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MS Streets & Trips 2008 GPS Product Review (Part 1)

July 27, 2008 by Lug_Nut · 50 Comments  
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It seems the popularity of GPS navigation continues to grow as more and more people turn from paper maps to LCD screens.  Just over two years ago I had four vehicles, only one of which had an on-board GPS navigation system.  Today, while I only have three vehicles, it is interesting to note that all three are equipped with on-board navigation.  All three have between 5″ and 7″ screen, a services data base, trip routing and voice guidance.  They do, however, have some short falls when it comes to trip planning, routing and making changes while on route.  So I jumped at the chance to try out the new 2008 Microsoft Streets and Trips full GPS offering.  Testing this in Canada would also add to the challenge as it is often found that many mapping software programs and related embedded data bases are not always up to date compared to that found throughout the U.S.A.   To properly evaluate the product, we will divide the trial into two sections.   First we will look at the general features and user friendliness including street level detail, route planning, data base, available tools and related functions.  We will follow that next week with a hands-on trial run, when we take it to the streets of the unfamiliar-to-me city, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

 I had used MS Streets and Trips before when I had an earlier version sometime around 2001.  At that time I found the program a great help for trip planning, distance calculating and just plain direction look-ups.  While it was capable of being tethered to a GPS receiver, I can’t say I ever attempted to use it in that manner, but rather just as an electronic map.   

Well, the 2008 version I’m testing comes complete with its own mini GPS plug and play receiver.  When I say mini I mean small, not much more than a inch and a quarter square with a height of about a half inch, complete with a securing mini suction cup.

 I must say, the 2008 version appears extremely feature rich with many new functions.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the program as user friendly as the original.  This is rare.  Generally, I’ve found when  a program is greatly updated with new features and powerful add-ons, it loses a lot of its simple short cuts and quick solution characteristics.  Not so here.

The mapping detail and services data base is very impressive.   Very newly opened roads in Canada were already loaded.  RiverBend Motor Coach Resort in LaBelle Florida was displayed in high quality detail with even the names for each and every street.  I’ve never seen a private park ever displayed in this manner, and with such detail, as was Pelican Lake Motor Coach Resort, Cypress Woods Resort, etc.  The campground data base and probably much of the related detail was in part, I believe, thanks to Woodall’s, one of the many named organizations that were credited. 

Okay, so let’s check out the operational overview and the practical applications.  Running it on a laptop, as I am, it is not handy to use alone in a car, however once set up prior to driving, it can supply voice guided direction to a pre-selected destination.  It works great if operated by a passenger in any vehicle, certainly a bonus in an RV.  One of the big advantages found here is the ability to alter routing or search services while underway.  This is not normally permitted on the built-in types as the majority of them are locked out of such functionality while moving.  This is normally done as a safety requirement.  Additionally, the ability to be able to search, plan and set routes from the comfort of your home, or elsewhere, can’t be overstated.  There is also no question that the functionality and larger screen size delivers tools and features unmatched by both built-ins and most of the popular add-on stand alones.

So, how does MS Streets and Trips stack up against the built-ins and stand alones?

Advantages 

  • Far more feature rich and application flexible
  • Larger display area for easy viewing and configuring
  • Can be re-routed or accept user input at any time
  • Has practical applications with or without GPS receiver or receiver enabled
  • Can be updated at any time through an internet connection
  • Does fuel stop calculations including estimated costs
  • Can be removed from vehicle reducing both security and/or environment issues

Disadvantages

  • Requires the user to have a computer
  • Not as easy to use in navigation mode while traveling alone 

In summary, I feel this product is top quality and certainly appears to be all the manufacturer says it is.  I think it makes a great primary GPS guide and mapping program or a super supplement to your existing in dash or stand alone receiver/display.  This is truly a great mapping and planning software.  One, you probably will not want to give up once you have had the opportunity to use it.  As well as offering in-motion real time street/road navigation, it may be worth having this product as an additional tool even if you currently have a built-in or stand alone GPS unit.  After all, they say planning a trip can be as much fun as taking it.  Believe me, this is certainly one great planning tool.  In my opinion, worth the money even if you never used it in the GPS mode function.    For this purpose, the program is available alone, that is without the GPS receiver/antenna package.  This would allow the purchaser to add the GPS at a later date or perhaps thether it to his or her GPS enabled cellular telephone.  Either way, this product has a thumbs up in my opinion  

Note: This product is capable of far more than described in this review.  Construction area downloads (free for one year), off air updates on local traffic and current fuel prices, are but a few.   Testing of these advanced features was not conducted.  The review covers the more basic operations and applications only.       

