Product Review

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August 28, 2008

We live fulltime in our 30 ft class C motorhome. I learned early on to eliminate *all* unnecessary weight, and that included those big campground directories we used to have. So, I was delighted when asked to review this CD from They call it “The Ultimate RV Parks and Campgrounds Directory.” “With more than 50,000 National & State Park Campgrounds, Public & Private Campgrounds, RV Resorts, Military FamCamps, RV Dealers, Camping Supplies, Truck Stops & more …” It is sold online for $49.95. You can download it immediately, or you can order the CD to be mailed to you. Either way, the fee includes 1 year of free updates to the listings.

I don’t know why, but I was expecting a self-contained directory with it’s own user interface, but instead, it is a compilation of Points of Interest to add to your GPS navigation device or trip planning program. For us that’s even better since we have our GPS mapping software running all the time we’re driving. Loading this data as points of interest (POIs) in that program will make the data very accessible to us. However, if you don’t have such a device or program, this CD won’t do you much good.

Installation for's Campground DirectoryMy husband, Jim, does most of the planning with our Navigation software, Microsoft Streets and Trips, so I asked him to install the CD on his computer and put it thru some paces.

Installation: When you run the setup program from the CD you are given several choices of what to load and where to put the files. The documentation and support files take 114MB then you choose files for your device or mapping program.

Garmin users have 2 choices. One for the Nuvi 3xx family, which moves the descriptions to the top, and Standard for the Nuvi/StreetPilot/Zumo family GPS devices. Note: You need the latest POI Loader to load the files on your Garmin GPS.

Partial Listing of POI files for TomTomMagellan, TomTom, Navman have individual files and there is a generic file for other GPS devices. There is a choice for Delorme Street Atlas and one for Microsoft Streets and Trips.
I chose the Streets and Trips option for this review.

The included documentation is well written and easy to understand. There is a separate instruction file for each supported GPS device. The process of installing the files on individual devices varies greatly. You will need the manual for your GPS to complete the documentation and successfully load the files.  There are completely different files for the different devices.  .GPX and .GPI files for Garmin, .OV2 and .ASC files for TomTom.  That’s a lot of conversion work already done so you can easily transfer the data to your GPS device.  The listing at left is just a partial listing.

Streets and Trips Files: There are two ways to load the information into Streets and Trips. The setup program gives you a complete map file that can be opened directly which includes all the included Points of Interest. Or, you can use the Import Wizard to import data from the individual files in the CSV folder that is created by setup. I prefer the individual file import. There is less clutter and I get just what I want. The complete file is impressive, though.

The Information: There is a tremendous amount of information included in the files. We did a little spot-checking and found all the parks we had just visited in New England were listed, with the correct contact information.  But, we looked at our home park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and it showed up in the CoolRVToyz info as ‘Buglewood RV Park.’  We happen to know that it hasn’t gone by that name in many years.  It’s had the name Paradise Island RV Resort since at least 2003.  The phone number listed was also incorrect.

When you click on the link for more info, the link takes you to, and its listing for the park, not the park’s website. A feature to correct inaccuracies is promised, but not yet implemented.

Many of the POIs on the CD are already included in the Microsoft Streets and Trips program. I expect the same is true for other programs and GPS devices.  And, there were still some missing that we use all the time – like Thousand Trails and Resorts of Distinction.  These are membership parks, and only available to members, so I can see why they wouldn’t be included, but we found a POI file for them on Discovery Owners website and we use it all the time.

Most, if not all of the information on the disk can be found for free on the web, if you want to search – and tweak. If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you’ll enjoy browsing POI-Factory.  The Technology Corner in the forums is a good place to get information too. Don’t expect everything to be up to date, though. And it will take you many days to get as much as is on the CD.

I recommend downloading the limited free demo version of The Ultimate RV Parks & Campgrounds. Then you can try it for yourself and see how it installs on your GPS!

Chris and Jim Guld

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  485. Sam,

    Updates are free for the first year and $19.95/year after that. That’s not very clearly mentioned on the site, so I’ll take a look at correcting that.

    We’re very pleased with Chris’ review. It was honest and unbiased, and that’s what we wanted. We think we have a great product, even if it’s not yet perfect. You can be sure however that we’re working hard to make it even better.

    Happy RV’ing …

    Phil King

  486. Sam,
    Updates are free for the first year – I didn’t see a mention for after 1 year.

  487. Sam

    Thanks for this review. I’ll have to look into this product. Any idea how easy updates will be? And if updates are free?

  488. Lisa Salvy

    Woodall’s directory now offers a free CD Rom with the purchase of their campground directory. We had some problems with our one that came with the 2008 Directory, but I’m going to try it for 2009 because I think Woodall’s has the most campgrounds of anyone. And I’ve always RV’d with my Woodall’s bible.

  489. Andy

    Sounds like you can get most of the POI’s from Your mapping program, Streets & Trips, Street Atlas & Discovery owners & save $50. I also use Trailer Life Campground CD which has all the Campgrounds along with rateings listed in their book. Have to buy that, but it’s good for more than one year.