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  1.    #1  
    The new Earthcomber beta has some nice new features, if you're not on the beta test list you should get on it.

    Over The Air map and data download. YAY!!

    Set My Location which lets you set where you are in the world by state/county, landmark, etc, and if necessary, will download map/data via OTA interface.

    New spot guides, including free movie information for a lot of areas.

    It has new water features (requires installing NYC map with said features in the map data to test this).

    If you're a little scared of what files to install, I personally just installed the new earthcomber.prc, landmarks.pdb, and movies pdb's. I didn't install the NYC maps to test the water (yet, might do that at another time).

    No new bugs so far, although dbcache does present the normal limitations when it comes to the OTA interface.. Low dbcache can lead to a crash when downloading a large map. Otherwise it works great. It does download directly to ram, so you might be limited in that way. You can of course move it to the SD card using the built-in utility for that. Or you could download it in Blazer using the mobile interface at as always.

    I wish they'd add routes to the map instead of just textual instructions, and colorizing My Groups to make them easier to spot. Plus the ability to UPDATE maps and data would be cool. All are logged as wishes, maybe they'll happen in 2.3, but perhaps the next release.
  2. #2  
    I've been using earthcomber for a few weeks and it's nice because it has turn by turn directions and I can put maps on my SD card. I have about 20 maps on my 256mb SD card. I was able to mark gas stations, shopping, ATM's etc. I'm looking to get GPS soon.
  3.    #3  
    I have maps of all the areas I travel in my state and nearby places as well. Nice thing with the new beta is that if I don't have a map onhand I can download it over the air now. Yay
  4.    #4  
    Oooh the movies thing is really nifty.. Pick the Movies - Popular list (adjusting search area if necessary; I believe the default is pretty small), pick which movie you want, it lists out the theatres. The information for the entry lists all the playtimes for the following week. Sweet!
  5. #5  
    How well does this work with GPS? Could it replace tomtom or mapopolis for casual use?
  6.    #6  
    It works great, and it's free. It's not TomTom. It doesn't have voice guided directions, doesn't have point-of-view type screen directions, and right now it doesn't have turn-by-turn directions on the map (they're text instructions) but that last one is being corrected in the next release they say.

    Check it out, remember, it's free! Sign up, pick the cities you want to install, install the Desktop updater program (Mac, Win, and Linux available), put in your login info, and let it download the maps. I believe the Windows version can install directly to the SD card. I personally download the maps, then copy them to my SD card.
  7. Tmair's Avatar
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    379 Global Posts
    I like earthcomber it is a great program, the two things I whish they would do is mark the route on the map as duscussed above, and make the map rotate to course up with a GPS, that would be great if they would do that I am not sure I would use mapopolis at all.
  8.    #8  
    I might file a suggestion to rotate to match direction of travel.
  9.    #9  
    Earthcomber 2.4.16 is released! The Earthcomber Updater will download it for you next time you update.

    Major new features (copied/paraphrased from beta test emails)

    Set My Location: You just landed at some airport and you didn't get Earthcomber maps ahead of time. Using Earthcomber's new "Set My Location", you can locate yourself on the map using thousands of landmarks throughout the United States or by browsing through the states to Cities.

    Maps and Data When You're Out: Using the "Set My Location" feature, you can download maps and data directly to your device into ram or the SD card. Downloading to the SD card is very dbcache friendly and very stable.

    Spot Guides: We've added to our catalog of spot guides a couple of timely and very useful FREE spot guides, including Movies on the Move. Movies on the Move is an excellent companion to the movie theaters with showtimes that are now available in the normal Earthcomber data layer. This means that theatres show up on the map, or you can comb through to find the movie you want to see and find the nearby locations. You can also view the Movie Spot Guide and go directly to the map to comb for the closest theatre after reading up on the movie you're interested in.

    Other changes are the removal of the 100 map limitation, more stability, faster combing, and water and park features in maps. Text, code, and usability cleanups, and possibly more I've missed.
    Last edited by khaytsus; 08/05/2006 at 11:59 AM.
  10.    #10  
    By the way, here's a tip for those of you who keep your maps on the SD card and have a card reader handy..

    A much faster and easier way to update the maps/data on the SD card is to use the Earthcomber Updater Alt-L command, which lets you set the type of sync to do. If you set it to a "Basic" setting (sorry, Linux here, not sure of the exact wording for Windows) you then get a button on the ECU screen for "Choose Folder" to which you can set your SD card /palm/launcher directory. Then ECU will update the maps/data directly to the SD card very quickly, no slow hotsyncing of the data.

    The only caveat to this is that you have to delete the Earthcomber files in ram, or the data they contain can go stale (the files on the SD card might be newer, but Earthcomber continues to use the ones in ram). When I run the ECU, usually while it's doing it's thing (about a minute typically) I launch the ZLauncher file manager, sort by Creator, scroll down to Ecmb, select group, de-select the Earthcomber shortcut, then delete all. However, you might want to deselect some other files, such as Directions, Spots, and OnTheCard. Or you can do what I did.. Have Earthcomber.prc, Directions.pdb, OnTheCard.pdb, and Spots.pdb in ram and all the other Ecmb-owned files deleted from ram, and then use ZLauncher to move the files to the card including all databases (0 size or greater). Then those important databases are kept on the SD card and copied in each time. Then when you delete the files to update data as mentioned above you can select the group then just de-select Earthcomber. Plus it saves about 90k in my case.

    The more I read this, it sounds complicated, but it's really not. I run the ECU about once a week and it takes about 60s to do that and about 10s for me to clean out the ram to be ready for the new data while it's running.
  11.    #11  
    Are you a geocacher? Or just have lots of waypoints? Use GPSBabel or some other program to create a gpx file, then use the Alt-I command in the Earthcomber Updater to point to that file. The waypoints will upload to the Earthcomber website into your Inbox, ready for moving/copying into whatever group you like.

    I have a group for dining in my local area (stuff that isn't covered by Earthcomber already, mostly fast food or small places), a group for Benchmarks (geological waypoints for mapping/surveying), and a group for each major city I visit often (including the one I live in of course) with all the Geocaches included in those cities. Earthcomber makes driving to a cache quick and easy. At least I can see what road I need to get to in order to go hiking, etc.

    Only problem with this is maintenance. The easiest way to update the spots on the website is unfortunately deleting the group, deleting all the locations (which have been placed back into your inbox), creating the group again, then uploading the new data, then moving them back into the group again. Hopefully this situation will improve, but it's not *too* bad, I plan on keeping my waypoints up to date every month or so, and doesn't take much time compared to gathering the data to begin with really.

    If the Earthcomber website already has your waypoint, it won't upload twice. So if you have 20 waypoints, upload them, and only 17 show up, it's likely the other 3 are already there. Such as in geocaching, I might get a 20 mile radius from a town which overlaps with another town. Those overlapping waypoints are going to get duplicated, and Earthcomber simply ignores them. Just something to keep in mind, as it confused me at first.

    As far as I know, if a waypoint already exists it won't update, simply is ignored, but I should test this to see... If it updates, that reduces a lot of the maintenance mentioned above.

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