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Microsoft Prepares To Launch MapPoint 2002

SpatialNews is pleased to pass on to our readers details of a pre-release discussion we had with the Microsoft MapPoint development team. Look for MapPoint 2002 to offer key new features for both end users and developers including: Updated data, additional functionality, cartographic enhancements, programming via ActiveX controls, and integration with Office XP The company is simultaneously announcing MapPoint® 2002 North America and MapPoint 2002 Europe, which will cover most Western European countries and will be available in five European languages.
April 23, 2001 -- This morning GeoCommunity staff had the pleasure of being formally introduced to Microsft MapPoint 2002 by Rik Temmink Group Product Manager, and BJ Holtgrewe, Senior Product Manager Microsoft Corporation. MapPoint, now in it's third official release, has been developed by Microsoft's 90 person development team. Temmink tells us that mapping is not really anything new to the company and that the geography team was developed in 1995 when Microsoft acquired UK based Nextbase. The team is organized around two efforts, The Core maps and mapping technologies (responsible for Expedia Maps Encarta World Atlas) and Geo applications utilizing the core maps and technologies (MapPoint, Streets & Trips in North America, AutoRoute in Europe, Pocket Streets).

Scheduled for a May 31 release, clients upgrading to MapPoint 2002 can expect to get the following out of this release:
- Updated and expanded map content and demographic data
- Greater map customization
- Application programmability via ActiveX control, extended object model and Add-ins
- Tighter integration with Office XP
Particularly exciting about this release is the provisions for programmability through an extended Object Model, COM support, an ActiveX Control, and tight integration with Office XP (XP offers Context-sensitive smart tags provide speedy access to relevantinformation - more info about XP here).



Some key features of MapPoint 2002
  • Over 6.4 million miles of routable roads in North America
  • Over 4.8 million kilometers of roads and streets in Europe
  • In excess of 70 measures of demographic data
  • Creates and licenses highest quality spatial and demographic data from GDT, NavTech and Claritas
  • Create territory wizard enables users to create custom areas from existing data or manually.
  • Custom designed push pins
  • Charts on maps, including pie charts, shaded circles, and column charts.
  • Integrate MapPoint functionality into line of business applications and custom solutions
  • ActiveX control
  • More comprehensive object model
  • Improved support for COM Add-Ins
  • Tighter Office XP integration
  • Incorporate maps into everyday work
  • Take data from Excel, Access, Outlook or Word
  • Include maps in documents, email messages, presentations or newsletters
  • Office XP Smart Tag technology
  • MapPoint buttons on Office application toolbars

Users can create custome drive time zones with MapPoint 2002

When asked about the multiple versioning required for North American and European based users, Temmink notes that developers will be provided with an ActiveX control allowing users to quickly switch between US and European versions. MapPoint and custom app's are now easily customizable by taking advantage of existing VB programming skills - no custom programming skills or third party add ons are required. Like many GIS developers and map product users, I'm always curious about the data that comes bundled with software and once again it appears that a real strength in the MapPoint product lies in the data. In the North American version, more than 100,000 miles of road data have been added to the database of 6.4 million miles of streets and users will also find 3 digit zip code data now available. The most recent demographic information has been provided by Claritas and CompuSearch. In total, the product ships with an impressive 65+ gigs of compressed data! The European version is shipping with 4.8 million kilometers of roads and streets in the data base and includes address matching in all of Europe. MapPoint 2002 Europe has significantly improved data for Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.

"...Making maps is real serious for us" Rik Temmink, MapPoint Group Product Manager

Pricing and Availability

MapPoint 2002 North America and Europe will be released to manufacturing on April 23 and will be generally available at the end of May. The product will be available from Microsoft resellers, Microsoft licensing programs and at http://shop.microsoft.com/ at an estimated retail price of $249. Current license holders of MapPoint 2000, MapPoint 2001 or Office XP (any suite) are eligible for a $50 (U.S.) or $75 (Canadian) rebate when they acquire MapPoint 2002. European pricing will be comparable but will vary per currency and is subject to currency exchange rate fluctuations. The ActiveX component may be licensed separately, with pricing to be released later this year.

Purchase MapPoint 2002 from Amazon.com

Click Here to view the official MapPoint 2002 News release from Microsoft

We'll be receiving our evaluation copies of MapPint North America and Europe very soon. Once we have time to test drive the latest release we'll be glad to pass on some more information to you. Stay tuned!

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