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Review: Microsoft MapPoint 2009 Europe
Marvin Hlavac
MapPoint 2009 Europe is perhaps the only, and the best, alternative trip planning software for those who still use Microsoft AutoRoute 2007. As of the time of this writing, Microsoft has not yet released AutoRoute 2008, or 2009.

While the price of MapPoint 2009 is admittedly much higher than AutoRoute 2009 would be, it still will cost you less than a PND (personal navigation device), and it is much more suitable for elaborate route planning than even the most expensive PNDs on the market today, not to mention the other many tasks that a laptop can do for us, which PNDs obviously can't.

Microsoft MapPoint is the business version of Microsoft AutoRoute. AR is a subset of MapPoint features. As an ex MS AutoRoute user, switching to MS MapPoint, you will not need to learn new software, as the look and feel is the same. The only differences are a few additional features in MapPoint, which AutoRoute never had, and functionality improvements/changes done to the program since version 2007.


MapPoint vs. AutoRoute

Pros:
  • MapPoint accepts plug-ins. There are many plug-ins available, but I will mention at least two that come to mind now:
    • Pushpin Tool - Allows for better pushpin management
    • DriveSpeed - Do you hate the slower/average/faster sliders? Then enter actual speed instead.
  • MapPoint can export to Excel -- a feature I suspect many readers of this forum may find useful
Cons:
  • New version of MapPoint releases only once every couple of years
  • More expensive
What's new in Microsoft MapPoint 2009 Europe:

MapPoint 2009 Europe map data:


Detailed street-level maps and address find capability for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

In addition, it provides some street-level coverage, but does not support address find, for Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Monaco, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia and Vatican City.

To me it is a bit disappointing that the above list of country coverage for the European edition of MapPoint 2009 is 100% identical to AutoRoute 2007 (released in the fall of 2006), and MapPoint 2006 (released in August 2006). However, the bright side is that the map data is approximately two years fresher.

Road map data is Navteq version 2008-Q1 (April 2008). The Navteq data constitutes the vast majority of the maps. TeleAtlas data (April 2008) is also included for postal codes in MapPoint 2009 EU.

Navigation map view (3D-view)


This is a new feature. Usually this feature is referred to as "3D-view" in other GPS navigation products. You may enable it in the GPS task pane, if you like it, or don't use it at all, if you don't like it.

The above two screenshots were actually taken from my earlier review of MapPoint 2009 North America, but the feature is now also in Mappoint 2009 Europe.

Automatic re-routing

MapPoint 2009 Europe, unlike the last version of AutoRoute, is capable of automatically recalculating a plotted route, if we take a detour. This feature can be enabled or disabled by users.

Voice direction prompts that include street names

The voice direction prompts in MapPoint 2009 Europe include street names. Instead of just "...turn right in 300 meters..." MapPoint will say "...turn right on Queen Street...". This is an optional feature, too. If you don't like to hear street names, the feature can be turned off.

"Pan" and "Select" tools

The single greatest improvement in usability is the integrated pan/select cursor. Left-drag to pan, right-drag to select. You no longer need to keep switching back-and-forth between the two tools when moving around the map. Saves a huge amount of clicks and mouse travel in normal usage. Nitpick: discoverability of feature.
S&T Team wrote an article about this feature: Where did the "Pan" and "Select" tools go on the Toolbar in S&T 2009?. This feature works the same in Microsoft MapPoint 2009 Europe, just like it does in Microsoft Streets & Trips 2009.

MapPoint 2009 Europe Options:


The above screenshot shows some of the new and useful features.


Related Reading

- Book: MapPoint for Dummies http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/2538-mappoint-dummies

- Review of the European version http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/2738-review-microsoft-mappoint-2009-a

- Various add-ins http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/3459-mapping-tools-microsoft-mappoint

- List of reviews http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/37-list-laptop-gps-navigation-software-programs-reviews


Questions? Comments?
Marvin Hlavac
At least one user has so far reported improved routing in the new MapPoint 2009 Europe:

MapPoint Europe 2009 routing better than AR 2007

> I'm glad to report that the routing in MapPoint Europe 2009 seems to have
> improved on that in Autoroute 2007.
>
> If you want to see some silly routes try the following in Autoroute 2007:
> London (UK) to Heysham (UK). (Seen here before, I think.)
>
> Birmingham (UK) to Ullapool (UK). You don't need any of the northern loop
> and can cut 175 miles off your journey!
Marvin Hlavac
For those who wish to try before they buy:


I just noticed the MapPoint Europe 2009 trial versions are now available on the web for download.
http://www.microsoft.com/uk/Mappoint/trial.aspx
There are 4 versions: English, German, Spanish, and Italian.
navnerd
Welcome community!


Thanks for all those fantastic info! I had long been looking for a successor of AutoRoute 2007, now I know what it's called.

