a plane above the vehicle. Initially I was a bit dubious about whether this feature would actually be very useful. In fact I felt that these views gave you less information because you couldn't see as far ahead. But this is not the case with TomTom's 3D view. Something about the way it uses perspective and the fluidity of it's animation really add to this view to allow you to sense what's coming up in front of you much easier than with the top-down type of map. I still think the top-down view is good and switch off between the two, but having the choice is great. A slick feature that TomTom has but which I wish there was a way to turn off is a type of "auto-zooming." Depending on how fast the car is going, TomTom senses this and zooms out in order to give you a wider view of what's to come. If one is zoomed in too much while, say stopped in traffic, one can override this and zoom out for a wider view, however within several seconds TomTom will automatically zoom back in to a "speed-appropriate" level. TomTom's map display while on a route is also a bit larger due to more space given to the directional text for Mapopolis's display. However, when using these programs just driving around without a route programmed, Mapopolis's map display is a bit larger.

Mapopolis's maps are a bit jerkier when animating your travels, and are not as "pretty," although I suppose that's in the eye of the beholder. There is no 3D view, even though the older Mapopolis 2 has such a view. I'm not sure why Mapopolis chose to leave it out. Perhaps there were stability issues or even memory issues due to the size limits of the SD card and the Treo 650's main memory issues. Also missing from Mapopolis 2 is the ability to control the amount of detail on the map, but then TomTom doesn't have this either. Mapopolis does have some things that TomTom doesn't. For one, you can scroll on the map while you are traveling a route, zoom out to view more of your route, and even click on parts of the map to get more information about them – the name of a park or a point of interest, etc. In order to do something similar in TomTom, you have to go into a separate Browse Map mode found in the menu, which is just a static view of the map, not a dynamic one showing your position as you travel. Mapopolis also allows you to choose whether the map should be oriented according to the direction your car is driving, or rather as a static North-Up orientation. Finally, Mapopolis gives you a legend that puts things in perspective. You can estimate how far it might be from where you are to an arbitrary spot on your route which you cannot do in TomTom. As mentioned, the written directions take up more space on Mapopolis than TomTom, so the map itself is smaller, which makes it harder to read while driving.

Both applications give you an audible voice that reads turn-by-turn directions as they near. This is a key feature because it allows you to be directed by just listening without having to look at a tiny screen to try to make out directional information. Both programs distinguish themselves in different ways with their voice prompts, and so I had a hard time determining a clear winner.

TomTom has a large variety of clear, human voices which you can install from the CD (or download additional from TomTom's website) so that you can pick and choose which voice to hear at any given time. There are usually at least two (one male, one female) voice for a given language, but sometimes as many as four. So if you know where you're going but want to practice your Italian comprehension a bit, just download Chiara and let her direct you Avante! Aside from this, there are even different accent variations (for English anyway), including U.S., British, Hispanic, and Australian. The vocabulary even changes a bit when you switch from one accent to another. For example, the British voices use the term "motorway" instead of "highway." Someone at TomTom also has a sense of humor as you can even download from their site valley girl dialect called "Zappa"! Aside from the choice of languages, one can also set the volume level of the voice, something that's definitely useful if one has an infant in the car or simply a person who wants to sleep and not get woken up by a booming voice saying to take the next right.

The Mapopolis Navcard comes with a computer generated voice, not nearly as nice as any of the human voices of TomTom, but the big advantage it affords the program is that it can pronounce (or at least TRY to pronounce – sometimes it's pretty humorous to hear some of its attempts!) all the written directions including the actual names of streets, highways, etc. By comparison, TomTom's voices have a very limited vocabulary – "exit ahead," "turn left," "turn right," "take the highway," "after 200 yards," "make a U-Turn," "turn around when possible," and "you have reached your destination" are honestly the only things I can recall it saying. So Mapopolis's computerized voice prompts in general are much more helpful, even if they don't sound as nice. This isn't only because of the proper names it can pronounce, but simply the type of directions it gives for turns, as I've described above. The one unfortunate thing I discovered with Mapopolis's computer-generated voice prompts was that there seems to be some kind of malfunction with them on my Treo 650 whereby a decent fraction (I would say at least 5%, maybe as much as 10%) are messed up. Specifically, the voice distorts, getting chopped up a lot like the old Max Headroom stutter! Although pretty humorous the first few times it happens, at a certain point it gets stale, like Max Headroom. Sometimes it's a very minor stutter that lasts for a second or so, but other times the entire direction stuttered so that something that would have taken a couple of seconds to say took at least ten. Pair that with the inability to modify the volume, and well, it's not good!

Now, if you don't really care about proper names of streets, you can avoid the computer voice completely and download human voices similar to TomTom's. There isn't as good a selection, but the great thing is that you can actually record your own! Perhaps you could even cobble together sound clips of various celebrities saying the various 50 words that are used for these directions. I'm not sure I'd particularly want Paris Hilton giving me directions, but I'm sure someone would. Unfortunately Mapopolis does not tell people about this option, you have to glean it from discussion forums, which is unfortunate because it is a very nice feature to have. Perhaps the reason is that it's not as easy to set up as TomTom's. You have to download a voice file and install it in memory, and delete the computer voice. You can't have multiple voices available unless you do some renaming, which could be a big pain. Even so, I ran into problems getting the voice to work, but this may be due to my data connection by which I was sending myself the file. I have gotten these voices to work on Mapopolis 2 and so I have no doubt they will work on the Navcard, but you may have to spend some time doing it. Mapopolis, in a sense, makes it a feature more geared towards tinkerers – you can customize it to your heart's content, but you will have to spend time doing so! Mapopolis also lets you control how verbose you want the prompts. This is a good thing because the normal level would have it telling you maybe five or six times before you reached some turns – warning you that in ½ mile, .3 miles, 300 feet, 200 feet, 100 feet, and so on before you get there. I suppose this is good for when you are very unfamiliar with an area and can give you the reassurance of having and expert who's just very insistent (nagging?) about telling you where to turn. But it is nice to be able to tone this down. And for those who really need hand-holding (or are just masochistic) you can even make it more verbose. TomTom, on the other hand, seems to have the opposite problem. It will usually tell you exactly twice to turn. Once when you are a few hundred yards away, and then again, when you are right at the turn itself. It seems that their most recent version (4.42) has increased the first warning so that you aren't having to scramble as much when you first hear that you have to turn, but it would still be nice to have a little more flexibility in how many times one is alerted or how far in advance.

Points of Interest

"Points of Interest" or "POI's" as they are known in TomTom (or just "Places") in Mapopolis, are markers for various businesses like restaurants, banks, etc., as well as municipal buildings, religious buildings, hospitals, airports, etc., that might be of interest to someone who is traveling. GPS's generally have a database of these that you can interact with and TomTom and Navigator have their own, slightly different sets. With TomTom, one can opt to view these (or not) on the map, and decide which POI categories one wants to see. These are represented as graphical icons, like a knife and fork for a restaurant, a blue H for a hospital, etc. A couple of additional features that TomTom has are very nice. One warns you (with a variety of audible alerts) that you are approaching a specific type of POI. You can even tell it down to the yard how close you have to be to have it alert you. So, you can tell it that you want to be alerted if you come within 500 yards of a gas station, for example. The other feature allows you to create your own custom POI's and even POI categories, with a huge number of icons to pick from. So you could set up, say, a POI category for Wifi hostpots, go online and mark down where all of them are located in a given town.