Next week we will be taking the Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008 out on the road to see how its performance stacks up against similar products.  Hope you can join us.   

To link to Part ii,   CLICK ON THIS 

With Your Co-ordinates     -    Lug_Nut     -     Peter Mercer

 

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Comments

50 Responses to “MS Streets & Trips 2008 GPS Product Review (Part 1)”

  1. Velda Solomon on July 27th, 2008 12:37 pm

    It would be helpful to know what operating system you are using. I suspect MS stays up with their own operating system, however those with older operating system (xp or before) might not be able to use the newest version.
    We bought CoPilot GPS a year ago expecting to use it on my XP based laptop which is now 3 years old, then use it on husbands new laptop (Vista based) when it arrived. We loved using the new Copilot on my laptop, works great. However, when we received his new Vista based laptop, CoPilot would not load. Several emails and phone calls to the makers of CoPilot reveal the astonishing news that they have no plans to upgrade CoPilot to use with Vista! I guess they don’t want to keep up with Microsoft Streets as their competitor!
    Velda

  2. Lug_Nut on July 27th, 2008 1:20 pm

    Hi Velda, I’m sorry to hear of CoPilot’s position in regards to the Vista operating system. Yes, the MS Streets and Trips for 2008 does run on Vista. I used Windows XP Professional which it will also run on providing it is service pack 2.
    A list of the complete system requirements can be found on the Microsoft website. All the best, and thank you for your input.

  3. Woodstick on July 27th, 2008 6:48 pm

    We have used Microsoft Streets and Tips (2006 version) and love it, it is compatable with vista, that is the operating system my wife uses. We use it for trip planning, not as a GPS while travelling. We also use it to get the GPS coordinates for our Hughes portable internet dish. I honestly don’t know what we would do without it, distance calculating, finding nearby places, campgrounds, fuel, groceries, ATM machines, etc. We will look at getting the updated version for sure.
    Happy to know the new version is still user friendly, look forward to your review of new features.

  4. Lug_Nut on July 27th, 2008 7:28 pm

    Woodstick, Thanks for your comments. It’s great to hear the opinion of people that have experienced earlier versions of this program. As I pointed out, one does not have to use the GPS tracking features to find great value here. Again, thank you for your input.

  5. billk on July 27th, 2008 7:28 pm

    Hi
    I am using CoPilot 11 on Vista with no problems. Just ending a trip from PA thru AK and back with no problems. it will not work with 64 bit systems, they do tell you that. 11 is much betterthen 10, the upgrade is worth it.

  6. Lug_Nut on July 27th, 2008 7:35 pm

    “Quote”"Hi
    I am using CoPilot 11 on Vista with no problems. Just ending a trip from PA thru AK and back with no problems. it will not work with 64 bit systems, they do tell you that. 11 is much betterthen 10, the upgrade is worth it.”

    Great information. Hopefully Velda catches this post and can upgrade their CoPilot to make it work on Vista.
    Thanks, much for your input.

  7. barry bogart on July 27th, 2008 8:24 pm

    I have been using MS streets and trips for years now, and at first had problems getting used to it, I don’t know why as it seems so easy now. It is used all of the time for short and long trips to places I’ve never been to and the directions are great. You can enlarge areas like off ramps and side streets to get a better view of where you are going In 2005 I used it to map out a cross USA trip and found campgrounds in the areas I would be stopping. It was useful in planning how far I would go each day and be able to see what was in the area for shopping, fuel and restaurants too. I haven’t used any other map program so I can’t say if there is one better, but I am sold on MS streets and trips.

  8. etchison on July 28th, 2008 4:54 am

    we have the 06 msst and trips – any up grades or is 08 better than 06?