However, could someone please tell me if I can import my points of interest (axe.-files from AutoRoute) into MapPoint? Thanks aheap.
Marvin Hlavac
MapPoint can open your old AutoRoute files.
navnerd
MapPoint can open your old AutoRoute files
Correct. But... I have an axe.-file from AutoRoute2007 that includes different colored pins (eg. one color for camp grounds, one for W-LAN hot spots, one for friend's places). If I open this file in MapPoint, the pins (actually several hundreds) all get the same color. This is inacceptable. Is there a way to tell MapPoint to recognise my preset pin colors from AutoRoute?
Dimitris


Hello everyone!

The review on MapPoint 2009 was really helpfull!
I would like to ask a different question though.
Does anybody know if you can get proper training from microsoft on how to use it? I have been dealing with MapPoint 2006 and everything that I have learnt is through playing around with it!
However, I would like to organise for some of my fellow employees to get proper training utilising every feature of the software...

Can anyone help me out on this?

Dimitris

MapForums
Dimitris,

I've done on-site MapPoint training for several different companies over the years. I finally settled on teaching out of the MapPoint for Dummies book. Although we end up spending some time flipping through the pages and aren't as focused as say if we used a tight workbook, the people getting trained get a sense of what's in the book and walk away with a good reference they are not as likely to throw away as a 20 page workbook.

Also, at least half the time training is always (so far at least) working with the company's data, helping them explore the options in MapPoint and different ways to look at the data.. sort of like a workshop. No matter how much I prepare, we always come up with new ideas during the workshop sessions.

Other training materials

The help file tutorials are pretty good and detailed, the sample data directory is installed whenever you install MapPoint.

Microsoft Learning Suite --
http://www.microsoft.com/emea/education/learningSuite/schools/researchandrecord/mappoint.mspx

Exploring the World, see TIP OF THE WEEK --
http://www.mp2kmag.com/update/?id=4
http://www.microsoft.com/education/mappoint2002tutorial.mspx
This says 2002 but it also applies to all later versions including MapPoint 2009.

Mini-tutorial --
http://www.mapforums.com/evaluation-resources-mini-tutorial-mappoint-6399.html

The web sites below are not organized as a tutorial for learning, but contain a wealth of information about MapPoint.

MP2Kmag.com is an online e-zine with lots of articles.

MapForums.com is a very active forum for users and developers of MapPoint.

There is also a Wiki at MapElves.com.

hope this helps!
Eric
Marvin Hlavac


Eric, that's very useful info. Thanks. And here's where to order: MapPoint for Dummies

I have an axe.-file from AutoRoute2007 that includes different colored pins (eg. one color for camp grounds, one for W-LAN hot spots, one for friend's places). If I open this file in MapPoint, the pins (actually several hundreds) all get the same color. This is inacceptable. Is there a way to tell MapPoint to recognize my preset pin colors from AutoRoute?
The following thread may help: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/1032-template-old-style-pushpins-streets-trips-2009-mappoint-2009-a

If you have more questions on the topic of the old pushpin symbols, please post it to that thread.
MapForums
Thanks for pointing out that order page.

We don't have that many in stock actually, last time I ordered a box of 20 directly from the publisher - Wiley. I think it came to $20 per book, about the same price as we sell the individual books.

Eric
thx1138
Hi,

thanks for the website and this review.

I'm using this post to ask a question concerning this version.
Anyone knows how to change the instructions language? The ones that are printed on screen and are read by the text-to-speech engine.

I'm asking this because, as you stated, it's a very nice addition to have the software read to you the street names, BUT... there are many street names in Europe that are NOT in english! And it's a bit confusing to have to listen to a strange english accent for every street in each instruction.

Well, I thought I could change that by having a different text-to-speech voice in my language, and having the text changed.
So far I managed to have mappoint speaking the instructions with another text-to-speech engine, but this time I get the instructions in a strange accent... How to change this generic lines like "turn right at..." ???

Thanks,
Joao
Marvin Hlavac
Hi Joao,

Welcome to Laptop GPS World.

Beside the English version of MapPoint 2009 Europe, there are three other language versions of the product: German, Spanish, and Italian.

To the best of my knowledge there is no way for users to switch the language of the user interface for example from English to German. The only way to access German GUI is by installing the German version.

I have never tested a non-English version of Mappoint Europe, so I cannot tell you about the text-to-speech component.
thx1138
Thanks for the welcome and answer,

I wasn't talking about the GUI only, but of a change of the textual driving instructions that is other than the (G)raphical part of the UI.
Somewhere in the files there has to be stated the strings e.g. "turn left at...". I'm just trying to see if anyone has the knowledge to do it in a easier way than a "hexadecimal search&replace"...

Thanks for the help,
joao
taoyue
That's exactly what Marvin means. Strings like "Turn left at" are considered part of the GUI.

Mappoint actually goes beyond GUI localization, and localizes some of the data as well. For example, certain cities and regions, especially in Germany, are named differently in different language versions (e.g., "Bavaria" in English Mappoint, "Bayern" in German). This can be both good and bad.
notonpar
Can you tell me how to use the left click and mouse to create a box to zoom into with the mouse pointer, like in Microsoft AutoRoute, I can't work out how to do it.
Regards
Danny
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