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Interview with Angie Gulik, Product Manager: Microsoft MapPoint 2001

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 features
  • Addition of more geographic and demographic content, particularly for Canada.

  • On a computer running with our recommended system requirements, benchmark performance enhancements for MapPoint 2001, over MapPoint 2000, include:
  • 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 faster
  • 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 data.

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 MapPoint.
http://www.microsoft.com/office/mappoint/Benefits.htm

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 next version?

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 successful.

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.


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