    I would like to know if there is a gps out there that has clearance built in I am 12′ 10” high and sure don’t want to take the top off my rv.

    thanks
    etchison

  9. John on July 28th, 2008 10:18 pm

    Hello Lug_Nut,
    Informative article about GPS technology. I assume that the antennna is as you describe “not much more than a inch and a quarter square with a height of about a half inch, complete with a securing mini suction cup.” If it is, how do you find it’s satellite reception capability while driving?

    I read of a similar system last year but can’t remember the product name. It had many RV user features such as height and length factors in trip planning and much more.
    I recently returned from a trip to Oregon and had the old faithful Road Atlas and realized how much safer it is using a GPS product.

    Cheers,
    John

  10. Lug_Nut on July 29th, 2008 5:28 am

    Hi John, The reception is excellent. Additionally you can plug in the receiver/antenna directly into your USB port without the tether line. In many cases this may work just as well in the front of a motor home given the large glass area and non-metalic roof. The nice thing is you can get this thing working right out of the box on basics in minutes.

  11. Laptop GPS World on July 30th, 2008 3:34 am

    Lug_Nut, nice part 1 of your review. I’m looking forward to part 2. I’m now going to get a cup of coffee, and then I will post on my website a bit of info about your excellent review. I’m also going to place a link to here from my list of reviews of laptop GPS navigation programs.

  12. He has an RV b/built-in GPS, yet he uses Streets & Trips - Laptop GPS World on July 30th, 2008 4:01 am

    [...] of Streets & Trips. He just finished part 1 of the review (part two will follow next week). Review: Streets & Trips w/GPS by Lug_Nut __________________ Marvin Hlavac PC GPS software reviews | Stores offering discounts [...]

  13. Ed Homan on July 30th, 2008 6:43 am

    I don’t want to get on a rant here, BUT….

    First…I love Streets and Trips.

    I am a Fulltime RVer and have used MSST since the 2000 version. At that point, when you found an RV park, one click would display a complete listing page with information ranging from rates to number of full hookup sites to directions to get there, just like the one you would see at Woodall’s.com. Then in ‘01, it was just a link to Woodall’s to use if you were on the internet. You indicate this may have been addressed in ‘08 version?

    Over the years the locations of RV parks on the map have gotten steadily more inaccurate. Case in point, there are several parks around the Lake of the Ozarks area. In ‘05, they were located correctly…In the ‘07 version, they’re all stuck out in the middle of nowhere, not close to where they really are. I suggest you copy and paste the address and search for the correct location.

    Another situation is with Landmarks portion of Find Nearby Places. In older versions it contained mostly Cemeteries, not Mount Rushmore or the Gateway Arch. In the last couple of versions, the vast majority of listings are… Car Dealerships??? Why not Chamber of Commerce locations?…Very useful and generally hard to find.

    This said, I use the GPS with my laptop anytime the motorhome is on the road and, for the mostpart, we get where we want to be without having to turn the rig around. I will upgrade to the ‘09 version when it comes out because it’s still the best one out there.

    I look forward to reading Part 2.

  14. Larry on July 30th, 2008 3:25 pm

    It would be nice for Streets & Trips to have some of these locations build in. However, if you are interested in getting these locations in S&T:

    * height restrictions
    * Wal-Marts (RV Friendly)
    * Wal-Marts (with RV bans)
    * Cracker Barrel
    * Casino’s with Hookups
    * Rest Areas with Turnouts
    * Costco’s with Gas Stations
    * etc.

    Bookmark this site as they have these + more:
    http://www.discoveryowners.com/cginfolinks.htm

  15. Lug_Nut on July 30th, 2008 4:55 pm

    Great link Larry. Thanks for your input. I really appreciate this type of participation as I’m sure other are too. Thanks again.

  16. John on July 31st, 2008 12:11 am

    Hi Lug_Nut,
    Interested to see how well it does on your test in the Vancouver area with some of it’s strange road system. If you are here in the Victoria area, there are several streets that are known by more than one name at various points. Keep us posted please or drop an email to me.
    I checked the link you provided and must say it is packed with features.

