June 19, 2006
MapPoint 2006 Targets the Mobile Professional
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Welcome to GISWeekly! MapPoint 2006 was recently released, building upon the success of its predecessor, MapPoint 2004. All the functionality of 2004 is in the new release, plus a number of new features. Read about it in this week's Industry News.

Also, GISWeekly's new Discussion Boards include topics such as Intergraph, ESRI, and Autodesk MapGuide. Post your questions or concerns on these boards and help to get some discussions going.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

MapPoint 2006 Targets the Mobile Professional

by Susan Smith

MapPoint 2006 was recently released, building upon the success of its predecessor, MapPoint 2004. All the functionality of 2004 is in the new release, plus a number of new features.

Robust features focus on getting from the desktop to mobile, so, as Alex Daley, technical evangelist for Microsoft, explained, MapPoint 2006 is both an application for the business professional and the mobile professional, extending beyond the core data visualization functionality that characterized the previous version.

One of the primary new features is the data visualization tool, which includes the ability to use the map and the GIS information in order to make quicker, faster, better decisions. One of the more obvious uses for MapPoint 2006 is as a powerful tool for businesses who want to gain some insight into their data and make decisions regarding placement of their new offices or retail establishments based upon this knowledge.

Obviously MapPoint works completely seamlessly with all the Microsoft Office products. A territories file that a sales manager would have for example, in an Excel spreadsheet, can gain additional value. You can tell MapPoint that you want to choose your sheet sales by territory it will automatically bring up the Excel spreadsheet and create territories for it and create polygons quickly. It will also let you see and edit and manage the territories you have for your sales force. "In addition to bringing in that data from Excel I can also push data back out so I can easily bring up my territory manager and just add a new territory. I can say I want to add Iowa, Missouri and Mississippi, and
can export that back into Excel," demonstrated Daley.

MapPoint 2006 also allows you to get some insight into the data related to the various territories, using the data mapping wizard. The wizard will let you take those territories, and correlate them back to some sort of statistical information. "I can choose a sized pie chart to get an idea what my accounts look like," Daley pointed out. " I'll go back to this same spreadsheet. MP sales data. I have a list of actual sales total for each salesmen in the territory, in dollar figures. I've got sales actual sales projected. When I bring it up, it will actually let me choose which of the statistical information I want to show, and whether I want to show it by country, or by a pre-defined set of
territories." Even if you're not doing it in pre-set territories and if you want to see sales by state or city in a particular area, you can see projected growth in certain areas. and can use this information to learn how to better deploy your sales force, or how to engage with accounts, etc.

"Because of the data management I can make simpler decisions, and have this experience on the go. I can have hundreds or thousands of territories and import any type of data I want, can import shaded areas, zip codes or census data, population density, etc., and can add multiple layers."

The Location Finder tool is great for those who might be in a city for business, who want to schedule meetings and places to eat near their hotel. The Locate me tool uses your WI-FI signal to geolocate you without the use of a GPS!

There are 4.6 million pieces of point-of-interest information available for search on the map. Pockets Streets allows you to make custom maps in MapPoint and export them to your mobile device. "Once I've got a location, I can actually use MapPoint 2006 to calculate the route to actually get directions to the location but also, to act as a navigation application now," said Daley. With this feature you can type in the names of restaurants, coffee shops, meeting locations that you might need during your day, and plan out a route using the GPS tracking.

There is a new GPS task pane that takes in information on your current location given by your GPS device. You can also use the GPS pane to recalculate a route from your GPS determined location. "MapPoint will engage the GPS device that's on my computer - it works with any NIMA 2.0 compliant GPS so many already on the market will work just fine with this software. You can also use the SiRFstar 3 chipset, a USB download that you just plug into your computer (retail version) for instant GPS tracking on your machine for just $50 more than the standard version of MapPoint 2006. This is an improved version over what's been in our Streets and Trips GPS products," noted Daley. "There is
higher sensitivity in the GPS that works inside a car, and in very dense urban areas."

It is also possible to start the GPS tracking with full tracking and to arrange the map view automatically, and also the rotated heads-up view to watch it go as a north facing orientation using the driving guidance functionality. W hat this means that as the car turns, the map will turn. You can create GPS trail data so you can track the route that you've driven. Also included are voice prompted directions so you can turn them on and off as needed, and repeat the instructions.

This tool provides you with full turn by turn navigation guidance as well as data visualization, and enterprise data management capability.

"It will detect when you're off route and will allow you to recalculate the route from there," Daley said "If I see a traffic jam ahead I can pull up a new route from the off route location. I can also skip stops, move ahead to my end destination. If I decide not to stop for coffee I can just keep on going and recalculate my route from there. It supports full multi waypoint routing so I can put in 10-30 destinations if I wanted to plan out whole days' activities, en route from one to another."

Another very cool feature is the ability to explore the location to which you're going in more depth. You can see what the restaurant you're going to looks like by hitting the button on the toolbar for
Windows Live Local (Live Local is not incorporated directly into MapPoint, but the "show in Windows Live Local link" works completely offline and online) and it will bring up a visual of the restaurant.

Daley said that MapPoint has the same trip guide information that you find in other packages which include distances and journey durations, but it also includes cost estimations and highway construction information. Highway construction updates can be downloaded free and connect out to Microsoft's web service. This information can help drivers to avoid unnecessary delays.

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