(TomTom forces you to pick a POI category, after which you can select from individual POI's)

Mapopolis is more limited in its graphical display of POI's (they are just colored dots), and its lack of an ability to turn them on or off, or to add new ones. However, as mentioned, you can, while navigating, click on any of these dots and get additional info – the name anyway - of that POI. If you want to get more information with TomTom, you have to get out of the navigational mode. The other big advantage that Mapopolis has over TomTom here is that one can search for and navigate to a point of interest anywhere in the country in one fairly quick step. I've done this many times with Mapopolis 2 - say I know I'm traveling to a town where we've made reservations at a Holiday Inn, but I don't have the information in front of me. I can simply search for hotels in Podunk, and pick the Holiday Inn from the list that comes up. This is a very useful feature and yet for some reason TomTom makes it much more difficult – something I had to figure out by playing around with menus (there's nothing in the documentation about how to do this). Instead of simply saying "search for X in Y" like Mapopolis, you have to go into the Browse Map mode, manually maneuver to what location you want to look in, click on the cursor position icon button, click "Find Nearby POI," click the type of POI, then finally you get a list to scroll through. Then, once you've selected this POI, TomTom locates it on the map. At this point you have to again hit the cursor position icon button, and this time hit "Navigate there." Maybe there's a faster way, but after playing for a while and reading all the documentation I could find, I wasn't able to figure it out. Yes, you can do this, but unlike so many other procedures where TomTom is extremely quick and intuitive, this sticks out as a real bungled feature!

(As you can see, TomTom displays large graphical icons that you will be able to recognize immediately as a particular type of POI)

(Mapopolis only shows colored dots for POI, but they seem more numerous and you can click on them as you travel to display what they are)

I have no idea how MANY POI's each of these applications have. TomTom specifies "1000's" whereas Mapopolis doesn't say, although I'm sure it's at least equivelent number (it seems like it might be more, but I can't confirm that). These are actually part of NavTeq's and TeleAtlas's data. In terms of organization, TomTom has a total of 43 different categories while Mapopolis has a measly 13. However, that doesn't mean Mapopolis has fewer POI's just fewer categories, so it may not be as easy to pinpoint which category a POI is in. On the other hand, Mapopolisis much more powerful in that you can simply enter a name of a POI that you know should be on the list and not bother with the category. TomTom forces you to choose a category first, and if you don't choose the right one (perhaps it is miscategorized or simply in a different category than YOU would put it in), you will have a much harder time searching for it.


Another key feature of a GPS is the ability to mark a particular location for later reference. Perhaps while driving you happened upon a great scenic spot, or a new store you want to return to, or perhaps you followed a friend to their place. The ability to record this in your GPS for later reference is a nice feature so that you can quickly route to it by name at some point in the future rather than having to find it on a map or type out an address. You set up a favorite by telling the GPS to mark where you are currently located, or by browsing the map and marking a spot manually. TomTom lets you save this as a "Favorite" which you can name whatever you want.

For Mapopolis, the feature is a little less intuitive, but still functional. Basically, you click on the menu button, hit "GeoMark" button, and then are presented with the map and a prompt to click on the spot you want to mark. Once you select your spot, you are presented with a form to fill in an address book entry including a first name, last name, and company name. This will then become entered into the contacts on your Treo with a work address field specified by the GPS, and a custom field as the geographical coordinates of the spot. The problem with this method is that your contacts get cluttered by these entries which may have nothing to do with friends or business associates, or worse are duplicates of entries that are already in your Contacts database.

(Each Geomark in Mapopolis has to have a standard first name and last name, which is then added to your Contacts Database)

("Favorites" in Mapopolis are just recent locations that have been searched for and which are accessible via the upside-down triangle on the bottom menu for quick locating)

In fact, Mapopolis has the added benefit of being able to access your contacts addresses from that application on your Treo, so this would be redundant. What Mapopolis really needs is the ability to have favorites separate from your Contacts like TomTom. That being said, TomTom needs to have an interface to Contacts. Mapopolis also has something called "favorites" but they aren't really the equivalent of favorites in TomTom, rather they are just recently accessed locations that are saved automatically. You can't delete them, rename them, etc., so they aren't nearly as powerful as TomTom's favorites. Also, as with various settings in Mapopolis, in certain circumstances where the phone resets due to instability, these locations are lost.


One of the key features of a GPS is not just the ability to create a route for a trip, but to actually change that route during the trip, even if that change is unintentional. If you make a wrong turn, or intentionally leave the planned route in order to find a gas station or a rest area, or to avoid delays on a horribly backed up highway, you don't want to have to stop and reprogram the entire route. When it comes to rerouting, TomTom definitely has the upper hand. The main issue with Mapopolis's rerouting capabilities is its speed, especially when dealing with longer routes. For a relatively short route of, say, less than 25 miles or so, it's not an issue. The rerouting will take under 10 seconds. However, routes of a couple hundred miles or more could take 30 seconds or more to reroute. At this point it almost makes sense to stop and do the rerouting because by the time the reroute has taken place, you may have missed a turn that the reroute was going to tell you to take, and then the reroute will have to start all over again. This of course won't happen all the time, only in certain circumstances and for longer trips, but it still is a limitation. TomTom, on the other hand, must have a very efficient engine for routing and rerouting. It seems like this rerouting is simply editing the smallest piece of the route possible while keeping the rest the same, thus making it almost instantaneous in most situations.

TomTom also adds much more functionality over simple rerouting. One can calculate an "alternative route," which makes TomTom come up with a slightly different way of getting to your destination. The first time one does this, the route is changed from where you currently are, but you can continue to request an alternate route and additional parts of the route will start to change, usually causing your estimated time to go up as further detours are made. A much more controllable and useful rerouting function, though, is to reroute to simply avoid the current road you're on due to an accident or something else that's causing heavy traffic. This is called "Avoid Roadblock." You can set it to various distances ranging from a probably useless 100 yards up to 3 miles. One can also specify a part of the route one wants to avoid - say a particular highway you know will have construction.


Although I've touched on this in general, I thought I'd speak more directly about the user interface for these GPS apps. In general, I would have to say that TomTom's interface is more user-friendly, faster, and just much better looking than Mapopolis. Of course looks are in the eye of the beholder and I suppose even usability is as well. If you are used to the PalmOS interface with it's buttons and form fields and so on, you may be right at home with Mapopolis. However, I'm pretty familiar with PalmOS and yet I still found it easier to deal with TomTom because it is so user-friendly. Basically it makes everything a touch with your finger on the screen. You can use some of the buttons and keys on the Treo keyboard to do certain things, but in general, it's just easier to deal with the touch screen. Everything is very graphical, as you've seen on the screenshots here - lots of colorful screens large icons.

Mapopolis is similar in that certain things work better by hitting the screen, but others are really meant for using the keyboard. The forms within Mapopolis act the way you would expect most PalmOS applications to act, however the five-way navigation is not fully implemented. You cannot, for example scroll through the main menu using these keys in Mapopolis, and often you the focus within a form doesn't go to the field you would expect, requiring a finger or a stylus to actually activate a given field. Then again, TomTom is even less compliant with normal PalmOS navigation techniques. You can't scroll between individual items in the menus in TomTom and select an item (although you can scroll through different pages) with the navigational keys.


The stability of either of these programs is not up for debate. The problem is that the Treo 650 is a relatively new device and people have had varying degrees of stability with it. Also, if you run a bunch of applications that do things that might challenge the stability, like push email (Chatteremail) or always-live IM (Verichat), this may cause further issues when running these while using a GPS. Even without running these programs, I have had numerous issues with the phone resetting itself or getting extremely sluggish requiring me to reset it myself. When using these programs, resesets for seemingly no reason did happen occasionally, but not very regularly. When using Mapopolis and receiving a call once, I was able to talk for about 15 seconds while Mapopolis actually worked in the background, but then the phone reset itself – I have a feeling that had to do with a Bluetooth issue which I'll explain momentarily. Mapopolis did seem to be a bit less stable in some instances, especially when it came to removing and inserting the SD card. I didn't do anything bad like remove the card while running the program, but sometimes when removing it after I had gotten out of the program, or inserting it to start using it, the phone would reset itself. The other issue around this is that from usage to usage, Mapopolis would often "forget" what I'd set before. In particular, the various settings such as what type of GPS unit I was using, whether I wanted it to resynch with it as soon as I started, whether I wanted to reestablish the last route, etc. Having to reset all of these things is a pain. This didn't happen all the time, of course, but enough to make it annoying. The other thing it would forget is the "favorites" (recent locations), so this just meant I wouldn't have the convenience of such shortcuts and would have reprogram a destination manually when this happened.

