MapPoint 2002 Interview
with Rik Temmink, Group Product Manager:
Microsoft Geography Products
What was the development time of Microsoft MapPoint 2002? How many people
were on the development team?
The entire development cycle (including test, documentation, etc.) for
MapPoint is around 12 months.
The MapPoint team consists of about 70 full-time staff, supported by a
number of contractors and other temporary support.
Did you set milestone periods as there were in MapPoint 2001? If so, what
The MapPoint team follows the usual Microsoft development process, which
The Microsoft development process consists of two to four periods of
coding, testing and stabilization.
What new and improved features does this version of MapPoint have over the
MapPoint 2002 is a big leap forward for MapPoint. There are three
important categories of improvements. The first one is the map, which is
totally refreshed with new road network and boundary data. The second
category consists of functionality improvements and additions, such as
the new territory wizard and drive-time zone features. The third major
category is programmability. MapPoint 2002 has a hugely expanded object
model, and we have also introduced a MapPoint ActiveX Control that can
be embedded in Visual Basic applications.
How is the new Drive Time Zone feature slated to improve efficiency for
certain users of this product?
In many scenarios, what users need is a way to figure out the “catchment
area” of a store or other facility. In MapPoint 2001, the only feature
we could offer was the radius tool, which measures distance “as the crow
flies.” The drive-time zone feature offers users a great alternative
that measures distance from a location in time it takes to drive rather
than a straight-line distance. As you can imagine, actual drive time is
often the most relevant measurement of “distance.”
Have the charts and/or maps been updated? If so, how?
The maps in MapPoint 2002 are completely rebuilt using new data from
Navigation Technologies (NavTech), GDT and others. We have also expanded
our map coverage, especially in the European version of the product.
What types of users or departments within businesses and organizations is
this product targeted for? Is MapPoint 2002 flexible to work with many
different job types?
Maps and location intelligence is relevant to many different types of
jobs or industries. We have many business analysts, sales and marketing
managers and market researchers in our user base, but we see the product
being used for all sorts of interesting and novel tasks — from detecting
check fraud in major retail operations to documenting the location of
cellular network towers.
This is one of the goals for our development team — create a standard
application similar to Office that allows the widest range of users to
bring the power of mapping technology to bear on their business.
What would be your key selling point for businesses who are looking to buy
Most people intuitively understand that “location” is highly relevant to
their business, whether it is in deciding where to locate new facilities
or in analyzing where the company is making or losing money. MapPoint
will help users visualize their business data, trends and opportunities,
and communicate their findings in an effective and natural way.
If MapPoint 2003 were released today, what features would you have
included in it that was not included in the current version? Has
development already started on the next version?
We can’t comment on future product plans and specific features that are
under development at this stage of the product cycle, but we can assure
everyone that the MapPoint product team is busy working on new products
Did the development team work frequently with different departments at
Microsoft in designing/developing this product? How so?
There are many groups at Microsoft that cooperate closely with the
MapPoint team — ranging from the Encarta team (which uses MapPoint maps
in its World Atlas product) to the Geopolitical group (which ensures
that MapPoint maps reflect the latest political developments around the
Some of our viewers may be interesting in helping out in testing the next
version of MapPoint. Is your team currently accepting applications to join
the beta program for the next product?
We aren’t currently taking applications for MapPoint beta programs.
What is your favorite part of this product?
I like the ability to export city maps from MapPoint to the Pocket
Streets mapping application on my Pocket PC.
During the development of this product was there any hilarious or
outlandish moments that stick out in your mind?
During development of the MapPoint 2002 maps, one of our testers noticed
a strange-looking label somewhere in a mountainous part of New Zealand.
The label read:
The obvious first reaction was that our map build system had gone crazy,
but after some investigation, it turned out that this was in fact the
name of a mountain in that region!
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