Review: Microsoft MapPoint 2009
Got my copy today. Provantage destroyed the box by sending it in a bubble mailer. :-? So no pictures from me. We'll wait for Eric's.

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.

This feature doesn't quite make up for the lack of scrollwheel-zoom-on-cursor-location, but narrows the gap in usability. This one change should get written down in the UI design handbooks to show how a tiny change can make for great improvements in user happiness. I'm happy. Hope to see more fit-and-finish work in future versions. Further nitpick: Still using the old Office 2000-style Mappoint program icon?

Users of 7-inch EEEs and other UMPCs will not like losing another 20 pixels of vertical screen real estate to a new status bar. Take note of the System Requirements: 1024 x 768 is now the minimum supported resolution. 800 x 600 is now out (and 800 x 480 was not supported anyway).

I'm a big believer in "UI should feel natural." For substantive features, I'll defer to Marvin's invariably comprehensive review. Rather strange for Mappoint to beat Streets & Trips out the door.
Marvin Hlavac
Yes, surprisingly Microsoft MapPoint 2009 has been released a few weeks before Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009. And honestly, all the MapPoint users do deserve this "earlier" release, since they've had to wait for this update for over two years, since May of 2006, when MapPoint 2006 (the North American version) was released.

What has changed since MapPoint 2006?

MapPoint 2009 Map data

MapPoint 2009 now has approximately 2 years fresher map data than the previous MapPoint 2006 version. In the North American version of MapPoint 2009, beside the usual USA and Canada data, I now see a huge improvement in Mexico. While the address find feature is still not functional for Mexico, the country now does contain street-level map coverage for even many smaller towns. Are you planning a vacation in Mexico soon? Microsoft Mappoint 2009 is the only GPS product that I'm aware of, that actually does include navigable map data for popular tourist destinations including locations such as Acapulco, Ixtapa, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

Full-screen navigation mode

Full screen navigation mode was not present in MapPoint 2006. It was introduced later in Streets & Trips 2007, and now the feature is in MapPoint 2009, too.

For those who don't know: Microsoft Streets & Trips is a subset of Microsoft MapPoint. Streets & Trips is a consumer product costing about $30 (software only). Mappoint is the business version of the product. It includes demographic data for business analysis. MapPoint can be programmatically controllable (unlike S&T). Mappoint costs approximately $300.

Streets & Trips releases a new version annually. MapPoint updates less frequently. Last two versions were MapPoint 2006, and MapPoint 2004.

Estimated Drive Time feature

Same as the previous feature - not in MapPoint 2006, but introduced a few months later in Streets & Trips 2007. Now MapPoint 2009 users can finally enjoy it as well. Hmm, but is anyone using MapPoint for GPS navigation? Likely not too many, since Streets & Trips is so much less expensive, and it updates annually.

Integration with Live Search

Again, not in MapPoint 2006, but I've used this feature numerous times in Streets & Trips 2007 and 2008. This is a very handy feature that uses online database to search for POIs (points of interest). The problem with the earlier Streets & Trips implementation was bad geocoding (in my experience). The new implementation of this feature in MapPoint 2009 has corrected this issue.

Reverse Route option

A click of a button can reverse the order of stops in the Route Planner pane. This feature was added to Microsoft Streets and Trips 2007, and now it is also available to Microsoft MapPoint 2009 users.

Navigation map view (3D-view)

This feature was introduced in Streets & Trips 2008. It was then called "Perspective map view". There were problems with it, and the feature didn't become popular. Issues reported by users have been addressed, and it appears to be usable now. I had a chance to briefly test to today. It works as it should. This feature is optional. Turn it on if you like it, Don't use it if you don't. I personally do like it. The first picture above shows MapPoint 2009 with the feature off, and the second picture is me driving home with the feature on.

Automatic re-routing

First introduced last year in Streets & Trips 2008. Most users liked it, but some users said they wanted the ability to turn it off. Microsoft understood the concerns involved, and the new implementation of this feature in MapPoint 2009 allows users to turn in off, or keep it on.

Voice direction prompts that include street names

This feature is new to MapPoint 2009, and it will be new even to Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009, when it releases some time in September 2008. Previous versions would simply say: "Turn right",the new version will say: "Turn right on Main Street".

"Pan" and "Select" tools

Originally Posted by taoyue
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?

The following are random new items located in MapPoint 2009 Options:

There is no longer the need to visit online communities to read about rumors of upcoming update. Your Mappoint 2009 will automatically notify you when MapPoint 2010, or MapPoint 2011, or Mappoint 2012 becomes available.

Remove the check-mark if you just cannot stand Microsoft Anna mispronouncing the name of your street.

I see truckers, RVers, and others sending thank-you cards to Microsoft for not making the auto re-route mandatory.

This feature will make many people very happy! Start GPS when program starts! Finally!

Nice touch, Microsoft!

Related Reading





Questions? Comments?
Does anyone see that there are way less symbols/pushpins in 2009 vs 2006. My co-worker has 2006 where he has more than 250+ pushpins vs my 2009 only has 45. I have found the work around by adding custom pushpins one at a time, however they do not stay put next time I open MapPoint. I found the work around for that as well by saving a "Blank Template". I would have thought 2009 would have had more pushpins than 2006 not less. I need all 250 for the work I do and the workaround is kinda ridiculous. If anyone has any feedback please reply.

Thank you,
Attached Images
File Type: bmp pushpins 2009.bmp (127.2 KB)
Marvin Hlavac
Hi Bergyver,

:welcome: to Laptop GPS World!

Yes, thanks for pointing out the missing pushpins. I wasn't aware of it at the time of doing the review. Thanks Tao for the link! Also, there is now a free downloadable template that contains old & new pushpin symbols. You can use this template to replace the default template in MapPoint 2009. Here's the link: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/1032-template-old-style-pushpins-streets-trips-2009-mappoint-2009-a

There are a couple of other items worth mentioning:

* Back & Forward buttons are gone. It is no longer possible to go back to previous map view using this feature.

* Location Sensor doesn't need to be enabled. Lat/long is visible in the status bar.
Marvin Hlavac
MapPoint 2009 Europe is now available on MSDN downloads, and it should also be in stores soon, if not already.
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