In today’s world, where technology is integral to almost every facet of our lives, maps have become a key navigation tool. Before the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets, MapPoint was a dominant mapping software that individuals and businesses used for navigation.
Developed by Microsoft in 1999, this mapping software allowed users to edit, view, and create maps using custom data for further analysis. While its primitive operations are subpar compared to modern-day navigation apps like Google Maps, it was sufficient for navigation at the time.
In this article, we’ll look closer at MapPoint’s history, how to use it, and its alternatives today.
History of Mappoint: A Journey Through the Evolution of Digital Mapping
In the late 1990s, a team at Microsoft led by product manager Richard Sussman developed MapPoint. Richard believed this mapping software was crucial to businesses and individuals at the time, and they could employ it in various business sectors.
Before the start of the twenty-first century, Microsoft made the first release of this mapping software for users’ personal and business use. After a positive reception in the tech market, Microsoft updated the software in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2009. These updates continued until 2013, then Microsoft discontinued its usage in December 2014.
Nonetheless, MapPoint impressed users during its initial launch as it was the first of its kind. According to a New York Times article, this mapping software sold over 400,000 copies, making it a top-selling consumer application in the 2000s.
Furthermore, business owners must pay a one-time fee of $250 to access its exceptional mapping and visualization features. Some of them include the following.
- One of the first GPS technology
- Route planning tools
- Territory visualization and reports
- Mileage time and expected time of arrival
- Digital image exports, and many more
These features took the market by storm and continued to dominate the market. Its updates leading up to 2013 included essential features for users to enjoy a better mapping experience.
6 Steps on How To Use Mappoint
MapPoint can help you map better, create territories, optimize stops, and analyze data. Also, it combines mapping and data analysis tools that are simple to use and deploy for your business. You may wonder how to utilize this mapping tool. Well, consider these steps on how to use MapPoint.
Step 1: Install Mappoint Software
Before you can utilize MapPoint’s mapping services, install its software on your computer. You can purchase MapPoint software from Microsoft or a third-party retailer. Afterward, install and run it on your desktop.
Step 2: Create a New Map
After successful installation, you can create a new map from MapPoint’s file menu. You can also select a map type on MapPoint, such as a road map, data map, terrain map, and political map. Your preferred map type will display on the area you want to map.
Step 3: Add Data
MapPoint allows you to add data from Microsoft Excel, SQL Server, etc. Navigate to “Data” from the menu and select “Import Data.” You can then choose the file you want to import, and MapPoint will display it on your desktop for further analysis.
Step 4: Customize Your Maps
After importing your data, MapPoint offers customization options after importing your data by adding pushpins, labels, and shapes. The use of pushpins helps you mark a location on the map and add additional information about it.
You can navigate to the “View” menu, select Toolbars, then Drawing. You can click on the pushpin symbol, point to the location you want to pin, and click to apply the pushpin on that location. You can also edit the pushpins’ color, label, and size.
Step 5: Optimize Routes
Aside from importing and customizing maps, MapPoint offers an excellent routing feature that provides the best route between multiple destinations. Select “Route” from the menu to optimize routes and click “Route Planner.”
You can input the address of the locations you want to visit. Click “More options” to check elements that will optimize your route further. After, MapPoint will calculate your best route and provide turn-by-turn directions.
Step 6: Save Your Map
After working, you can save your map and share it with others on MapPoint. Go to the “Save As” option from the file menu, and choose the file type you want to save your map as. You can also share your created map with other users.
Is Mappoint Still Available Today?
The answer to this question is No. Although the software still exists, Microsoft hasn’t released any update since 2013. You may wonder what happened; here is what transpired regarding MapPoint.
The early 2000s was exciting for Microsoft to show the world they could be the leading giants for the next century. However, that optimism was short-lived as Google, another revolutionary tech giant, stepped into the picture. Despite Microsoft’s early lead into the tech market, the competition with Google was not intense until the following decade.
As Google started developing its search engine and mapping service, Google Maps, Microsoft diverted its resources into developing Bing. Microsoft believed Bing Maps would provide a fierce direct battle with Google Maps.
