Public Geodata

Maps in the 21st century

Navigon

Navigon is a Germany based producer of GPS devices, starting out in 1991. With offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, the company employs more than 400 people.

Navigon introduced several firsts into the world of navigation. In 2000, for example, Navigon launched the first navigation software to be used on the pocket PC.
In 2002, Navigon was the first to provide Traffic Message Channel (TMC) avoidance measures on a sat nav. The Traffic Message Channel is basically a hidden code embedded into a normal FM radio signal, digitally encoded and picked up by the navigation device, alerting the user to potential traffic black spots.
Navigon offers a service called lifetime traffic where the customer pays a one-off fee for constant access to the TMC.

Functions and limitations

Even on the earlier 5100 model the map view is configurable, so the user can turn everything on the screen on or off, e.g. speed cameras, ETA, current speed, street names etc. This means that the user can reduce the clutter on screen or have more details as they see fit. The voice is reasonably pleasant and actually goes as far as saying “please” before every direction.
However, in dense urban environments the 5100 has been known to struggle. The nice sounding, but delayed voice directions sometimes coming too late if the user is in the wrong lane in a busy city. Other noted problems were the touch screen keyboard size, making address entry fiddly and the maps not being very clear.

Looking at the Navigon 40 Premium, the package includes an improvement on the original “reality view” with the Active Lane Assistant, where the user can see an animated schematic of motorway junctions, showing them which lane they should be in.

Overall, some innovative functions yet not quite competing with the level of practical functionality experienced with the TomTom or Garmin models.

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