PC USA. (geographic information system) (evaluation)
by Adam Starkweather
How many outdated atlases, dictionaries, and encyclopedias do you have gathering dust? Well, for the atlas at least, the days are numbered. PC USA, a computer atlas program available from PC Globe, offers both a graphic representation of the United States and a comprehensive database of all sorts of useful and trivial facts. Now you need never miss a question in the geography section of your favorite trivia game.
In order to access all this great information, you use a standard imitation Windows interface. Commands lined all along the top of the United States map allow you to determine which database you want to enter and the level of detail involved. You'll also find mighty helpful the small insert that describes how to run PC USA through Windows 3.0
The manual itself adequately describes installation and all the various databases, though I ran the program effectively without much preparation. You also get a complete bibliography, which proves vital when determining the accuracy and currentness of the abundant information utilized in the program.
PC USA's database contains a staggering number of facts about every state in the U.S. The information ranges from age distribution, population, ethnic groups, and education statistics to annual pay by industry, taxes, gross state products, and (my personal favorite) state songs. There are dozens more information categories accessible. Search and enjoy; the information appears to be as current as possible.
The rather lackluster relief maps of the various states disappointed me a bit. Whether the Rockies or the Appalachicans, all mountains resemble anthills,and with the exception of rivers, no real terrain differentiation shows. Also, even though PC USA utilizes music, no sound boards are supported. Finally, technical support calls aren't toll-free.
The above mentioned minor problems hardly mar the most comprehensive and useful geographical database I have seen. PC USA's applications seems as numerous and varied as the people who will use them, and I can't recommend this program more highly. Now,if I could jut find something to replace those clunky volumes of encyclopedias.