RouteBuddy for Mac revealed

OK, now I understand what it is: RouteBuddy is software to turn your Mac and connected GPS device into a car navigation system. The website even explicitly suggests turning your Mac mini into an on-board computer. This also explains why you’d want to buy road maps — they’re for going places where you have no internet access.

But at $100 for RouteBuddy + $600 for a Mac mini + $100 for a USB GPS device + $200 for a flat screen + $50 for a map + installation, you’re not going to be cheaper than a Tom Tom or Garmin Nuvi, unless you already have a Mac you can repurpose.

The main problem, however, is that RouteBuddy can’t give you directions, which TomToms and Nuvis can. So is RouteBuddy then more of an editor and repository for your GPS waymarks and routes? Yes, except that you can’t export your content as KML or GPX or anything other than a proprietary RouteBuddy file, which is really just another kind of XML file, and which others can only use if they also purchase RouteBuddy (and the relevant maps). If they do, then they can indeed upload your waymarks and routes to their GPS device. But why go through all that hassle? And why, as you’re not in a car when you’re doing all this, pay for maps that you can get for free on the internet, such as Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and Google Earth? All of these can also give you satellite imagery, which RouteBuddy does not.

As for integration with Google Maps and Earth: You can indeed open a Google Maps or Yahoo Maps permalink in RouteBuddy, and you can also turn your current RouteBuddy view into the same view in Google Maps or Google Earth.

The verdict: Until RouteBuddy can give directions, and until RouteBuddy can export to industry standard file formats, this 1.0 application is not as useful to me as some fine free Mac software I recently reviewed. But the FAQ does promise “that there will be a free Routing and Intel upgrade as soon as they are available.” Perhaps I’ll take another look then. But check it out for yourself; there is a free demo available, with map data for Santa Fe.

2 thoughts on “RouteBuddy for Mac revealed”

  1. Hi,

    seeing as this entry is cropping up a lot in online searches it seems worth flagging up that RouteBuddy has changed a lot in the last year or so since first release.

    The comments above are really historical as RouteBuddy now has covered these features and is refining others. As always there are severe limitations to online mapping which do not apply to RouteBuddy.

    RouteBuddy 1.4 is the ‘Data and Device’ release and will be available soon. As usual this will be a free update.


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