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  1.    #1  
    Has anyone tried earthcomber?

    See http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000243035281/

    or

    http://www.earthcomber.com/

    Questions: Can the map be stored on the card? LA is 12 MB. Is it spyware?
  2.    #2  
    I tried this. I wasn't impressed. Not many settings and the entire map (12MB for LA) needs to be in RAM to work, can't run with the map on the SD card. No directions apparently. Mapopolis works better. (I don't have GPS.) Uninstall was a mess, because there are 15 or so individual files, all of which had to be deleted individually rather than just be deleting the main program. The Windows program deletes ok, no evidence of spyware or anything else running on the PC after the fact. I think they are hoping users are going to enter lots of useful information. The business model is that businesses pay for being listed.
  3. #3  
    Does it utilize the gps in the Treo?
  4.    #4  
    Yes, but I can't say how well because I don't have GPS.
  5. #5  
    From Earthcomber: Thanks for the feedback (painful as it sometimes is) about Earthcomber. We're a small company of 7 dedicated to bringing great free software to handhelds. We know we have issues with file management and support of SD cards, and these items are on our short-term development list. We offer over 3000 free maps of the US, and most of them are under 1.5meg ... but yes, some maps are humongous and thus aren't suited for the Treo. Keep the comments coming. We're serious listeners.
  6.    #6  
    Wow, I wish other companies were so responsive. I will definitely try your product again when the map can stay on the SD card, or 12MB isn't such a big deal because my phone has a GB of RAM. To be fair, Mapopolis has exactly the same space issue for LA. Directions are important for me, speaking as one potential user is a challenging city.
  7. #7  
    My first impressions of earthcomber:
    Huge potential. I really like the concept of the program. Also, I saw on the site that businesses could be listed for free- so I too, am curious about the business model.

    Things I like:
    The ability to find favorites (art museums, concerts, etc.) is cool, although at first sync it didn't find anything in the salt lake area. Maybe I need to tweak the settings a bit more. I wonder where the data is coming from, too? Is it coming from some large external database, or is it all entered into the website?
    I like having the option of downloading by county. If you live in an urban area it's good because your searches can include surrounding areas fairly easily.
    I like that it's free, but the business model doesn't seem to be clearly stated anywhere on the site which makes me skeptical.
    the desktop software is fairly easy to use, quick setup, cool looking icon (I hate ugly tray icons!)
    the palm client program is fast and easy to use, although the main menu is kinda ugly with the orange and green. Not bad overall though.
    stable - no crashes to report here.

    Things I don't like:
    The address earch function leaves much to be desired. You have to select modifiers like "east" and "street" from a menu. This doesn't work at all in Utah, where everything is on a grid. An address might be like "100 west, 100 south" and there is no way to search for that. It would be better if it could just parse a regular address and do the search. It also couldn't find my address in Salt Lake, even though it is on a regular named street.
    Obviously, the memory card thing is an issue. It's not sooo bad having to move maps back and forth, just an extra step. All my maps are fairly small, so it works okay. I wonder if big maps like LA could be cut up into smaller sections?
    No directions function. You can find adresses, but not directions.


    I think the future release plans to overcome some of my objections, so this is certainly a program I will keep an eye on.
  8. #8  
    Wow, I sent this feedback along to the folks at earthcomber and in response I received a great email from the VP Dana Sohr. Here are some excerpts from her email if anyone is interested:

    "Regarding address search ... agreed! It's on our list but we haven't had a chance to address it yet."

    "Regarding data ... try using the default Look Lists that you get when you sign up with Earthcomber. These should point to a basic set of data in your area. We are extremely strong in public facilities (libraries, schools, shopping centers, parks), natural features (lakes, summits, trails), and historic spots (National Register of Historic Places). Most large cities in the US also have a small commercial layer of content, with a handful of restaurants, coffee shops, ATMs, WiFi spots, and some other business travel-related locations. We are pushing hard to improve the commercial content. "

    "Regarding the business model ... we'll make revenue through sales of plug-in "spot guides" from 3rd party publishers (coming in next release), and longer-term, sales of advertising and "virtual store locators" to national brands."

    "We have also re-rendered all of our maps to improve their quality. ... It'll be a couple of weeks still before they're available on our website, along with the next release. "




    She offered to send me the new version of any maps that I use, and she also included a beta version that supports SD cards in the email. WOot!
  9. #9  
    Sounds like a really good developer, trying their best to make a decent app given all the RAM problems of the Palm devices. Very cool idea, hope they figure out a way to get the RAM footprint down to 2MB or so while viewing maps, otherwise they're dead in the water unless Palm decides we weren't kidding about wanting 128MB Treos and mid-level PDAs.
    Treo 755s in good condition available on ebay for $50-$75. No need to pay for insurance or buy a Pre.
  10. #10  
    It runs just fine (the beta version, anyway) off the SD card - and you can store your date there also. No RAM storage needed.
    Shneor
    Pre 3 on T-Mobile, 32gb Touchpad
  11. Micael's Avatar
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    #11  
    Apparently they have a new (final) release out that supports storing maps on your SD card. Haven't looked at it yet, but considering.... I'm actually wanting something that allows for driving directions, so this may be just a distraction. It looks cool though.
  12. #12  
    I'm not sure it does driving directions, but yes it stores maps on the SD card fine.. I have 20M of maps on mine.. If you zoom out to 110 (100?) miles I can see several counties around my city, after 85s or so of waiting for it to render it.. It's pulling data from 6-7 maps from the SD card to do this, so it is pretty smart.

    Zoomed closer in it's much faster.. I think they should do some multiple levels of maps, detail, coarse detail, major roads, something like that.. But still it'd have to read all the map files I guess.

    I just wish the search was better, if there's a "Dove Run Road" you have to search for "Dove Run Road" from what I've been able to notice, although once it did provide me a list of similar names. Not sure what gives there, but seems every time I search it can't find a road until I spell it out verbatim for what it has in its map data.

    And no locality stuff in my area unfortunately.. No restaurants, bars, etc.. Not sure where they get that info, but I'm not in a major metro so it's not too surprizing.

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