    Cheeers,
    John

  17. Lug_Nut on July 31st, 2008 7:37 pm

    Hey John, I know what you mean, however, I was confined to the mainland and did my testing within Vancouver. Thanks for your input.

  18. carol on August 2nd, 2008 2:06 pm

    Does anybody know if the 08 Streets & Trips has Mexico in it? particularly, RV friendly routes through Guadalajara and similar big cities? thanks.

  19. Road Testing MS Streets And Trips, Product Review (Part II) on August 3rd, 2008 9:02 am

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  20. Lug_Nut on August 3rd, 2008 9:18 am

    Carol, Your question in regards to Mexico coverage, it looks like it will work. I plugged an address in Mexico City with a destination in the California Baja (Also in Mexico) and got a detailed route of some 2250 miles or so. So I believe it will work fine, at least there are certainly no issues in the map planning portion. Also the road detail throughout the Mexician cities seem equal to that we see in the U.S. So I guess it’s good news.

  21. Monroe Ruda on August 3rd, 2008 2:38 pm

    I use 2006 version. I also purchased the 07 version and when I clicked on a campsite after using ‘control D’ and then finding the actual address the two locations for the same location were almost 20 – 30 miles apart. I sent a letter to MS but of course I was not advised. Have you tried to do what I did with the 08 version? If you have please either advise me or list the problem (if it exits) in your next review.

  22. Lug_Nut on August 3rd, 2008 2:48 pm

    Monroe Ruda, I have not experienced this issue with the 2008 version and just tested it using a couple of known camp locations in Florida. I used “Control D” and still found them in their correct position. If you would tell me the camp sites you found the error on I will check it out on the ‘08 version.

  23. Tom on August 3rd, 2008 5:36 pm

    Great tool Got 2007 last year and have been using it for our trips to Oregon. It has not let ma estray yet. It does have one little quirk which I got used too and that it sometimes want to take you on another road such as we have in our area. One way is shorter but it 4 wheel drive only and since its shorter it wants me to go that way. But knowing that I can live with it. I would like to see them add a feature so if you run into that problem it could be corrected just in case some person was to take the wrong road.

    Glad to here it will work with Vista.

  24. Lug_Nut on August 3rd, 2008 6:32 pm

    Tom, The ‘08 does have automatic re-routing, a new feature for this year. Glad your ‘07 is working well for you.

  25. Ed Homan on August 7th, 2008 11:10 am

    Wow Larry…Thanks for the link to the Discoveryowners.com page. Really neat stuff.

  26. Colorado Chick on August 28th, 2008 8:53 am

    Thanks, this sounds like something that we want. I will show the old man

  27. Roxie Barnhart on August 28th, 2008 9:18 am

    As a full time rv’er we started out in 2005 with microsoft S&T with the gps. Now we run with Numi Garmin and do our trip planning with S&T. If both agree then the route is usually ok , if they don’t you do some research ahead of time.

  28. Lug_Nut on August 28th, 2008 9:58 am

    Colorado Chick, I think you will be pleased with what it delivers. Most people will not even use half of the available features. Thinks for for input.

  29. Lug_Nut on August 28th, 2008 9:59 am

    Roxie, It is an excellent tool to uses in conjunction with other similar in-car solutions. Thanks for your input.

  30. Thindon on August 30th, 2008 7:26 pm

    My wife and I have been more than happy with our Streets and Trips program. We have invested in a Garman system, however, I find routing our next day or two on the Streets and trips and printing the given route the night before we leave takes lots of guessing out of the trip. The bulk of the computer on someones lap did not prove to work to well for us.

  31. John on September 7th, 2008 11:40 am

    When compared to the 2006 version….Too many Canadian campgrounds are missing from the 2008 version. Also too many US campgrounds are shown South and East of where they actually are located. In some cases many miles from theri actual location Example: Cedar Rail Campground & RV Park (NM)

  32. Lug_Nut on September 7th, 2008 12:28 pm

    Thindon, The use of both a stand alone and S.&T is very popular and I think worth it. It appears you are of the same mind.

  33. Lug_Nut on September 7th, 2008 12:31 pm

    John, I am surprised of your findings and will check it out. There are many campgrounds throughout Canada and the U.S.

