SAN FRANCISCO (05/01/2000) - Planning a trip to Yellowstone, or want directions to a great seafood place while you're traveling? In either case, Microsoft Corp.'s Streets & Trips 2001 can help you get there. Armed with more than 6.3 million miles of streets and highways in the United States and Canada, the program can pinpoint virtually any address on the map and generate turn-by-turn directions. And now you can save those directions as a Web page to share over the Internet with colleagues or for future reference. On the downside, while you can download maps to your Windows CE device, Palm users are still out of luck.
Streets & Trips' strength is its ability to route you from point A to point B, particularly over long distances. Version 2001 has expanded the program's travel planning capabilities. For starters, it now includes data for every postal code in Canada, so you'll be able to plan trips that take you through our great neighbor to the north. (The program will only locate addresses within cities that have a population of 10,000 or more.) New GPS support allows you pinpoint to your exact location on the map when you hook up a GPS device to your laptop. Finally, the redesigned Route Planner makes it easier to add locations and revise your itinerary.
Other new features include improved drawing tools that let you annotate your map with callouts or points of interest. Users tired of swapping discs will be happy to learn they can load the entire program, maps and all, onto their hard drive for quicker access. The cost is a huge chunk of hard disk--up to 835MB.
If you need local directions, you're better off firing up your browser and going to a consumer-friendly site like MapQuest.com. But if you're planning a cross-country trip, Streets & Trips 2001 makes a great traveling companion.
Streets & TRIPS 2001's redesigned Route Planner opens in a separate pane and simplifies the task of revising your travel plans.
Microsoft Streets & Trips 2001
PRO: Lets you share directions with others over the Web, new GPS support, easier to revise plans.
CON: Loading data and program on PC takes 835MB; no Palm support.
VALUE: Good choice for long-distance travel, especially to Canada.
Street price: $45