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Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 2 months ago

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DeLorme's Macintosh heyday

The DeLorme company is based in Yarmouth, Maine. Founded in 1976, they started out publishing paper atlases. They branched out into digital mapping and imagery in the 1980s, and introduced the "Street Atlas USA" mapping product for personal computers at that time.


Their Macintosh product was innovative and unique. (That word is used intentionally; there was nothing else like it on the market.)


DeLorme took the market one step further by making their "Earthmate" GPS receiver compatible with Macintosh. They accomplished this by means of a simple dongle that allowed the standard 9-pin PC-serial connector to plug in to the modem port on "Old World" Macs. They contracted with Karen Nokamura, a software developer and leather biker in New Haven, Conn., to produce the module that would allow GPS signals to auto-locate on Street Atlas USA maps.


The OS X wipeout

In general BSD Unix was a good thing for Macintosh. It was a disaster for MacSAUSA.


Requiring a complete rewrite of the software, DeLorme decided it was not economically viable to revise Street Atlas for the new OS X platform. So, Macintosh Street Atlas USA v. 6, released in early 1999, was the last.


As a testament to its endurance and to the general longevity of Macintosh applications, MacSAUSA 6 is still run by some Mac users. They run it on machines still booting up in OS 9.x or earlier. Some run it in the Classic mode under OS X. It still works, with a few minor glitches. The maps are outdated, but still useful in many cases.


The Future

Former MacSAUSA users don't know what to do with DeLorme in 2006. Some were angry that the company abandoned a platform that has seen little love from GPS and mapping companies. Others remain hopeful that the re-emerging market for mapping and GPS applications on Macintosh will entice DeLorme into developing a new product. Time will tell.


(This branch may be developed.)


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