Receiving Calls

One feature that is constantly asked in discussion forums is whether you can receive calls while using one of these programs. After all, chances are that on a long (or even short) trip, you will want to or need to be in touch with people – people you are traveling to, or whoever. I'm glad to say that each of these programs does allow you to receive calls and will go back to routing once you're done. Mapopolis simply freezes and lets you choose to answer the call or ignore it. If you answer it, the screen stays on Mapopolis's frozen map. On TomTom, if you choose to answer, it actually switches you out of Navigator and into the phone application, and once you are done with the call, you have to relaunch the program, which will then automatically pick up your route again. As I mentioned, I did have a problem one time with Mapopolis resetting once. What actually happened was that it allowing me to pick up the call, but instead of freezing, it kept working – the map kept moving as I drove. That happened for about ten seconds until it reset. I'm not sure, but this may have had to do with a Bluetooth conflict. I have a Bluetooth headset and when the call came in, it activated it. But apparently my Bluetooth GPS was still working at the same time. The Treo 650 can only communicate with one Bluetooth device at a time, and so this may have been the issue. So if you do use Mapopolis with a Bluetooth GPS, consider getting a wired hands-free unit or simply picking up the handset to talk (or else use a wired GPS receiver).


I'm not sure whether one of these software packages uses more power than the other. My guess is probably not, or at least not a significantly. However, there is a difference in how these programs deal with power in other ways. The TomTom generally doesn't care what power source you are using – it will run the same way whether you have it plugged in or just using battery power. Curiously, TomTom has a battery meter, but for some reason, the only place it is visible while navigating is is in a special status screen that you have to manuever to with three clicks. Not exactly convenient. There's a lot of information that is in the bottom part of the screen under the map when navigating, including how long until the next turn, how much longer the trip will take, how good a signal you have, when the ETA is, etc. While all this info is helpful at certain times, many of them, as I've noted, are not that legible unless you are holding the Treo pretty close to you. Lots of numbers in the same vicinity without any good way of labeling them make them not very useful. It would be much more useful to allow users to customize what to see in these informational areas, and also to colorcode them or do something to make them more discernable from one anoter.

(The Status Screen is the only place you can see a battery meter within the TomTom Navigator program)

(You can see a lot of info in a relatively small space while Navigating in TomTom Navigator, but no battery meter, and it's hard to make out all the information quickly)

When you run Mapopolis, on the other hand, if you aren't plugged into your car's charger port, your screen will go off at the interval specified in the Treo's preferences (the default is 30 seconds). That is unless you change a setting that will let you keep it on for an hour regardless, for which there is a setting. If it is plugged in, the screen will stay on indefinitely. Unfortunately Mapopolis doesn't offer a battery meter anywhere.

As with other items, I think both companies got it partially right here. Optimally you want to have a setting that lets you switch it from not turning off the screen at all to turning it off at the usual interval, and a bunch of ones in between. Some kind of audible alarm to let you know your batter is at ½, ¾, 5/8 of the way done, etc., might also help.


I'm not familiar enough with these companies to say this with any confidence, but it seems like Mapopolis is a bit more responsive to its customers. To be honest, I haven't tried contacting TomTom, and they might be very responsive as well. But I have contacted Mapopolis on a number of occasions (both for this piece and in the past), and they have always been prompt and informative in getting back to me. One might expect this from a smaller company. Then again, Mapopolis was the only game in town for PalmOS users for a while and this did not make them complacent at all in terms of constantly trying to put out a better product. TomTom has a larger number of products, such as a stand-alone device, a GPS Unit, a PocketPC version of their software, and so on. Having to deal with so many different platforms might make it a lot harder logistically to keep communications with their customers regular and efficient. Then again, the fact that they use an identical interface on each of these platforms I'm sure helps. Your perspective may also be different depending on what part of the world you are in. Being a Dutch company means that Europeans will probably be more at home talking to TomTom and dealing with their software, while those from the U.S. may do better with Mapopolis. Then again, it may not matter as long as correspondence is through email and you understand that there's a time difference in play. Mapopolis does have an official bulletin board, but for some reason they don't advertise this (or link to it) on their own website. TomTom puts out an occasional newsletter, but the only kind of group "discussion" is via a "Gallery" where users submit pictures of their TomTom units in practice. I think both companies could do a much better job at communicating with their users. I think bulletin boards are a great feedback mechanism for companies, but I suppose they are also a double-edged sword because unless you get volunteers to manage them, they can take away valuable resources. Also, boards tend to magnify issues that only a few people may be having. More people are apt to post about a problem rather than to just say they aren't having any! But even without a bulletin board, I would expect more newsletter-type communications from these companies, whether they are emailed or posted on their website. The latest "news" on TomTom's site is a is from last October, and Mapopolis doesn't have any news at all. In fact, this is why I didn't know they had made the NavCard available, and it seems like I'm not alone. Many people on the other Treo-related discussion boards are talking a lot about the TomTom unit and comparing it, it seems, to the older Mapopolis 2 because they simply haven't been informed that the NavCard exists. Sure it's right on the front of the Mapopolis Website, but unless you have a reason to go there, you would never know.


There's no doubt that both of these products have many nice features, and also many things that weren't implemented in the best way. In the following table I will try to summarize some of the advantages of each over the other, leaving out features that are basically equivalent:

TomTom StrengthsMapopolis Strengths
Routing and Rerouting SpeedMore useful directions (at least for U.S. drivers)
Rerouting capabilitiesBetter warning system of upcoming turns.
Ease of UseEase of Installation
Small size in main memoryMore reliable Bluetooth GPS connects
Large Selection of Voices and Languages and easy selection of theseVoice uses street and location proper names, albeit with glitchy computer voice.
Holding all settings in memory despite resetsAble to record your own voice prompts
"3-D" Map ViewSet zoom level permanently while navigating
Prettier looking mapsUse of feet instead of yards and more warnings and earlier warnings for turns
More fluid scrolling Customize Map Orientation
Points of interest more visible (graphical)Points of interest clickable (for further info) while navigating
No need to add contacts to mark spots for future reference ("favorites")Integration with Contacts
No need to replace SD card which you might be using for other applicationsCompany more responsive
Will allow you to use only battery powerCan have screen go off when using batteries (to save power)
Ability to add your own points of interest and POI categoriesAbility to search for POI's by name
Larger number of POI cateogiesEasier to navigate to a point of interest outside of current location
Set alerts when close to a given POI categoryCustomize highway preference
Larger Map Display while on a routeLarger Map Display while driving around (no route)
Favorites more flexible than favorites/geomarks in Mapopolis
Seems slightly more stable
Special Directional info only view

Go to Part 2

posted Thursday, 24 February 2005

A visitor made this comment,
You did a very thorough and fair review of the two products. I will just add a few thoughts:

User interface - we are working on a complete redesign of the UI which will be easier and more "finger-friendly".

Routing speed - has improved greatly in our latest beta release, for instance, Norfolk VA to New York NY takes 10 seconds.

3D - we may improve the look of 3D view and add this feature to NavCard.

In summary, thinking about what you have written will help us in continuing to make Mapopolis a better product. Thanks again for the review.

Matt Kuenzel

Matt Kuenzel []

comment added :: 25th February 2005, 12:36 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
This is REALLY helpful - thanks a million, exactly what I want the 650.

What is less clear to me is this:

You review (mostly) the mapping software - great.

