MapPoint .NET is a perfect candidate for a Web service because location data constantly changes. New streets get built, addresses change as people and businesses move, new points of interests emerge, bridges close for repair, highways go under construction.
With MapPoint .NET, location data is hosted by Microsoft and available instantly via the Web. Microsoft can update information such as traffic and construction by the minute, and subscribers can ask to receive alerts based on their user profiles. (These features are available through the MSN Carpoint service, which uses MapPoint .NET.) Less fluid data, such as streets and addresses, is updated every six months.
MapPoint .NET supports comprehensive data sources and spatial coverage. It features map data covering the world, can pinpoint locations anywhere on the globe and can find any street address in the United States, Canada or 11 Western European countries. Language support currently includes Dutch, English (British and American versions) French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.
But according to Michael Graff, general manager of the MapPoint business unit at Microsoft, what really sets MapPoint .NET apart from solutions such as AOL MapQuest is the fact that it’s a programmable XML Web service. It provides a level of programming control that isn’t available through a pure HTTP-based interface, and a programmable service that’s suitable for Web applications, desktop or handheld solutions, and consumer, business or wireless applications.
“Microsoft opted to design MapPoint .NET with a very rich object model not found in other mapping services,” Graff adds. “Consequently, developers can implement location and mapping capabilities in exactly the manner they want to integrate them in existing business processes.”