ActiveWin: What was the development
time of Microsoft MapPoint 2001? How many people were on the development
team? Did you overcome any setbacks or set any milestones?
Angie Gulik: The Geography Business Unit consists of
approximately 70 people. They developed MapPoint 2001 over a 12-month
product cycle, which began even before MapPoint 2000 was released in May
1999. The cycle was divided into five milestone periods. Like most
complex projects, the Geography team faced many challenges along the way
including allocation of resources, and inclusion/exclusion of features
and content, while maintaining an emphasis on product quality assurance
and customer satisfaction.
ActiveWin: What new and improved
features does this version of MapPoint have over the previous?
Angie Gulik: Significant improvements were made to the 2001
version of MapPoint including:
- Point to point routing
- Increased programmability with our object model and COM add-in
- Addition of more geographic and demographic content, particularly
- On a computer running with our recommended system requirements,
benchmark performance enhancements for MapPoint 2001, over MapPoint
- Opening the application is twice as fast
- Opening a map is 3 times faster
- Copying a map is 12 times faster
- Saving a map as a web page is 4 times faster
- Finding an address is usually 3 times as fast and can be faster
depending on the density of the data searched
- Calculating a complex route is approximately 10 times faster
- Navigating the map by panning and zooming is approximately 4 times
- Creating a shaded area data map is 3 times faster
** Please see our Reviewer's Guide for full details of new and
improved features at, http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/guides/mappoint/
ActiveWin: Is MapPoint 2001 fully
compatible with Microsoft Windows Me? If not, why?
Angie Gulik: MapPoint 2001 is fully compatible with all new
Microsoft operating systems.
ActiveWin: Who would use Microsoft
MapPoint 2001, businesses or consumers?
Angie Gulik: MapPoint customers are primarily businesspeople.
MapPoint is an ideal business-mapping companion to Microsoft Office, and
useful to anyone who wants to locate business information on the map or
analyze geographic aspects of their business. Uses for the product
include targeting new customers, penetrating new markets, and
identifying trends in your business using the geographic aspects of your
We expect three specific groups to benefit the most from MapPoint:
1. Client-oriented/mobile professionals such as account managers,
delivery coordinators, service technicians and real estate agents, who
need to quickly find locations and addresses on a map, and create
customized maps to include in documents, presentations, or brochures.
2. Business managers such as marketing managers and sales managers, who
want to better understand their business performance, realize market
opportunities, and analyze their customers and competitors.
3. Corporate developers who create customized solutions that incorporate
mapping technologies and support the previous two positions.
For an extended analysis of business uses, see Who Can Benefit from
ActiveWin: How are GPS systems
supported in this release? Was this a difficult feature to add during
development? How is this set to aid users?
Angie Gulik: The Geography team is quite familiar with GPS
technologies and it was not a difficult feature to add to the new
version. MapPoint 2001 is compatible with GPS devices running NMEA 2.0
or later. The GPS device can be connected to a laptop running MapPoint,
and the software will combine to show the user their exact location on
the map as they move around a city/state/country. This feature is
particularly useful for business travelers who are orienting themselves
to a city, or mobile professionals who need to track their location for
tasks such as deliveries.
ActiveWin: If MapPoint 2002 were
released today, what features would you have included in it that were not
included in the current version? Has development already started on the
Angie Gulik: Development of MapPoint 2002 began earlier this
year. It is scheduled to ship in the spring of 2001. We have
incorporated a lot of customer feedback; usability testing and corporate
user scenarios in the development of the new version and it will contain
highly requested features. Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to
disclose information on the new version at this time.
ActiveWin: How recent is the
demographic information included in this release? Is it spread apart over
several years? Are updates available?
Angie Gulik: The demographic information, sourced from
Claritas, Inc., is updated with each new release - in this case, an
annual cycle. Mid-cycle updates are not available natively within the
product; however, users can integrate existing or new demographic
information they may have into the product with little difficulty.
ActiveWin: What is the favorite
part of your job?
Angie Gulik: The favorite part of my job is the work I do to
build and define a relatively new category in productivity software.
MapPoint is still in its infancy and I enjoy the challenges in
evangelizing the benefits it brings to businesspeople in companies of
any size. It is very rewarding to see people's faces light up when you
tell them what it can do for them, and how it can help them be more
ActiveWin: Do you have anything
else to add?
Angie Gulik: Although MapPoint is a newcomer to the business
productivity software world, it has made significant strides in making
the benefits of business mapping available to everyone regardless of job
function, company size or skill level. It provides people with the tools
and technology to easily visualize their business information in new
ways and make more informed business decisions.