  34. Jim on September 9th, 2008 8:54 am

    I found out one thing I don’t like about Streets & Trips.
    Bill Gates & Microsoft in their infinite wisdom has put a online activation on 2008.
    And I guess your only allowed two installs and activations.
    So if you have it on your Desk top computer and your laptop.
    And one of the two fails for what ever reason [or if you get a new computer].
    If you have to reinstall Streets & Trips on one of these. Microsoft won’t do the on line activation. It says you have exceeded the number activations allowed by
    Bill. You have to call and get special permission from Bill Gates.

  35. Lug_Nut on September 10th, 2008 4:01 am

    Jim, I guess Microsoft has been force to go to such measures to reduce the piracy of software that has, and is, happening throughout the country and, for that matter, the world. Thank you for your input.

  36. Bob on September 21st, 2008 9:36 am

    interesting
    I have the 2006 version I wil get a new one in spring or maybe for Christmas
    waiting for part 2

  37. John Massengale on September 21st, 2008 1:49 pm

    When I got my 2008 I had to have Mircosoft help install it on the laptop. I ask the same question and they said there would be no problem if one of my computor’s died to just call and they would give me a new number to activate it on my new one.

  38. Lug_Nut on September 21st, 2008 4:39 pm

    Bob, There are some nice improvements for ;08. Part II was posted a week later. Here is a link. http://blog.rv.net/2008/08/03/road-testing-ms-streets-and-trips-product-review-part-ii/
    Thanks for your input.

  39. Lug_Nut on September 21st, 2008 4:41 pm

    John Massengale, Great to know. Thanks for the info and your input.

  40. Laurie on September 21st, 2008 6:20 pm

    Been using MS Streets & Trips for years, never RV without it and don’t have a GPS (already been there). Great in unknown country and you need to find tonight’s campsite and the distance to it laptop and Trailer Life side-by-side. Plot the afternoon trip while having lunch. just got 2008, works great.
    Anyone got a new 2008 dingy car list?
    Laurie

  41. Lug_Nut on October 3rd, 2008 6:53 pm

    Laurie, Great comments on MS Streets & Trips. Thanks for your input.

  42. Bill Saar on October 4th, 2008 5:41 pm

    I have had 2002, 2005 and now 2008. I have sent my comment to MS about a couple of errors since 2002. When I put in my address I can assure them I don’t live there. They apparently don’t car about accuracy. Just send the money.

  43. Charles Tenwick on October 8th, 2008 3:42 pm

    I have the 2001 version which I use to plan trips. I bought the 2008 version, but discarded it and went back to the 2001 because the 2008 version would not let me program slow enough for the speed limit in California when towing a trailer or car. Chuck

  44. Joe on November 14th, 2008 11:27 am

    are you haveing trouble with the construction updates on s/t 2008 if so i can help their is a patch that fixes the problem.

  45. Gary on July 15th, 2009 5:26 am

    We have used Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006 with the GPS Locator and like it very much. However, we just bought a new computer with Vista 64 bit and are unable to install the program. Will this software not work with this new operating system?

  46. Lug_Nut on July 16th, 2009 5:11 am

    Gary, Good Question. You should contact MicroSoft in this regard. Vista seems to have issues with quite a few programs, this may well be another. Hence the new Window7. Thanks for your input.

  47. Ken C on November 16th, 2009 8:50 am

    We heard so many positive things about Streets and Trips we just purchased the 2010 version. At first look I have to say it is impressive, especially on the route planning side. They advertise that you can load height restrictions into the program, but they don’t say how to do it. Cannot find anything related to that in the Help or How To sections. We drive a motorhome and prefer to get off the Interstates and onto major secondary roads when possilbe. Does anyone know how to input the height restrictions?
    Thanks
    Ken C

  48. Larry on May 27th, 2010 4:32 pm

    I know this is an old thread but Ken C didn’t get an answer.

    Rather than have all the RVers download and import height restrictions into Streets & Trips we’ve saved you all the work.

    Download the S&T 2010 POI megafile from here:
    http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/2595-poi-mega-file-pushpin-collections-truckers-rvers-other-travelers

    It contains ALL the collections from DiscoveryOwners plus dozens more.

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