But I would deeply appreciated more thoughts on the linkage to a bluetooth GPS receiver, etc.

Does it, in principle, NOT matter which one you get as long as the software (TomTom, Map.) is compatible with the 650?

Not matter only in the sense that all will work, just that some are technically better?

DP []

comment added :: 25th February 2005, 13:50 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
DP, that, I guess, will have to wait for another review. I don't know that much about receivers except that there are wired and bluetooth ones and different chipsets which offer faster sattelite linkage and perhaps more accuracy in positioning. The TomTom is good, but as I said, I believe they have just started selling ones that have an even newer chipset. would probably be a great place to research this stuff, but I haven't done so yet. As far as which unit you use, some people have complained that certain receivers (iTrex comes to mind) don't seem to work with TomTom, but I can't point you to any definitive list of proven compatibility - other than what I've tested these with (the TomTom BT receiver and a Haikom wired GPS Mouse receiver).

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comment added :: 25th February 2005, 13:55 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
By the way, why does the Mapopolis site only list the 600, not the 650, for use with the Navcard?

DP []

comment added :: 25th February 2005, 14:02 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Hey guys:

Something you didn't touch on that I'm curious about - there are situations where I want to route to GPS coordinates (I do some search and rescue stuff). I know that Mapopolis doesn't offer this feature because that's what I use for routing right now, but I saw on one of your screenshots that in TomTom Navigator there was a "GPS Position" button in the Route To... section. Logically (to me) this would mean routing to Lat./Long. positions. Is that actually what it does?


Yes, in theory, you can use any GPS receiver you want, provided that the software works with your PDA, and the GPS works with your PDA. Generally speaking, all the Bluetooth GPS units use NMEA protocol, which is an industry-standard type deal, to communicate with other devices. I personally have a Delorme BlueLogger GPS unit, and I use it with Mapopolis and it works fine for me (better than with Delorme software, in fact!).

FED []

comment added :: 25th February 2005, 14:22 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
DP again:

As I understand from talking to the guys at Mapopolis, they don't officially list the Treo650 as being compatible with NavCard because they had the same issue as this review - the Treo650 drops Bluetooth connections to the GPS when you get an incoming call because it goes looking for a Bluetooth headset. It WILL work, but it's not perfect, so they don't officially support it. That's how I understand the story, anyhow.

FED []

comment added :: 25th February 2005, 14:24 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
FED, actually, it's not what you hoped for. It's to navigate to where your PGS position is, which I don't understand, unless it's like leaving yourself virtual breadcrumbs so that you can return to the same spot you left from? TomTom's userguide isn't very helpful on this - doesn't explain what you would use it for.

However, you're actually wrong about Mapopolis! You can navigate to specific coordinates at least in one way - you can create a contact in your Contacts database and use the first custom field to put the coordinates in NXX.XX.XXX WXX.XX.XXX format (not sure what that's called). Or I should say at least that is what Mapopolis does when it creates Geomarks, so even if you can't do this yourself, you could create a Geomark in Mapopolis and then just edit that custom field to read the coordinates you wanted...

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comment added :: 25th February 2005, 14:33 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I'm trying to decide between these two programs myself to use one on my Treo 650. This review is very timely for me! I think it is fair and balanced.

I definitely like the TomTom user interface and overall map look & feel much better, but I am still leaning towards Mapopolis due to the better routing and the support I see Lamar giving on, should I need the latter. I've written to TomTom and although they did get back to me, it took about three days before I heard from them.

The one thing I'd really like to change in Mapopolis is the position and marker for your current location. It would be much better if it was close to the bottom of the map screen while navigating to give better forward visibility. I'd also like to see the route highlighted with something other than the red chevrons.

Do you know if you can cancel navigation with both of these programs? I've bee playing a little with Mapopolis 2.3 and I don't know how to clear the route once I decide I no longer wnat to navigate. With this and other mapping software I've sometimes gotten to a parking lot that is not quite where the software thinks I'm going. I then go on without turning off the unit and it keeps wanting to route me back. I'm sure TomTom would do the same. With iGuidance (a PocketPC app) I was able to cancel navigation.

Henry []

comment added :: 25th February 2005, 16:41 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
To answer a couple questions:

You can cancel your route quite easily with TomTom.

I've been using TomTom Navigator for a month or two now (with a Zire, not a 650) and I have seen no way to enter GPS coordinates directly. The "GPS position" button means *your* GPS position and is only enabled when you're using the map to find something (you can find your current location on the map).

Also, here's the manual in case that's helpful.

Here's my mini review of the TomTom/Palm bundle: it's pretty lame compared with what I imagined a Palm-based GPS system could do (like, I don't know, tell me how to get to an address in my #$(%#$* address book, or remember that I go to work every morning, or let me tell it where I'm going before it figures out where I am so I don't have to sit around for 30 seconds waiting before I start driving off, or turn on night colors when the clock says it's night, or have a #$((*@# Mac installer, or...), but it does work and it has saved me tons of time and aggrivation in getting lost.


comment added :: 26th February 2005, 00:42 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I am confused about (at least!) one issue with the NavCard. According to the Mapopolis website, virtually any NavCard map collection, or the entire U.S., are described as having 16 MEGABYTE "free memory rquirements."

Well, the 650 only has 22 megs, and I don't think there is any possibility of freeing up 16 megs unless you deleted 3/4 of the system applications (which you can't).

According to what you write above, however, this seems not to be the case. You write:

"The first time it installs some files into your Treo's main memory (subsequent insertions just cause it to start right up) but all the maps are maintained on the card itself, which is necessary for a device with such a limited amount of main memory. While this is process is very easy, there are some downsides to the approach. One is that the files that it installs in memory take up a pretty good chunk of space – over 3MB! With the Treo 650's memory issues, this is significant!"

Well, 3 megabytes of 650 "memory" wouldn't be that difficult to achieve, but there does seem to be a conflict between what you write and what the Mapopolis website suggests.

Can you clarify?


DP []

comment added :: 26th February 2005, 09:38 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
DP, I'm sorry I can't be TOO helpful, because I don't understand myself why they wrote 16MB of required space or what they mean by it. I had less than that when I installed it, and they couldn't be talking about external memory because the card IS the external memory. So I'm as baffled as you. However, in practice I was using it with 11MB or sometimes 9MB, so it works find and installs fine in less than 16MB...

Visit me @

comment added :: 26th February 2005, 09:50 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Yes, this is baffling! I'm curious, though, why you wrote 3 megabytes to install files? Or is that just hard-copying of files, not some other kind of "room" necessary to run the program?

This is, however, disturbing because on the Treo 650, even 9 or 11 megabytes is getting quite close to impossible to achieve, unless you put nothing else on the phone but a couple of third-party apps. I have SnapperMail, for instance, but even completely deleting Versamail will not free-up meanginful amounts of space from the original 22-23.

Maybe Mapopolis will answer an email!

I'll try.

David Pike []

comment added :: 26th February 2005, 10:34 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
David, The programs that Mapopolis installs in main memory, the Mapopolis program, and the computer voice module take up 3MB. Actually, it's more like 3.5MB. Anyway, I have a bunch of things running on my stem, including Ptunes, Verichat, Chatteremail (with around 1000 messages), Handmark Express, Documents To Go, etc, and I have 11MB free. But I put as much as I can on an external memory card. As I mentioned in the review, when you load the NavCard you lose any of these programs that you have transferred to another SD card, of course. But then again, when you're driving with a GPS you probably won't need access to much else aside from the GPS program and maybe the phone. If you DO need access, you can simply remove the NavCard and replace it with your external SD card you've been using to store programs, and then put the NavCard back once you are done. It's not particularly convenient, of course, but it isn't impossible...

Visit me @

comment added :: 26th February 2005, 10:47 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Levi, that is, of course, the trick, isn't it? You probably must put much of what you think you won't need while driving on a separate SD card to keep as much space as possible free for the NavCard. Right you are, not terribly convenient, but... It seems to me, though, that the advantages of the NavCard being used this way outweigh the inconvenience.

I'm less clear about whether all of this would function substantialy differently on a Treo 650 if the standard individual maps approach were taken, with all of them for the U.S. put on a separate SD card. Wouldn't it really be the case that, when using these maps, Mapopolis has to transfer what's needed to "Ram" anyway?

Thanks for the clarification on the 3 - 3.5 megs.

I'm sure this is clear from your review, but confirm again, if you will, that you were experimenting with a Treo 650, and that the only problem you encountered was the business of dropping GPS when a phone call came in (but that the connection could be easily reestablished?).

I do appreciate all your valuable info!!! I'm still trying to determine what kind of GPS to get (I understand them poorly), and am "fixating" on these new standard, SiRF III, which it seems to me from Mapopolis' site works as routinely as the other standard.

David Pike []

comment added :: 26th February 2005, 11:21 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,

Yes, I was using a Treo 650. The instability I noticed (that was different from the TomTom) was when taking a call on bluetooth headeet (taking a call without the bluetooth headset seems to work fine), and sometimes when either removing the NavCard or exiting the program. In general it was not a big issue. But as far as "dropping GPS" - no, it doesn't drop the GPS signal if a phone call comes in as long as you're not trying to use a BT headset. At least from what I recall, when not using a BT headset, after hanging the phone up, it picked right up again, although there might have been a momentary pause to figure out exactly where it was...

Regarding memory, the Treo 650 and 600's memory function identically as far as I know, except you get effectively less free main memory using the 650 due to the larger allocation size. But as far as the actual function of how memory works - both main and external - I believe it's the same. The Treo 650 is of course faster due to its faster processor, and so that helps a great deal. The programs I run off my external SD card feel like they are running at the same speed more or less than those running from main memory. It could very well be that the PalmOS doesn't actually "run" things from external memory, but uses some kind of buffer or cache intermediary, but I don't know enough about this to be able to tell you one way or another. In any case, the Treo 650 is supposed to get unreliable or flakey in it operation when it gets too low in memory, and this is why I've been extra obsessive about putting as much as possible on the card that will actually run on it.

I think you can't go wrong with Sirf II, which is what I have, but I don't know what the advantages are of Sirf III. All of this is very much advanced from my first GPS, the Garmin, which often would take a few minutes to get a satellite lock, had no turn by turn directions - although you could actually program your own routes manually, but this was a big chore!

Visit me @

comment added :: 26th February 2005, 12:05 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Great information, Levi, much appreciated - you are not leaving very many questions open! That's a very, very important clarification on the dropping GPS: when taking a call on a bluetooth headset! I've never used one for calls, and doubt I ever will, so this is pretty unimportant to me.

Do you have any sort of recommendation as to where, reliably, to purchase BT GPS units?

These Sirf III's (didn't know there was a Sirf II) seem to exist in unattainable locations....

David Pike

comment added :: 26th February 2005, 12:53 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
The BT GPS Unit that comes with the TomTom is Sirf II and it's also available seperate from the software, I believe. I'm sure there are other similar receivers out there but I didn't research them too much because the TomTom was bundled and so I figured it would work best with their software and it was a lot easier to find the bundle than the software alone...

Visit me @

comment added :: 26th February 2005, 16:48 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment, is probably a good place to start if you are looking for a decent GPS receiver. He has reviews of a whole bunch of them, even though the site is a little hard to navigate, and the forums are awesome. They should get you started out in the right direction...


comment added :: 27th February 2005, 11:31 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Just want to say that it amazes me that people like you do such helpful reviews for people like us. Thank you so much! What a wonderful help this was!

Bob []

comment added :: 27th February 2005, 18:37 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Wow, Bob, and I didn't even have to pay you too much for that one! ;-) Seriously, thanks, I'm just happy to provide something that people find useful and may save them some time in doing lots of research. I've been the beneficiary of such pieces in the past so I know how much time and energy they can save. Plus I am just a gadget freak, like most of those who would read or write such pieces. But it does take quite a bit of time. Luckily right now I have that time to spare. I only hope I can convince other companies to lend me stuff to review. This was the first time that a company responded positively to such a request, so some more kudos to Mapopolis for being willing to let their product be reviewed by an unknown quantity up against other competing software.

Visit me @

comment added :: 27th February 2005, 22:33 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Excellent review article, explaining the intricacies of using the different mapping software and their quirks. I was looking for exactly this information and reading this article has enlightened me.

As for the Sirf II vs. III, says that III is much better, and personally, I am awaiting Sirf III based GR-236 = a BT + G-mouse reciever from (launching in Mar 2005), although the Globalsat BT-338 is nearly here (

Its an exciting time for GPS enthusiasts! Hurray!!


comment added :: 28th February 2005, 20:12 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
WRT the Mapopolis 16MB memory requirement ...

I believe this is required by the app when it reads map data from the card and stores pertinent information for working on the current route and/or displayed map.

If you ever have your Palm crash when Mapopolis is active you will notice that your free RAM is less than you'd expect. Re-opening the app will cause the previous temp file to be deleted.


comment added :: 3rd March 2005, 06:17 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Great job in comparing... I am going to try Mapopolis 9 day trial to see if it will work ok to send back (before even opening) a Cobra NavOne 3000 unit. That being said, I have a Treo 650 and it does not look like I can hook up a Earhtmat Gps antenna but rather I need to purchase a BT antenna. Where can I get one and how much are they?

Robert Wagner []

comment added :: 10th March 2005, 09:16 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Robert, there are many places to buy bluetooth GPS units. As was mentioned in one of the comments above, a good place to start is Good luck!

Visit me @

comment added :: 10th March 2005, 09:22 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Thanks... I was just getting confused as to what I actually have to buy to use with the Treo... I am searching and finding BT receivers, BT antennas and all kinds of other variations that make it somewhat difficult to purchase the correct accessory for my Treo. Thanks

Robert Wagner []

comment added :: 10th March 2005, 09:44 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
I'm not sure what you mean by a "BT Antenna" but it's not something you need with the Treo 650. All you need is a BT GPS receiver, although theoretically you could use a non-BT, wired one - you would just need to make sure that it had a connector that would fit into the 650.

Visit me @

comment added :: 10th March 2005, 10:02 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Levi, a question for you you might not know the answer to. Were I to get the NavCard, would there be anything you can think of to prevent me from copying the entire contents onto a 2 gig SD card, which would also have a lot of other stuff unrelated to NavCard (in other directories) on it? It would be nice to not have to juggle SD cards all the time.

DP []

comment added :: 11th March 2005, 15:52 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
David, my ASSUMPTION is that it would be fine because it's for personal use - as long as you don't go and sell the original NavCard while keeping the copied files on another card! Then again, maybe there's some copy-protection stuff on the card I don't know about. Best thing would be to call Mapopolis and ask them about it. They are extemely nice and understanding and if there is copy-protection, you might even be able to send them your 2GB card and then they would install the software directly on that, who knows? Anyway, email them - they respond very quickly.

Visit me @

comment added :: 11th March 2005, 15:57 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
That's a good suggestion, Levi - aside from the fact that I NEVER use pirated or copied software.

I just reread your entire review (the fourth time?), and I'm now considering possibly even getting the TomTom package because I like what you write about the GPS receiver (and I find it very difficult to locate reliable sources of other BT receivers that I would feel confident about). Doing this would in any event set me up for a while, and then when a somewhat newer NavCard version comes out, and Mapopolis supports the 650, I can always consider reverting to the NavCard. Since I have a 1 gig SD card already, putting most of the maps I need on it from TomTom would be easy enough.

It would be nice to try out a sample TomTom map, but you can't do it. Your screen shots, however, tend to suggest to me that I like their maps better than the general appearance of the NavCard.

