Traveling Salesman Problem
I make 10-20 sales calls (cold) per day. Three days per week I drop off literature. My prospects are saved to an Excel spreadsheet. I can re-format this spreadsheet however is needed.

What mapping software, under $500, is the best software for my laptop?

Needed features:
1. multiple waypoints/stops and optimized routing - the more the better.
2. upload waypoints from spreadsheet
3. GPS tracking functionality via laptop

Everything else, I don't care as long as it gets me from point A to B to C to D to E... and so on.

I appreciate your help and thank you in advance. This will be my first laptop GPS software.

EDIT: I live in the United States. Don't know if that is relevant....
Ken in Regina
A couple of options, depending upon how cheap you are and how well you would like the GPS program to integrate with Excel.

Microsoft Streets and Trips - really cheap ($35 or $65). Option to purchase a bundle that includes a USB GPS receiver or just the software only and use your own GPS receiver.

Pro: You can import waypoints from an Excel spreadsheet.

Con: You can't go the other direction.

Microsoft MapPoint - More expensive ($269). Software only. You have to supply your own GPS receiver (not necessarily a bad thing).

Pro: You can integrate Mappoint with MS Office very tightly, including using maps in Powerpoint and Excel charts. You can go both directions (import/export) with data in an Excel spreadsheet.

The reason I suggest that buying a seperate GPS receiver isn't such a bad thing is my bias about the best type of receiver to use with a laptop. I have two USB receivers and two Bluetooth (wireless) receivers. I much prefer the Bluetooth receivers because there is no restriction on where I place the receiver in relation to the laptop. I can place both in the optimum locations without any concern for a cable between them.

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Hello all,

I really have never worked this type of situation before, but I could use some help and preliminary research popped up this site. You all seem very knowledgeable and I hope you can help me out.

I am curious about the Traveling Salesman Problem. Myself and a friend are starting up a community organizing group and would like to use some software to help streamline some of our operations. I give the example below - and hope that someone can point me in the direction of some software that might be able to help me.

I've looked up the home addresses of every person whose last name starts with an 'S' in both a very large suburb, and also an apartment complex. Myself and my partner will go out and canvass those locations, giving a flier to everyone on the list. I'm to walk the suburb, and he will walk the apartment complex.
We won't have laptops with us, but rather all I'm looking for is a program where I can input all the addresses, and it can rearrange them in the most efficient order (a map printout would also be great), so we can save time and energy while we're pounding the pavement.

So that's where I'm at. If I were cold knocking on every house, it's a very straight forward "follow the road" route. But with the variable of who we're going for, to hopefully better our results, there may be some room for trimming. Sure, it may not help in most cases, but every little bit helps when your working with such a small group...ya know?

Thanks in advance for anyone that can help. I really do appreciate it. About