However, this vision did not yield better results for Microsoft. Furthermore, Microsoft discontinued MapPoint services in catering to its users. By 2014, Microsoft released a closing statement urging its users to adopt Bing Maps. Yet, there was a problem. Bing Maps catered to the needs of the general populace but lost the potential business market that its predecessor once held.
5 Common Mappoint Alternatives
Indeed, MapPoint offers excellent routing capabilities, customization, and data analysis. However, after its discontinued use by Microsoft, several alternatives have raised their games to provide similar features and even advanced capabilities. Here are five common MapPoint alternatives available today.
Google Maps: A Reputable Alternative to Mappoint With a Wide Range of Apis
Google Maps is a leading location-based service that offers a range of APIs and tools for developers to create custom mapping solutions. It provides impeccable features such as geocoding, multiple-stop route optimization, and real-time traffic updates.
As a MapPoint alternative, Google Maps has earned a global reputation as several industries utilize its services in their navigation operations. Using Google Maps’ custom tools may require technical expertise and is incredibly expensive. Still, you can get the best custom mapping solutions unavailable anywhere else.
Bing Maps: An Excellent Mappoint Substitute That Microsoft Provides
Bing Maps is a revolutionary mapping service that Microsoft provides its users. Bing Maps allows users to find directions, view satellite imagery and build custom maps. It also offers custom APIs for developers seeking to integrate Bing Maps into their applications.
Microsoft developed Bing Maps as an alternative to MapPoint to keep up with the competition from Google Maps. It continues to provide excellent mapping solutions to users worldwide.
Maptitude: A Strong Mappoint Competitor That Provides Beneficial Mapping Features
Maptitude mapping software is another excellent MapPoint substitute that provides excellent mapping features for individuals and businesses. It offers route optimization, territory mapping, and demographic analysis. It also allows users to integrate and overlay various data forms to acquire new insights and make proper decisions.
You can create maps on Maptitude from spreadsheets and other external data sources, including Google Maps KML files.
Maptive: A Premium Mappoint Substitute That Provides Cloud-based Services
Maptive is a robust, cloud-based mapping platform allowing you to quickly and easily create custom and interactive maps quickly and easily. Everything is done online with Maptive, and you require minimal effort to operate its platform. It is user-friendly and accessible to businesses of all sizes.
You can also import data from various sources and utilize the range of data visualization tools on Maptive to enjoy better decisions on geographical data.
Esri Arcgis: A Remarkable Mappoint Alternative That Offers Spatial Analysis
Esri ArcGIS is a geographic information system software offering various tools for spatial analysis, data visualization, and mapping. This alternative to MapPoint provides route optimization, geocoding, 3D visualizations, and sharing location-based insights.
Esri ArcGIS is popular among businesses and organizations as it uses its tools to understand a region’s geographic data. Its cloud-based services allow you to collect and manage data efficiently and securely. Also, you can utilize its developer tools for building custom apps for mapping and analysis.
Final Thoughts: Get the Best Mapping Solutions With Mapize
MapPoint had an incredible start in providing highly-functional mapping services and visualizations in the early 2000s. It offered excellent features such as demographic analysis, territory mapping, and route optimizations available to businesses.
Due to its discontinuous use by Microsoft, users had to turn to alternate mapping software such as the ones discussed in this guide. These MapPoint alternatives offer similar and advanced features like web-based and cloud-based mapping, real-time data integration, and user-friendly interfaces.
Mapize is another powerful web-based mapping software that offers advanced features that businesses and individuals can utilize. With Mapize, users can create custom maps, import data from various sources, and share maps. It also offers various data visualization tools like cluster maps and heat maps.
Its advanced mapping software is user-friendly and requires little to no technical expertise. Regarding pricing, Mapize offers excellent plans to suit different business needs and budgets. However, these plans vary in terms of mapping features available on them.
If you want to make better decisions based on geographical data, you can’t get it wrong with Mapize. Endeavor to join Mapize today and create your first custom map for free.