As usual, I appreciate your information and impressions.

David Pike

DP []

comment added :: 11th March 2005, 16:25 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I have just ordered the TomTom Navigator 2004 to use with my Treo 650 (I already have) and my I.Teck BT reciever coming the 16th (same day at TomTom). Now, with the comments about TomTom 5 on the internet, what do you think will happen for the 2004 uers (free update?, can it run on a Treo 650? etc)? Appreciate your thoughts... thanks again.

Robert Wagner []

comment added :: 12th March 2005, 08:11 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Does anyone know what THIS sentence means on the TomTom site regarding compatability (software update):

Treo 650 (Software update required) , Tungsten T3 , Tungsten T5 (Software update required) , Zire 72

Robert, where did you get the "L.TeckBT", and where is there information about TomTom 5? I'll look myself now, but I hadn't seen that.

DP []

comment added :: 12th March 2005, 08:16 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
By the way, I see the TomTom 5 now on their own site - don't know how I missed this yesterday. And having just ordered it from Amazon, I'm a bit angry at myself...

DP []

comment added :: 12th March 2005, 08:20 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I think I'll send the TomTom back to Amazon - apparently I can, and wait to get the TomTom 5, though it's unclear to me whether it's actually been released yet.

DP []

comment added :: 12th March 2005, 08:32 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Guys, I'm looking at the TomTom page here:

And it says "PalmOne Treo 650 (Software update required)"

This indicuates to me that it may just be a software upgrade. Again, the best way to determine this, without jumping to conclusions, is simply to calle the company, or email them. They have an 800 number, but I'm not sure whether they are open over the weekend...

Visit me @

comment added :: 12th March 2005, 08:46 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Levi, I think it's probably just a reference to the "updated" CD's the list at the bottom of the products page, though these updated CD's may - I would think - already be shipping with the regular Navigator 2004 by now.

What TomTom 5 is all about is less clear to me. Obviously, a different GPS unit, which seems attractive, but whether the software is substantially improved over the already existing "2004" I don't know.

Well worth calling on Monday, though, and I will. Will post here what they tell me, if they answer the phone.

David Pike []

comment added :: 12th March 2005, 09:08 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I see more stuff about the updated CD's, which answers some of the questions, I guess, but still, I'll call TomTom on Monday.

I'm now much more interested in returning the 2004 to Amazon and waiting a bit to get this "5" version.

David Pike []

comment added :: 12th March 2005, 09:26 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Good review. A few comments you might want to incorporate (I was a long time Mapopolis user who switched to TomTom a few months ago).

1. TomTom has a battery display that kicks in when the battery gets low (it alternates with the signal strength display). It turns yellow, then orange, then red as the battery level drops.

2. While TomTom doesn't have the "avoid highways" feature, it has something much better. You go to "reroute" and tell it which part of your route to avoid...all highways, or just that stretch of 101 where you know there is traffic. It's saved my butt a couple of times (you can also say "just avoid the next 3 miles") when we've run into accident-related traffic. Pretty key.

3. TomTom is shooting themselves in the foot pre-announcing Navigator 5 without also announcing an upgrade program. Nav 5 isn't even out yet and won't be for awhile. TomTom offered a $50 upgrade for Nav 3 to Nav 2004 users, I'm sure they'll do something similar for Nav 2004 to Nav 5. I wouldn't let it hold anybody up from buying.

4. Mapopolis has a huge incompatibility with the Treo 650 in that it loads maps into memory to work with. Any map over 12 MB or so crashes the 650. I couldn't use it in LA for example since the LA County map is over that size. Perhaps it is related to what else I had loaded.

Perhaps it's how I use it (in the car), but the ability to enter destinations and get routes in seconds with TomTom rather than minutes with Mapopolis sold me instantly, so I'm biased :-)

Doug Kozlowsky

comment added :: 14th March 2005, 12:28 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Thanks a lot for the excellent review. My question is: Does the TomTom Navigator 2004
(Wired GPS for Palm) work with the Treo 600? Thanks! alot.


John Yang

comment added :: 15th March 2005, 01:07 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
John, as I mentioned in the review, I did get it to work on the Treo 600, but I found I had to turn off the phone when using it or else it would constantly reset...

Visit me @

comment added :: 15th March 2005, 07:17 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
As I indicated, I prematurely ordered the Nav. 4 TomTom version from Amazon, but am now going to send it back and wait for 5 - I want the newer BT receiver. However, because of the way it was packed, I was able to take out the BT Receiver, get a BT connection with the 650, but it will not start the GPS, try as I might. Maybe the battery has to be more fully charged. So I'll do that and try later. But this is the kind of problem I don't have time to mess with, and there isn't, effectively, one word of instructions in the box as to why it doesn't, apparently, get a satellite lock. If anyone has any idea, let me know. I would like to have at least gotten a sense of that before sending it back to Amazon and waiting for 5 (I'm not in a hurry.)

DP []

comment added :: 15th March 2005, 14:14 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
I agree, it's really dumb that TomTom has absolutely no instructions regarding their GPS! But luckily it is not that hard to figure out. What I sometimes do if it doesn't seem to be getting a lock is just to exit Navigator and then go back in, or turn the GPS on and off, or both. But yes, the GPS has a limited battery life, so make sure you've charged it - or just plug it into the charger and try with it plugged in. I know this may sound stupid, but also make sure that it's actually ON. If it's not flashing blue, it's either off or it's battery life is too low...

Visit me @

comment added :: 15th March 2005, 14:21 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Levi, thanks, as always - I was just hoping, before returning this, to get one brief sense of how it operated, and do one test with a local country trial version Mapopolis map. (Maybe that's the problem, but it shouldn't be: that I'm trying this with a Mapopolis map.) Blue light is on, I do get a connection to the phone -no problem, but "Start GPS" doesn't - start GPS.

I've tried it outside, clear lines of sight, and only 1-2 inside the house plugged in since I assumed it wouldn't get a lock inside the house (maybe I'm right). Will experiment some more.

It really ought to start up, trying the kind of basic things you suggested.

David Pike []

comment added :: 15th March 2005, 14:48 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
By the way, the few instructions TomTom does include about the BT (blinking lights, etc.) are no intelligible.

In any case, I get two blinking lights - BT blue (and a trusted connection to the 650), but also blinking green. Green, from the "manual," seems to indicate a lock, but perhaps it should be solid green? Who knows. In any case, I've continued trying multiple times in multiple locations, but no luck.

David Pike []

comment added :: 15th March 2005, 15:19 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
anyone has any opinions on the pricing structure between mapopolis and tomtom? as I understand, the mapopolis you purchase only supports updates up to a year, and beyond that you have to pay the full amount to renew to get new releases. how does the tomtom pricing work? how long can you get free updates for? and do you need to pay to upgrade?


comment added :: 30th March 2005, 01:37 GMT-05
anonymous user made this comment,
it's me again. one more question, is it true that if you purchase tomtom, you can use it both on Palm and PocketPC? (I have both a pocketpc and a palm) or is it either or? I know for mapopolis you have to purchase it separately.
comment added :: 30th March 2005, 02:17 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
George, TomTom doesn't have a clearly set policy as far as I can tell about upgrades. Some were able to upgrade for free, or perhaps it was $50 from an older version to Navigator 2004. Navigator 5 is just coming out and TomTom first said it would be a free upgrade to current users, but then retracted that and we are still waiting on something difinitive. As for Mapopolis, I'm not aware of any one-year limit on upgrades, at least for the Navcard. At least for their regular Mapopolis program that you download, it's not the program you pay for but the maps. You download these maps as many times as you want for a year and if you want to keep downloading them after a year you have to pay more. It's like a subscription fee to get new maps. But there's nothing stopping you just downloading all the maps and using them for several years. Some of the data may not be up to date, but most of it won't have changed.

