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Auto Route 2006
This product now comes on two CD's you can do a smaller install but then disc 2 will always need to be in the drive when you use it. I did the full install and according to the documentation it should need 1GB of hard disc space. After my installation (about 12 minutes) my hard disc had 1.177GB less free space.
This product started - many years ago - as a Next Base product, the first thing Microsoft did when they purchased it was to dramatically reduce the price and it is still a very reasonably priced product.
Of course yearly upgrades tend to make it less good value, but maps do change and in fact the area covered either down to postcode level (in UK) or towns in some parts of Europe seem to grow each year.
One bug that I brought to Microsoft's attention a few years ago has finally been rectified. If you are planning a journey from the north east of England to Norway it always sent you to Dover through the channel tunnel and then up through Europe. Now it finally uses the Newcastle to Bergen ferry. The map always showed this ferry but the routing module would not by default use it.
For large towns and cities being able to click on a road and be told what house number is at that point is a useful feature. Another is being able to work out the exact distance either by clicking a series of points or by highlighting the route and getting the exact distance, superb for pedestrians.
If you own a Pocket PC then providing you have ActivSync 3.7 or better you can use AutoRoute on your device, the logical way would be to get a portion of a map and sync it to the device. The Pocket Streets module first appeared (US only) a few years ago but now it can be used anywhere.
A totally new feature is the GPS module and I understand this works very like the dedicated GPS units found in some phones and PDA's. It can even give voice instructions so a notebook with AutoRoute and a suitable GPS adapter could be a full navigation suite. Currently it appears once started as a sidebar.
Over the years manuals have all but disappeared in the majority of software packages. AutoRoute 2006 comes in a DVD case but there is 20 page booklet inside the DVD case with a lot of useful information in it.
I certainly use AutoRoute all year to plan that unfamiliar journey, print out a map of an area and or driving instructions. Certain roads - in London anyway - do not conform to the odd/even numbering systems and especially with long roads knowing exactly where the number you want is can save a long walk. If you a stranger in a town there is so much information about hotel locations, petrol stations and points of interest etc that it makes tourist guides redundant. This only leaves my hard disc when the next version comes out.
Doing my Internet search finds it at around £40. www.dabs.co.uk have it for £41.20.
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