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AutoRoute 2007: Eastern Europe.

Brian Kirby

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I have hitherto done our preliminary route planning on AutoRoute 2002, which is now getting a bit out of date and, since we are planning a jaunt to Eastern Europe, and since Microsoft specifically claim AutoRoute 2007 (the latest available version) has improved mapping for Eastern Europe, thought it would be a good idea to get a copy.

I have since returned the product to the retailer because Microsoft's claim regarding enhanced mapping in Eastern Europe is completely fallacious when compared to AutoRoute 2002.  The 2002 product shows the general network of main roads, some dual carriageways and motorways, and most secondary roads, throughout all those Eastern European countries that are now within the EC.  Minor roads are not shown, but I gather a number of these are not blacktop surfaced, so they would be of little practical value. 

To my considerable surprise, when I loaded 2007 and ran my route on it great chunks that had previously followed roads just took off as though across a desert.  At one point, due to an absence of motorway junctions, the 2007 programme proposed a diversion via Austria to get between two nearly adjacent towns in Slovenia that were easily accessible on the 2002 version using a main road.  I have the relevant motoring atlases from the countries we propose visiting, and the roads that were there in AutoRoute 2002 are still there, with some having been upgraded, whereas they are completely absent from AutoRoute 2007.  Hundreds of roads are shown as just terminating at the borders With Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland etc, whereas the earlier programme, (and the maps) showed them continuing.  For example a dual autostrada spur spur of the A4 (Italy) that leaves Italy at Gorizia to Nova Gorica in Slovenia (Raccordo Villese-Gorizia), and is clearly shown on my two year old TCI (Cartografia) atlas doing so, and also continues into Slovenia on AR 2002 - as main road, but not dual carriageway - crosses the border in the 2007 version for approximately 200 metres, and then just stops.  It really is that bad.

It is impossible to arrive at a realistic figure for the miles of roads that have disappeared in the "improved mapping" of Eastern Europe in the 2007 version, by comparison with the 2002 version, but it will be literally thousands of miles across Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Roumania, and even Greece.

I have taken this up with Microsoft, and been in touch with the AutoRoute technical team.  The technical team confirm the roads currently shown are as intended, and cannot explain how this represents an improvement in mapping over a 5 year old product.  Microsoft's customer relations department, to whom my complaint was "escalated", have so far failed to respond.  However, they have had over a week to do so, so I have no further hesitation in shooting their fox.  Before anyone leaps to conclusions, I had previously had a "pirated" version of AR 2007, that I had refrained from loading, preferring to be Honest John and buy a bona fide copy, so when I discovered this defect in the product I thought I may just have a duff copy.  I therefore uninstalled my bona fide one and loaded the pirate, running it from the DVD to see if the mapping was as bad as on my bought copy.  It was.

I also scoured Microsoft's website - and the AutoRoute web site (that incidentally still makes the grossly incorrect improved mapping claim for the product) - for any mapping updates, and could find none.  I even went to Navtech's site (oh yes, it has Navtech inside!) to see if they were offering upgrades to the mapping, but they are not.  I know the detailed mapping exists to allow Microsoft to include it in the product, but it seems they have simply preferred to omit it while claiming it is there.

Whether you decide to buy or not is for you, but I've got me money back!  Concerning Western Europe, the mapping is more up to date and more detailed than 2002, but there is such a paucity of roads in Eastern Europe that route planning in this region using AutoRoute 2007 is not practically possible.  So, if you're thinking of going, keep your money - or find a copy of AutoRoute 2002!

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AutoRoute 2007 was actually released in late 2006 and the latest mapping included is Navteq 2005. Basically it's 3 years out of date. Navteq do have 2007 released which includes detailed maps of Eastern Europe, you can see these maps at http://maps.live.com. Whilst the maps are OK the aerial imaging of Eastern Europe is not in fine detail although it can give some idea of the terrain.


If you want the "wow factor" with these maps find an area covered by the "Bird's Eye View" (most major UK and US towns) - the detail is incredible and you can view from 4 angles.





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tonyishuk - 2008-04-04 12:23 PM could you do your initial planning via Viamichelin ? Rgds

Not really, Tony.  I build the route bit by bit over time, as we decide where we want to go, modify it by reference to maps to make sure the proposed roads look realistically viable, then take it with us when we go and amend as we go along.  When we get back it becomes the trip record in terns of places visited etc.

Via Michelin is just a point to point router, at least it was last time I tried it, and lacks the subtlety of selecting in favour of various road types, driving profiles etc.

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I like maps a lot. You know where you are with a map.


I also like compasses as well, to correct gross errors.


Satnav just sounds like a lot of trouble to me, and why do you want to save a route, do you really want to go back to the same place again? But then I'm never surprised by what people would sooner have than money.


I suppose if you're a bit like Inspector Gadget, and gadgets float your boat, not me, well not yet. Just get a good map.

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  • 9 months later...
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Thanks Brian as I was tempted to get AR 2006 to update my AR 2002 - I won't bother - not that we intended to go to Eastern Europe just yet - and it would be good to have an updated Western Europe - but like you I detest being lied to


Does anyone know any reason why it would not be possible to install both AR maps on the same computer and just run them separately from each other according to need as this might be the best of both worlds currently?

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