Travelling Palm

by Volker Weber

I wanted to tell you about Palm applications that I use for a long time, but never got around to doing so. Let's start with a longer one on applications for travellers. This is going to be long so you need to hit "More >" at the bottom once it is finished to read it all.


MetrO is the number one on my list. This program will route you through public transportation systems all over the world. A concept not very well known to our US-friends who would rather use a cab or a rental car. :-) You tell the program where you want to get on and where you want to get off and it tells you which trains, trams or busses you need to get on, how many stations to travel, where to connect and gives you a rough estimate of the time the trip will take. Since the program does not know the exact time table it cannot tell you when to start and how long connections will take.

MetrO is a small program with a large following of supporters. It is free to use, published as open source and has hundreds of data files contributed by users. This is a major point since the data is very accurate as it is supplied by locals. MetrO turned out to be so popular that it was ported to PocketPC. Highly recommended.


While MetrO is well known, Gulliver is not. This is a commercial application that caters to a specific need: Keep records of your travel itinerary - flights, hotels, rental cars. While it has databases of all airports, rental agencies, hotel reservations, you need to enter all the data yourself.

It does have some nifty feature because of its background data. Example: You enter a flight, leaving Frankfurt at 8 am arriving in New York at 11am, it knows that the the flight takes nine hours because it knows the locations of the airports and their time zones. Gulliver will insert and update your flights in Datebook and will split the appointment into two entries when you fly overnight in order to avoid spanning midnight.

I only have one complaint. It uses it's own controls to enter times. This may be nifty for someone with a 12 hour clock but not for us.


While many airlines have timetables for mobile devices, I like this one Star Alliance because of two reasons: It has a time table for all of their airlines: Flight schedules include Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Mexicana Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, THAI, United, and VARIG. Plus, it will automatically update the timetable database when you hotsync your device. Like Gulliver, this application will enter flight data into your Datebook. This one is also available for PocketPC.


Persönlicher Fahrplan, also available in English, is a a service by Deutsche Bahn for commuters and other people frequently travelling on the same route. It lets you generate multiple timetables for particular routes which you download to your Palm for easy reference.


>A concept not very well known to our US-friends who would rather use a cab or a rental car. :-)
uh huh. I only have this disease in my own country and in yours. I have used a program like this when in Amsterdam...and when I got to Lotus, my colleagues asked me what I was thinking, walking through a housing project to get to the office. Ah well.
Good suggestions, really ... maybe it even would have recommended my journey on the BART last week in SFO :)

Ed Brill, 2003-12-24

Old german proverb: "Ausnahmen bestätigen die Regel". Exceptions prove the pattern. :-) You travel a lot more than I do. Who am I to lecture here?

Volker Weber, 2003-12-24

Are you aware of any Palm applications showing airport maps (where are the lounges, where is car rental, ...)? Calculating distances between gates (in minutes) would be helpful, too.

Steffen Uhlig, 2003-12-24

Well, in the times my Palm Vx was still operational, I really appreciated MetrO as well. Now, using a SonyEricsson P800, I am wondering if there might be Symbian app for similar purposes, best of course would be if MetrO was ported to Symbian as well...
If anyone has a word on this, I'd be interested to know!

Merry Christmas to all,

Ragnar Schierholz, 2003-12-25

Steffen, check out TravelMate US for information on US airports.

jmichael, 2003-12-25

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