iGuidance v4 Embedded into RoadRunner

Published by Andrew Hreschak in the software, the navigation
Published on 11/24/07 @ 10:23:00 am using 943 words, and has 18411 views

It was long past due getting rid of Microsoft Streets and Trips and replacing it with iGuidance on the car computer. Don’t get me wrong, S&T is a more-than-decent GPS mapping application, but it falls short in two very important areas when it comes to being used in a mobile computing environment. Specifically, it has very small navigational controls and poor rerouting functionality. Streets and Trips is a great application when running on a small 12- or 13- or 14-inch laptop screen, but when running on the small 7in or 8in touchscreen typical of most carPC installations, the navigational controls are very difficult to manage, especially considering the fact that you’re behind the wheel of a ton of moving steel while trying to navigate the GPS screen. It’s bad enough some of us engage in cellphone conversations or eat breakfast while driving. We don’t need the additional distraction of hunting down minutely-sized buttons on a dashboard mounted touchscreen…

…so I decided, at long last, to integrate iGuidance v4.0 into the Acura ITX mobile computer…

iGuidance embedded GPS mapping software

The iGuidance v4.0 application comes with three versions of the program on the installation DVD (PocketPC, Laptop, & UMPC/Car PC). For use in the carPC system I chose, obviously enough, the UMPC/CarPC version. Installation is fairly simple, finishing quickly and requiring a reboot of the computer prior to first-use.

Anxious to see iGuidance running within the Acura ITX skin environment, I made copies of my skin screens from the MS Streets and Trips skin and set about embedding it properly into RoadRunner, rewriting the necessary loading screen to include iGuidance. To be clear, RoadRunner is designed with embedding iGuidance in mind. As such, configuring RoadRunner to handle iGuidance in “native” mode allows for loading iGuidance

B06,403,060,150,101,"LOAD;EXTERNAL_GPS_IG.SKIN;;C:\Program Files\iNav\iGuidance\iGuidanceUMPC.exe;iGuidance||GETFOCUS",""

into a GPS skin/screen and displaying the application nicely embedded in whatever region is defined as an “Application” region in that GPS skin/screen:

/, A, x, y, w, h, color R;RGB, G, B

Notice the ‘x’ and ‘y’ coordinates are set to ‘-1′ and ‘802′ respectively. This forces the edges of the iGuidance window to be hidden from view, essentially off the screen.

Next I fired up RoadRunner, then accessed the new iGuidance embedded within it. By default, my copy of iGuidance was embedded without the title and menu bars across the top of the iGuidance window, essentially running in full-screen. The elimination of the top menu bar comes with setting iGuidance to “native” mode within RoadRunner. In this case, full-screen is defined as the region which is assigned as an Application region within the RoadRunner application. In the Acura ITX skin, the Application region begins below the header bar containing the time and date and number of locked satellites, etc, and ends immediately above the function buttons in the menu bar across the bottom of the screen. It is defined by the “A” area listed above.

One nice feature of the CarPC version of iGuidance is the presence of on-screen Zoom buttons on the left and right sides of the screen, as well as a Minimize/Maximize button in the bottom-right area of the screen, beside the volume muting button. As you can see, the GPS map view contains fairly large buttons which are easy (and safer) to access while driving. The blue button to the left of the map view gives access to several levels of menus and to the various options and customizations available within the application. One might ask if having to navigate menus and submenus within iGuidance makes its operation more hazardous when done while driving, or whether the fact that the iGuidance title and menu bars are, by default, hidden, makes the application difficult to navigate to begin with. Well, if left in its default state, it might, even though the on-screen menus are quite large and easy to read at quick glance while driving.

However, we can easily change our access to iGuidance functions and further embed it within the Acura ITX skin interface in RoadRunner. The method involves the creation of Visual Basic SENDKEYS commands to be used with our menu buttons. This is a good solution, and is the method I chose for embedding Microsoft Streets and Trips into RoadRunner when it was, unfortunately, the only GPS software I had.

iGuidance embedded GPS software functions menu

I set about building three separate screens for iGuidance, each with distinct menus, to take advantage of the built-in keyboard shortcuts which iGuidance provides. By default, iGuidance v4 ships with the following keyboard shortcuts, shown here in Visual Basic SENDKEYS format where applicable:

Show Main Menu: ENTER or {ENTER}

Show Current Location: C
Toggle Fullscreen ON/OFF: F
Mute Guidance Voice: M
Toggle Orientation: N
Toggle POIs ON/OFF: P

Toggle 2D/3D Mode: 3

Enter Destination: {%F}E
Save Current Location: {%F}L
Cancel Current Route: {%F}C

Set Speed Alert: {%T}SS
Toggle Fog Alert: {%T}SF
Show Route Options: {%T}R
Show Display Options: {%T}D
Guidance Volume: V or {%T}V

Show Almanac: A or {%V}A
Show GPS Info: G or {%V}I
Show Map View: {%V}M
Show Guidance View: {%V}G
Show Route List: R or {%V}R
Show Trip Info: T or {%V}T
Show Weather Online: W or {%V}W
Zoom In: {%V}Z
Zoom Out: {%V}O

iGuidance GPS mapping software music screen

With my custom iGuidance screens built to take advantage of these keyboard shortcuts, and the iGuidance map’s color-scheme hacked to my liking via a theme.ini file, I set about assigning SENDKEYS to the menu buttons in the screens into which iGuidance will be embedded, then hit the road to put the new embedded iGuidance to a quick field test…

Contemporaneous Auditory Narcotics:
or, What my speakers are currently pumping…
Paranoid User - Cryptic Audio [CPT001]

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1 comment

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02/08/12 @ 02:38