Regarding TomTom, you buy it either for Palm or PocketPC. They are two seperate products.

Visit me @

comment added :: 30th March 2005, 08:26 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I've been a Mapopolis user for about a year and a half. However, IMHO Mapopolis hasn't really added any enhancements in quite sometime that make navigation easier, and since they have now released a CardOnly version with less features (ie sans 3d) I doubt they will. Also, the irrelavant constant 'continue' prompts mask real distance and directional info.

I'm looking forward to the release of TomTom Navigator 5..and will probably purchase it based on the screenshots and reviews mentioned above.

Thanks for a great review.


comment added :: 30th March 2005, 14:02 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Does anyone know exactly when Navigator 5 is coming out? Their press release states possibly May 2005. Also, it seems from talk here that it might be more for the European releases rather than the US one. Does anyone have more info on this? Thanks.



comment added :: 31st March 2005, 17:08 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Great review, but one inportant difference I didn't see mentioned is that the Mapopolis SD card has the entire country on it. No loading sections or corridors along your route. I know the benefits of this are minimal in practice, but it seems like a nice feature to have. Probably explains the long route calculation times, since it is capable of navigating from NY to LA...

George Tokarski []

comment added :: 9th April 2005, 14:50 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
George, you can probably load 80% of the maps if not 100% with TomTom if you have a 1GB card (which is the size Mapopolis uses. It would take a little while to do this, but then again, you really only have to do it once...

Visit me @

comment added :: 9th April 2005, 16:26 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
After email, I got the following response:

TomTom Navigator 5 will be available as a free upgrade for all new Navigator 2004 customers who purchase their software within sixty days of the Navigator 5 release date. Navigator 5 will begin shipping in mid-May, if you purchase the software today you will be eligible for the free upgrade. If you have any further questions please let us know.


USA Info

Hope that helps..


comment added :: 11th April 2005, 13:41 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
A comment on the address inaccuracies:

Every mapping dataset there is stores addresses by associating a range of addresses with a given road segment. e.g. a certain stretch of "Main Street" in "Smallville, KS" will have an address range of 1-99. That is, at one end of that particular stretch is 1 Main Street, and at the other end is 99 Main Street. If the actual locations of these addresses are not evenly spaced, then there will be inaccuracies in determining where on a street an address is, because the software will do a basic linear interpolation along the length of that street segment.

There's no way to increase accuracy in these situations without splitting streets into smaller sections, which will increase map size.

Some datasets are unfortunately highly inaccurate in this regard and have range data that is WAY off. For example, my road's street range in the TIGER/Line dataset from the US Census Bureau is 1-99 when it is really 1-25 or so.

Accuracy of the street segment endpoints and shape points is far more critical than the accuracy of the streetrange info though, and even the free TIGER/Line dataset does a very good job in this arena.

Andy Dodd

comment added :: 11th April 2005, 14:07 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Good review. The only gripe I would have about it is that you say that Mapopolis is more responsive, and yet admit that you never contacted TomTom! How can you compare then?


comment added :: 12th April 2005, 16:57 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
More on TomTom 5 is here (compatible devices, enhancement, availability)
5 support


comment added :: 12th April 2005, 20:09 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I just bought TomTom, I am very happy with it. I am glad I did not pay extra cash to get it in my new car. I get a connection without any problems to the reciever. The only difficulty I had was activating the product, but I contacted them and they fix my problem. The only feature I would like would be for it to interact with the contacts.


comment added :: 16th April 2005, 13:32 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Very good review.......1 question....With Mapopolis can I enter the first part of the address i.e "1500 washington st" then enter the zip code and it find the address, I find it a real pain to put the whole address in.......I know its lazy....oh well.


comment added :: 21st April 2005, 17:41 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Mike, I'm pretty sure the answer to your question is no. If you're entering an address, you always enter the city name, then the street name, I don't think zip codes are ever a part of it...

Visit me @

comment added :: 21st April 2005, 19:11 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Love all of the dialogue. Lots of good info and very helpful in my decision making. Need to know the best reccomendation for using my 650 in a backpacking environment where road do not exsist.

KIAmerica []

comment added :: 23rd April 2005, 06:57 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I have a Treo 650 w/Bluetooth capability and I am considering purchasing Tom Tom but would like to it better to get the wired GPS receiver rather then the BT (because I know a wired solution is probably faster than wireless BT and is wired more stable,and longer lasting(no charging involved) and more effective when I have to make and receive phone calls during traveling) also would I still be able to charge my Treo if I used a wired GPS receiver.And if the wired GPS is better would they offer it with TOM TOM 5 which I am waiting for to be released.And does anyone know of the best GPS receiver to buy or should I just get the one that comes bundled with TOM TOM's s/w.It would be much appreciated if anyone can shed some light on these questions.Thank You.

Dominic []

comment added :: 24th April 2005, 01:01 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Hi: Very nice comments. Just wondering if anyone has got a USB style GPS unit to work with TOMTOM or MAPOPOLIS with either a Treo 600 or Treo 650?

jeff []

comment added :: 30th May 2005, 23:26 GMT-05
King made this comment,
so TREO650 is only compatible with the Tripcard right? The trip card doesnt offer rerouting, so does that mean i have to do everything over if i miss a turn or some other way. Please help!
comment added :: 26th June 2005, 18:44 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Nope. If you read the review, you saw that I was able to get the Navcard working on my 650. Not perfectly all the time, but it was possible.
comment added :: 26th June 2005, 20:57 GMT-05 ::
monkeyboy made this comment,
mapopolis find feature will cause treo 650 to crash when using find feature after the rom update on gsm phones - communicating with mapopolis has provided no solutions - has anyone tried tom tom on a treo 650 on gsm network after rom update to 1.13 ??
comment added :: 2nd July 2005, 19:38 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
I have. For the most part it has worked ok, however, there was one point where it reset the phone and every time I went back into Navigator it kept doing this. I finally fixed the issue by clearing the route as soon as I got in. I think the problem was trying to do a reroute on the fly from a different spot. This only happened once, though, and I've done similar things without the issue cropping up, so it seems it was just a fluke. I haven't done tons of things with it to really test it out with the new firmware, but at least for basic stuff it seems fine...
comment added :: 2nd July 2005, 20:23 GMT-05 ::
monkeyboy made this comment,
I did not understand your reply - are you saying tom tom works with the rom update for gsm phones or that mapopolis works with the rom update or both - I am having the handheld crash everytime the find feature is used with mapopoplis. Do not have tom tom software but may have to purchase if mapopolis does not work out Please clarify thnks
comment added :: 4th July 2005, 11:34 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Monkeyboy, I was responding to your last question - "has anyone tried tom tom on a treo 650 on gsm network after rom update to 1.13 ??" I also mention "Navigator" by name, which is what TomTom calls it's product. TomTom is the company's name. Mapopolis's product is called Navcard, not Navigator. I know all this can get confusing! Sorry if it wasn't clear.
comment added :: 4th July 2005, 12:09 GMT-05 ::
monkeyboy made this comment,
Thanks for the clarification - I'm having fits with the mapopolis product - will purchase the tom tom product and see how it goes. right now the 2004 version is obtainable - the tom tom 5 on their website is not available as yet - are you running the 2004 product with 8 disks ?? Thanks again
comment added :: 4th July 2005, 17:29 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
I'm pretty sure the 2005 version is available - check Amazon. This review was for the 2004 version which I have. There is supposed to be an upgrade becoming available for 2004 users, but we haven't heard anything about this in a while, so I'm starting to worry!
comment added :: 4th July 2005, 21:12 GMT-05 ::
Meir F made this comment,
  • Thanks for the wonderful review. I have the Treo 650, and I just purchased the Holux 236 GPS receiver (I haven't received it yet).(By the way, do you have any info on whether the Holux 236 is good or not?).

