Microsoft has been publishing Autoroute for years. It actually started out as a tool for businesses that Microsoft purchased and turned into a more consumer friendly product. It’s been through a few ups and downs, but for the 2006 edition Microsoft seems to have reinvented Autoroute in an attempt to capture what is becoming a real growth market – GPS based navigation.
You get several applications in the package. The core software is Autoroute 2006 itself, and is for your PC or laptop, but you also get Pocket Streets for both Pocket PC and Windows Mobile Smartphone.
Pocket Streets is not a fully fledged piece of navigation software. It can display a map you export from Autoroute 2006, and your position can be plotted on that map if you attach a GPS antenna to your device. You can find places including points of interest, but you can’t get routing directions between two places. Think of it as a very feature limited supplement to the main Autoroute software, and you’ll be OK. If you are looking for Pocket PC or Windows Smartphone based navigation software, look elsewhere.
If you already have a GPS antenna of some sort, you can get the software alone for under £50. When you consider that Autoroute 2006 includes mapping and navigation across 27 European countries this sounds like something of a bargain. If you need to purchase the version that includes the GPS antenna, the kit will set you back £149.99, which is still very competitive.
Note, though, that the mapping data is not consistently strong across all 27 countries. You get street-level maps and address find capability for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland (south-central only), Germany, Greece (Athens only), Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, and Wales), as well as for urban areas of France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and United Kingdom (Northern Ireland).
In addition, AutoRoute provides some street-level coverage, but does not support address find, for Channel Islands, Czech Republic, Ireland, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Slovakia, and Vatican City.