Maptitude is the ideal MapPoint alternative for developers

This is a guest post by Stewart Berry, Director of Product Management at Caliper Corporation, in which he introduces Maptitude – the software designed as direct replacement for Microsoft MapPoint.

MapPoint discontinued

MapPoint developers are scrambling to find a solution that is, at a minimum, functionally equivalent to MapPoint. Maptitude is not only the best direct replacement for MapPoint (more…) but adds an extensive range of capabilities that MapPoint users have been requesting for years. Maptitude also includes a suite of software extensibility tools (more…) including those for routing and geocoding.

MapPoint developers should familiarize themselves with Maptitude as soon as possible. Not only will the data shipped with MapPoint 2013 become increasingly outdated and unreliable, but Microsoft support for MapPoint will be discontinued as of July 2015 (more…). MapPoint developers will face tough competition from the early adopters of the Maptitude platform.

Some of the critical issues to consider when evaluating the move from MapPoint to Maptitude are:

  • Maptitude is an alternatives that can be incorporated into ActiveX/COM/.NET environments
  • Maptitude has COM and .NET interfaces
  • Maptitude has a powerful geospatial macro language (GISDK)
  • Maptitude has a much more sophisticated API than MapPoint had
  • Maptitude supports a routing API
  • Maptitude is the only viable MapPoint alternative

Maptitude is a little slower than MapPoint when calculating routes, but in many ways it is much more flexible. The speed of the Maptitude route calculations is being significantly improved over the short term to better support the needs of ex-MapPoint developers.

Microsoft alternatives

While Bing Maps is useable from VBA via REST Web services and has some nice features (e.g. real time traffic displayed in a map) and is extremely fast when calculating routes, it simply does not have the flexibility that a classic Win32 or Win64 desktop application has. There is a Bing Maps Control which has more flexibility, but it is not offered for ActiveX. It is only provided as a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Control, and so it does not work with VBA or even a .NET Windows Form. Plus it is obviously not usable in an offline scenario, which is critical in privacy sensitive industries such as banking and healthcare where uploading data to the cloud is undesirable.

Microsoft’s other alternative is Excel Power Map. Power Map can display some nice maps, but it is relatively limited in what it can do (i.e. plot excel data on a map.) In addition, the online Office subscription will be a barrier to many people. The product does not seem to be a focus for Microsoft and there is little literature on it, which given what happened to MapPoint should raise some red warning flags for anyone planning on it for the long term. It should be noted that Maptitude can also create 3D heat themes (more…).

The Bing and Google solutions are far too expensive for most routing applications (which are almost by definition commercial in nature.) As would be expected, Bing Maps is very similar to Google Maps. It is a lot more programmable than MapPoint and it is more ‘hip’, but it is web based (and many MapPoint users prefer desktop), while the subscription model is expensive for business users. In fact, it is so expensive for routing that developers of the most popular MapPoint add-ins have already invested their resources in porting their plugins to Maptitude. Examples include MileCharter and MPMileage from Winwaed (more…).

The Maptitude alternative

The Maptitude 2015 .NET APIs been updated to allow MapPoint developers to migrate their MapPoint desktop applications and add-ons. Maptitude provides an integrated set of GIS tools and spatial data that can be utilized by your product to add capabilities such as geocoding and routing.

Maptitude includes the GISDK (Geographical Information Systems Developer Kit) at no additional cost. The GISDK Extension Engine API allows developers to write extensions in .NET, and there are C# examples here; and from this page you can browse to VBA/COM and Python code samples. The software comes with extensive documentation on the GISDK language structure and for over 1,000 GISDK functions.

Whether you writing in-process, without the need to learn a new programming language, or developing an out-of-process stand-alone Windows desktop application, Maptitude is a robust and flexible solution that is the ideal replacement for MapPoint.

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