I'm usually pretty sceptical when it comes to upgrading software, to the point that the laptop I use to make this post is still running XP because I find it to be much faster then Vista for Windows 7. Usually an upgrade means an upgrade in turn to your processing power or suffer from a reduction in performance and / or a lot of additional features which you probably will never use.
However, I was very surprised to find that on upgrading to Autoroute 2011 there were many changes and in some cases the difference between the 2010 and 2011 mapping versions is night and day. The upgrade could not have come at a better time for us - we were entering Romania just as we downloaded the free 60 day trial version from Microsoft and you'll see further down this post just how big a difference there is between 2011 vs 2010.
I've only been using the software for less than a week, so maybe a little premature to write a full review but I wanted to detail some of the pretty big (for us) changes between versions. If you've found anything else - please use the comment section below to tell us!
UK / Western Europe Mapping
For the UK and I suspect most of Western Europe there wasn't anything 'lacking' in the 2010 version, but never-the-less the update map data is a welcome addition. The map information comes from a company called Tele-Atlas who physically drive most of the routes (or at least they did) in a similar fashion to what Google Streetview - but also recording information about the routes.
The updates are so subtle that I have highlighted the changes in red boxes for my home town of York, if you want me to do any other comparisons for your home town or a section of road you know to have changed recently let me know and I'll post them up here.
York Autoroute 2010 York Autoroute 2011
Increase in Green Spaces and Water Courses
Many areas also appear to benefit from updated water courses which makes navigation while on the road (we have Autoroute mounted on our dashboard
when driving) much easier. You can see the differences are subtle here, but not so much that I have had to highlight them, the green spaces are pretty visable and the water is about 6 o'clock on the pictures below.
Guben (DE/PL) Autoroute 2010 Guben (DE/PL) Autoroute 2011
Massive Increase in POI's
Using the same example as above, Guben which is on Germany's border with Poland, it is possible to see the massive increase in POI's that are now available - from 722 to 1,430 for the same region.
POI Autoroute 2010 (733) POI Autoroute 2011 (1,430)
Eastern Europe - What a difference!
The biggest difference in the mapping information that is available between versions comes when you venture into Eastern Europe. Two places we have visited recently we had struggled with, firstly when we visited Lithuania we found that while the mapping was generally good a lot of the water courses were missing which can make navigation and orientation difficult. We're glad to see that in 2011 these are back!
Kaunas Autoroute 2010 Kaunas Autoroute 2011
However, by far the biggest difference I can show you is a place we visited today in Romania called Sighisoara - I don't think you need any further waffle from me - the map pictures speak for themselves!
Sighisoara Autoroute 2010 Sighisoara Autoroute 2011
In terms of functionality there appears to be very little difference between the 2010 and 2011 interface, although there appears to be some slight differences in the way data saved for 2010 is imported. The main difference appears to be the mapping information, POI's and business information and therefore the routes which Auroroute plots are slightly different and possibly more accurate.
Download a free 60 Day Trial of 2011 from Autoroute by Clicking Here - You can keep your 2010 version (if applicable) installed along side it while you make a decision if it is worthwhile to purchase.