Customers Picture Business Information in New Ways with MapPoint 2001

REDMOND, Wash. — March 22, 2000 — As the president of Media Marketing, Inc., James Theall is particularly interested in the increased programmability of MapPoint 2001, the latest version of Microsoft’s business mapping software. His Boulder, Colo.-based company manufactures imMEDIAte, presentation software products based on Microsoft Office for planning and managing media advertising campaigns.

“We’re really happy with MapPoint 2001 because it has quadrupled the number of objects that are accessible via our programming model,”
Theall said.

For example, Theall said, if an advertiser wants to place a zoned ad in a certain area, the salesperson can do an analysis on the MapPoint map by overlaying the paper’s distribution numbers with a particular county or zip code that the advertiser wants to target.
“The radius tool in particular is very important to us, because one of the things we’ve added programmatically to MapPoint is the ability to analyze a radius around a store,”
Theall said.

In a few mouse clicks, a salesperson can tell the advertiser precisely how much the ad will cost, and MapPoint also provides salespeople with a great way to quote rates. They can show their clients visually, and in a tabular report, the value of what they’re buying.”

MapPoint 2001, a member of the Microsoft Office family of applications, was released to manufacturing on March 15. The software allows customers to visualize business data effectively by using high-quality maps and demographic information that seamlessly integrate with work already done with other Microsoft Office applications. Because MapPoint incorporates familiar Microsoft Office tools, menus and features, customers find it easy to use the product right out of the box, without a lot of time spent in training.

“MapPoint 2001 responds to what we’ve heard from our business customers –they want familiar and easy-to-use tools to help them visualize and communicate their information more clearly,”
said Michael Graff, MapPoint’s product unit manager. “Our goal is to improve daily productivity and decision-making for business people where location is an important factor in their work. We provide them with detailed geographic and demographic information that helps customers see their business data in a whole new way.

MapPoint 2001 provides users with a complete set of geographic and demographic data, eliminating the need to purchase additional information before being able to work. Highly accurate address matching is accomplished through the use of street-map information licensed from Geographic Data Technology, Navigation Technologies and Compusearch Micromarketing Data and Systems — leading providers of digital map data for the United States and Canada.

David Sonnen, president of Integrated Spatial Solutions, Inc., and International Data Corporation’s senior analyst for spatial information management, estimates that about 20 million business users find maps or other geographic information at least somewhat important in their jobs.

“In our market research, we’ve found significant enthusiasm among businesspeople for using maps and geographical information on a daily basis,”
Sonnen said.
“MapPoint 2001 has the potential to increase the use of spatial information in the business community by solving a couple of problems. One is ease of use. The interface is familiar — it’s Microsoft Office. Training time is basically zero. The other thing MapPoint has done that’s really significant is that it’s dropped the price of high-quality data. All of a sudden, this very high-quality data is available very inexpensively.”

New MapPoint 2001 features include increased programmability, allowing for customization of the application for specific business solutions, and detailed street address information for Canada, including data for every postal code in the country.

Other new features of MapPoint 2001 include:

  • More demographic data — MapPoint now contains 240 categories of data for large to small areas throughout the United States and Canada, and more than 40 categories of data for other countries worldwide.

  • GPS support — MapPoint now supports Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, so users can see and track their locations on the map while mobile.

  • Business listings and travel planning resources — MapPoint now contains hundreds of thousands of listings for businesses and attractions across the United States, including hotels, restaurants, conference centers, gas stations and retail businesses.

  • Routing — MapPoint now includes a fast routing feature that allows users to get detailed maps and driving directions with multi-destination routing.

MapPoint 2001 is expected to be available in retail stores in early April at an estimated retail price of $249. Microsoft is also offering a MapPoint Technology Guarantee, which enables people who acquire Microsoft MapPoint 2000 between March 15 and May 31 to automatically qualify for an upgrade to MapPoint 2001.

As the manager of International Insurance Administration Services in Tacoma, Wash., a company that handles warranty service for a U.S.-based PC manufacturer, Mike Dickover uses MapPoint to create maps that show service coverage among his subcontractors around the country. These service coverage maps are posted on the company’s intranet, and local customer account managers use the maps to assign service technicians to each service call.

“When a customer calls us with a hardware problem, we have to dispatch a repair company,”
Dickover said.
“In order to determine which of our subcontractors will handle the job, we refer to the maps we’ve created with MapPoint. The maps show us which service area a customer falls within.”

“We had a wish list when we were using MapPoint 2000, and that has all been addressed with MapPoint 2001,”
Theall said.
“There are even things we hadn’t thought of that the development team put in that we’re very happy about, like the driving and routing information, which is incredible.”

“Essentially, MapPoint 2001 turns information into insight,”
concluded Graff.
“It gives people an entirely different way of looking at data.”

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