Have you ever tried to reach a point in a visited city but did not know where it is? I bet you have. In this situation we usually buy a printed city map, but searching for the place you want to get to takes a lot time and requires struggling with a large piece of paper. If you are PocketPC user (and of course you are) you can easily avoid this.
VisitorGuide by 3Lobyte will probably meet anyoneâ€™s expectances. The application is really handy, offers nice searching and route planning features and â€“ what is even more important â€“ works fast and scrolls the maps very smoothly. VisitorGuide installs to a folder in the root directory of your PocketPC rather than to a folder inside your Program Files. This will be, however, helpful for managing your maps.
Let us run the application. The first screen you will notice allows you to â€˜Load Mapsâ€™. You can choose the maps you donâ€™t want to be loaded by selecting them from the upper list and then pressing the â€˜Switchâ€™ button. When you are ready, press â€˜OKâ€™ on the taskbar. The delay you will experience is the only delay in this application, as it loads all the necessary data to let you easily work with your maps. After about 10 seconds VisitorGuide will show its main window.
The main screen is divided in two sections â€“ the upper part displays the map and the lower â€“information about selected point, such as available connections leading to this place. What is most important, VisitorGuide can easily switch between maps covering the same area and combine connections, so in the place information you will find all the communication networks data.
The menu bar on the bottom of the screen contains only one menu and some buttons. The meaning of the buttons will be described below. The â€˜Optionsâ€™ menu includes some useful tools â€“ it allows you to switch the map currently displayed, find a location, block a location or network and plan/clear a route.
Any selected place can be marked as a route departure or arrival point. For example, to plan a fast route, user will have to press the â€˜Aâ€™ button on the menu bar for the starting point and â€˜Bâ€™ for the point he or she wants to reach. Pressing the â€˜A>>Bâ€™ button will then plan a route; for a reverse route press â€˜B>>Aâ€™ button.
The information about the route is displayed in the window below the map. It contains clear directions, for example:
â€˜Take the tram. Depart from tram stop Spiegelgracht. Take line 10, direction Van Hallstraat. Estimated travel time: 12 minutes.â€™
â€˜Leave the tram at stop Leidseplein. Remaining travel time: 10 minutes. Average transfer time: 0 minutes.â€™
As you can see, the application not only shows the route but also describes it, gives clues and even calculates estimated travel time. The currently displayed location is displayed inside an animated circle, which takes the color of the line user is traveling on.
Should it not be enough, you can use another route planning method. Suppose you want to get somewhere but you need to meet with your friend somewhere else before. The other route planning you will find in the â€˜Optionsâ€™ menu.
The interface is completely different; it allows you to choose not only the departure and arrival places, but also a point you want to go through. For user convenience these places have been grouped in categories, such as: Intersection, Theatre, Market, Metro station, Museum. To plan a route select all of the points (for reverse route donâ€™t forget to tick the â€˜Return tripâ€™) and press â€˜OKâ€™ on your taskbar. VisitorGuide will calculate the optimal route for you.
The loaded maps are â€˜Centre Amsterdamâ€™, â€˜Metro Amsterdamâ€™ and â€œTram Amsterdamâ€™. As I mentioned above, the program uses all of them during route planning. This means that although these maps cover different communications networks (train, metro and tram), the application will switch between maps automatically to find the fastest, shortest way to the destination point.
But suppose that a line has been closed for some reasons. In this situation you would normally have to plan another route. VisitorGuide comes handy also here. If a line has been closed or you simply donâ€™t want to use it, you can block it using the â€˜Block Networkâ€™ feature from the menu. To block a line, select network type from the upper menu and â€˜Switchâ€™ selected lines to the â€˜Blockedâ€™ group. The â€˜Block Locationâ€™ feature is similar to â€˜Block Networkâ€™ but allows you to block selected places (e.g. metro stations under construction) rather than whole lines.
The last feature I would like to describe is finding a place. There are two ways to find a location in VisualGuide â€“ by type or by network. Both can be selected from the â€˜Optionsâ€™ menu. Finding a place by type will be probably useful for every visitor, as it is easily to find all the museums, theatres and other attractions using this feature. To do it, user must select location type from a dropdown list and select particular place. The application will display a list of maps including the location.
Finding place by network is similar, but it allows finding a location near communication lines. This feature will become useful if you need to know station list for a particular line. In this case, you will have to choose connection type and line for the location list to appear.
Download VisitorGuide here: