4,000 miles in Europe in four weeks all on mapfactor - excellent though somethings need attention.
  • Hi, Firstly let me thank you profusely for Mapfactor navigator. By and large it is the most intuitive and sensible free off-line satnav available.
    I tested it continually in our travels in the U.K. for many months and got to know it well.
    Last month we completed a 4,000 mile four-week tour of France and Spain and Mapfactor was excellent and very reliable save for several difficulties in mapping (not your responsibility but open street map's ) and some glitches which I thought I aught to let you know about as you might be able to change the interface to suit.

    (1) In towns Mapfactor occasionally tries to send you down streets which have been made one-way, or comes across new intersections not updated in Street-map.  As you motor further on, Mapfactor tries to recalculate the route but, especially in towns with narrow streets and high-buildings appears to lose signal and gets utterly confused and stuck in a feedback of recalculation leaving the driver totally at a loss. We recovered by following the physical road signs shown for the next big town in our direction (i.e. followed signs to get us out of the city). When clear of the buildings etc., Mapfactor stabilised and re-routed us back on to the correct route as normal. 

    (2) Four-leaf-clover intersections are common on new European roads. (like four roundabouts stuck together feeding a flyover)  Mapfactor's recalculation algorythm is too slow to cope with them. As we drove around almost every one of them Mapfactor told us we were 'going in the opposite direction' and then tried to recalculate. This recalculation seemed to block it's memory up so that when we came to the required slip road (often these flour leaf clover intersections have multiple sliproads on each 'leaf') Mapfactor failed to tell us to take it, which in several instances had us spinning around on the wrong road and in one case having to do a ten mile detour to get back!   On one occasion it sent us right into the middle of suburban traffic in Madrid and we had a panicky ten minutes trying to recover.  Speeding up the 'recalculation' would be important in such congested areas if you can do it.

    One of the very helpful Mapfactor functions in this respect are the blue 'Motorway signs' which appear on the screen in advance of the next junction on motorways or peripheriques.  When Mapfactor voice commands fail due to preoccupation with recalculation/loss of signal then these Motorway signs are a boon.   In connection with this, I have my Mapfactor set to show the 'next' road coming up in a bar at the bottom of the screen, however this rarely includes the actual road number which is of utmost importance. Also, often the names of the roads are so long that they run off the screen and are therefore printed across in a 'tickertape' at such slow speed that you have to wait for 5 or 6 seconds to see the full name. That is far too long for a driver to take his eyes off the road which results in rapid glancing for 10 or 20 seconds, at which point you've missed your turn off!  Whilst road names are important to cyclists and pedestrians they are less important to drivers than the road number. Please consider reprogramming this function so that the road number appears first permanently in the tab and the road name tickers beside it, or provide 'Motorway signs' at the top of the screen for all next turns.

    Additionally,  this is only a small gripe,  but on my smartphone the car's cursor appears right at the bottom of the screen. In the case of sharp bends often all that can be seen is the cursor and a small section of road.  As the rest of the screen at the top is, particularly in 3d format, virtually unused and conveys little information, I suggest reprogramming so the cursor is higher up the screen, say always a third of the way up,  making actual navigation easier.

    (3) There should be a facility to turn 'zoom' permanently 'on' in cities.  Often the surfeit of POIs in cities and villages means that their icons can entirely obscure the route if zoom is not permanenty on.  Either the icons should be shown BEHIND the road, or zoom should be automatically used whenever POI congestion occurs. 

    (4) I have purchased add-ons for multiple routing. Users should be aware of the obvious - it takes three times longer to calculate routes so in my case from York to Malaga in Southern Spain took nearly five minutes.  At first I thought something had gone wrong but learned to be patient.  Also, the routing is given in different colours Blue, Green and Purple.  The Blue and Purple are so close in shade that oldies like me can't see the difference!  I suggest Blue, Green and Red perhaps?  Or allow users to choose their own colours?

    These are constructive criticisms to improve the user's experience. I love Mapfactor. It is so useful. Here's one reason why.
    Mapfactor's POIs minimised a problem which could have shortened our holiday.  After one particularly long stretch of 550 miles continuous motoring our campervan's leisure battery mysteriously went thermonuclear and burnt itself out. I understand now that this can be a problem with leisure batteries when sulphates build up between the plates and it shorts internally. We only realised this was happening after we had stopped at an aire in Pamplona, Spain. (The fumes had been dissipated due to us having the windows open on a lovely sunny spring day as we cruised along). No leisure battery for fridge food, water pump, lighting at night and toilet flushing etc. was no joke.  The aire was one with a automatic barrier. Once you're in for the night you can't get out.  Using my Mapfactor I located the 'nearest repair garage', set it for 'pedestrians', and we followed its instructions walking the half-mile to get a new battery, fitted it in a few minutes and continued as though nothing had happened. Excellent facility!

    Hope this information helps other users.

    John

     

     


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  • Complete Agreement! Same point her: "however this rarely includes the actual road number which is of utmost importance"

    I'm often on the "Autobahn", hear traffic-information in the radio and think by myself: w.t.f., on WHICH (number) Autobahn I'm driving at the moment....

  • "(4) I have purchased add-ons for multiple routing. Users should be aware of the obvious - it takes three times longer to calculate routes so in my case from York to Malaga in Southern Spain took nearly five minutes.  At first I thought something had gone wrong but learned to be patient.  Also, the routing is given in different colours Blue, Green and Purple.  The Blue and Purple are so close in shade that oldies like me can't see the difference!  I suggest Blue, Green and Red perhaps?  Or allow users to choose their own colours?"

    You can change that yourself in Map Customization -> Other Colors

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