  • I really have two questions. Firstly, can I buy the TomTom program by itself without the receiver, since I a already purchased one.

  • In addition, I have a question about Mapopolis. You said that the Navcard works with the Treo 650. On their website they say that only the Tripcard does. Should I have any problems if try to use the Navcard. What are the advantages between the Navcard and the Tripcard anyway? Also, for both the Navcard and the Tripcard, their Website says that you need 16 MB of internal memory. You stated that you only need a little over 3MB of internal memory because it keeps the rest of the info on the SD card. Can you please clear up this issue for me.

  • Sorry for all the questions. Thank you

comment added :: 5th July 2005, 11:10 GMT-05
monkeyboy made this comment,
I have the holux 236 bluetooth receiver - it works well - if you have a gsm phone - try out the mapopolis software before buying - the find feature is crashing my handheld - mapopolis support has not found a solution for me as yet. According to them cdma phones work
comment added :: 5th July 2005, 12:22 GMT-05
Dave Heymann made this comment,
It sounds like the TomTom is the way to go for the Treo 650. I have two questions: (1) Where can you buy TomTom Navigator5. Every site shows 2004 only. (2) Is there such a thing as a Bluetooth GPS reciever that allows you to turn off the bluetooth and plug it into the Treo when you want to use your Bluetooth headset?
comment added :: 6th July 2005, 16:16 GMT-05
Meir F. made this comment,
Has anyone ever tried the "Mapopolis Navigator for Palm OS"? It is a CD with the Program and the maps on it. I was wondering if I could use it with my Treo 650 via Bluetooth paired with my Holux 236? Does anyone have any info? Thanks
comment added :: 12th July 2005, 11:23 GMT-05
Wayne made this comment,
Purchased TomTom Nav 5 & installed application on Treo650. (took 4MB) Bluetooth & map work but no voice. I keep getting "Unable to create handheld database. SyncCreateDB returned 4019. Requested command not supported." I now want to delete files from Treo and install on SD card. Do you know the associated file names to delete as there is no one file called nav 5 or TomTom. Thanks.
comment added :: 17th July 2005, 16:32 GMT-05
Wayne made this comment,
Figured out how to delete program from Treo 650 and got back my 4MB. Reinstalled on SD card and everything works great. I have voice.
comment added :: 18th July 2005, 19:20 GMT-05
monkeyboy made this comment,
got tom tom navigator 5 cannot get past the preferences screen to get device code to activate - have it on the pda - Wayne - how did you delete it from the hand held and how did you install it on the sd card - the option of installing on the sd card is not on the install CD.

Or can anyone tell me how to get past the preferences screen and to the program proper on the start up wizard thanks

comment added :: 27th July 2005, 16:01 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
monkeyboy, if you don't get an answer here, you might want to check out's forums (bluetooth forum in particular) where a lot of TomTom users are. Also, you might actually think of calling TomTom itself. I've heard they can actually be helpful with these things. ;-)
comment added :: 27th July 2005, 16:08 GMT-05 ::
monkeyboy made this comment,
Thanks - somehow I got it to work - not sure what I did except to re install application from the disk then remove and insert sd card a few times. The program works fine - way faster then Mapopolis and does not crash the handheld. I bought the tom tom gps blue tooth receiver also. My previous one the Holux 236 seems more sensative and aquires the satelites faster. Once you get past the activation frustrations Tom Tom is the way to go. By the way Mapopolis never resolved my problems that were posted earlier and they stopped returning emails.
comment added :: 29th July 2005, 11:37 GMT-05
Scott made this comment,
Thanks for a really great review. I'm going to be placing an order for a GPS system for my Treo 650 tonight.
comment added :: 29th July 2005, 23:50 GMT-05 ::
Dave made this comment,
I am having trouble loading the app and maps onto my Treo 650. I got the app loaded once, but maps wouldn't load due to memory. So I did a hard reset. Now I have 18.9M of memory available, but each time I try to load the TT5 app, I get hotsync error and it says to check memory. Is this not enough free memory? Should I try loading it to a card instead? I can't wait to get it working!
comment added :: 18th August 2005, 06:51 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Dave, you'll never fit the maps in the main memory! You should delete TomTom and any TomTom related files on your Treo, then reinstall, but select the card install. The best way to do this is also to install everything at once, meaning that when you select the app install and it says "now hotsync", you just click ok without hotsyncing, and go back and tell it to install the maps, then the voices, and when you are done selecting all the things you want to install (for example multiple voices), you finally do the hotsync and it will install everything in one shot. Unfortunately TomTom does not have the most streightforward installation process and I'm still dealing with some quirks in my hotsyncs that I think are due to it, but it is a very nice GPS app...
comment added :: 18th August 2005, 08:09 GMT-05 ::
Andy made this comment,
I'm still getting the "Unable to create handheld database. SyncCreateDB returned 4019." error. I've installed TomTom Nav 5 to the SD card, but when I tried to install the first map I got this error. Now the failed install is taking up 100MB+ on my 512MB SD card and I can't see it to delete it or fix the problem. Subsequently I did manage to install a new voice and a different map, but I don't want to "lose" that much memory. Any thoughts??
comment added :: 18th August 2005, 15:42 GMT-05
dan made this comment,
I just got TomTom Navigator 5 to work with Palm Treo 650 with Holux GPSlim 236, and a 1GB of SD card installed through Powerbook G4 running Panther. You need the Mac specific Conduit found here ht tp:// to install the application in Mac OS X. This should be placed in the directory /Library/Application\ Support/Palm/Conduits folder of your system.

Here are some tips I'd like to share with you guys which are not so obvious:

* Reformat the SD card to make sure it does not have anything else on it before beginning installation.

* Install application first, then maps

* To install larger maps, do not use hotsync - it will take too long. Instead, remove the SD card from the Palm Treo and place it in a USB reader and hook up to your computer. Then launch the Tomtom setp program, select Tomtom GO, select Other location , then select the SD connected through your USB port. This is probably 50 times faster than hotsync

* If for some reason the BT link between the Palm and third party GPS is lost, reset by remove batteries from both units, wait for a couple of minutes, and then start over again.

This should save you time and trouble.

comment added :: 31st August 2005, 16:38 GMT-05
brent made this comment,
Some negative news with TomTom.

I just bought TomTom Nav 5 last night, but I can't activate my maps because their support site was always down this evening...and I couldn't get through to their phones for support. In addition, their web page that contains a way to email them was down. ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE SUPPORT. So, I'm a fish out of land right now until and IF the company gets back to me.

comment added :: 14th September 2005, 14:50 GMT-05
brent made this comment,
A key phone number to get TomTom activate: USA customer support. 978-287-9555
comment added :: 14th September 2005, 14:51 GMT-05
Greg made this comment,
Hi Lewy, in reading your fine comments I thought first it should be possible to use "TomTom 5 wired GPS" with a Treo 600. But in the compatibility list for wired GPS TomTom doesn't mention any Palm devices - only for the BlueTooth version. Is there a chance to use the 600 with TomTom5? Or would the BlueTooth version eventually work with the "wired GPS mouse" on a 600 too?

I use the Treo 600 with Mapopolis and a serial GPS-Mouse (GlobalSat BR-355 SiRF III) with suitable connecting cables. It works fine, but I am missing some features like defining route-through points and others. So I wanted to buy TomTom5 Navigator. The Swiss reseller told me it would not be compatible with the 600. Can you clear the situation? Thank you very much, Greg

comment added :: 21st September 2005, 13:51 GMT-05
Gus made this comment,
Hi! Do you know where I can download Mapolis from? It dessapeared from my palm desktop... Many Thanks
comment added :: 4th November 2005, 12:46 GMT-05
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Excerpt: bluetooth, gps, treo?...
Blog: Circa CFD
Date: Friday, 25 February 2005 06:32 PM

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