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MapPoint Automation with C/C++ - Part 1

This is the first of three articles by Sergey Kostrov on automating MapPoint with C/C++ starting with a simple C/C++ application.

A Simple C/C++ Application

As a C++ software developer I’m very surprised by the lack of documentation from Microsoft about MapPoint Automation with C/C++. It looks like Microsoft wants to “move” everybody to the “.NET Universe” and completely ignores some reality of the world when some C++ programmers don’t want to give up…

On MP2Kmag there are already a couple of articles related with automation of MapPoint from an application written in C++. In Part 1 of my article I would like to demonstrate what should be done to initialize MapPoint and then how to use MapPoint’s COM API.

I assume that you use Microsoft Visual C++ and to simplify development I also recommend using Type Library mpna82.tlb because it gives lots of advantages and increases productivity. With that approach you don’t have to do low-level COM programming. If you’ve installed the MapPoint application to a default folder you can find mpna82.tlb file at the C:\Program Files\Microsoft MapPoint folder.

The main goal of this article is to help you at the beginning and as soon as basic things are clear all the rest is easier. This article is not intended to teach you how to do C/C++ programming or what OLE Automation is, and should be considered as a set of recommendations.

Here are source codes for a simple C/C++ application that initializes MapPoint, finds an address, puts pushpin and saves a map on the hard drive.

///// ComInterfaces.h /////

#ifndef _COM_INTERFACES_H
#define _COM_INTERFACES_H

#pragma once
#pragma pack( push, ComInterfaces )
#undef EOF
#import "C:\Program Files\Microsoft MapPoint\mpna82.tlb" no_implementation
#pragma pack( pop, ComInterfaces )

#endif

///// ComInterfaces.cpp /////

#include "ComInterfaces.h"

#pragma once
#pragma pack( push, ComInterfaces )

#import "C:\Program Files\Microsoft MapPoint\mpna82.tlb" implementation_only

#pragma pack( pop, ComInterfaces )

///// MapPointApp.cpp /////

#include "ComInterfaces.h"
…
MapPoint::_ApplicationPtr g_pMapPoint = NULL;
…
void main( void )
{
CoInitialize( NULL );

g_pMapPoint.CreateInstance( "MapPoint.Application" );
g_pMapPoint->Visible = true;
g_pMapPoint->PutWindowState( geoWindowStateNormal );
g_pMapPoint->PutCaption( "MapPoint 2004 is in Automation Mode!" );
g_pMapPoint->PutUnits( geoKm );

_MapPtr myMapPtr = g_pMapPoint->ActiveMap;

FindResultsPtr resultsPtr = myMapPtr->FindAddressResults
(
	“400 Coronado Dr”, “Denton”, "", “TX”, “76209”, geoCountryDefault
);

VARIANT idx;
VariantInit( &idx );
V_VT(&idx) = VT_I4;
V_I4(&idx) = 1;
LocationPtr locAddressPtr = resultsPtr->GetItem( &idx );
PushpinPtr pinAddressPtr = myMapPtr->AddPushpin( locAddressPtr, "Your property is here" );

pinAddressPtr->PutSymbol( 57 );					// Red triangle ( big )

pinAddressPtr->BalloonState = geoDisplayBalloon;
pinAddressPtr->Highlight = true;
locAddressPtr->GoTo();

myMapPtr->ZoomIn();

myMapPtr->SaveAs( "C:\\$MapIsHere", geoFormatHTMLMapAndDirections, false );

pinAddressPtr->Highlight = false;
pinAddressPtr->BalloonState = geoDisplayNone;
pinAddressPtr->Delete();

myMapPtr->Saved = true;

g_pMapPoint->Quit();
…
CoUninitialize();
}

A few comments and recommendations

  • As you can see source codes are very straightforward and even if you don’t have any experience with C/C++ programming it takes little efforts to study the example;
  • Take a look at two compiler-generated files mpna82.tlh and mpna82.tli. These two files are an invaluable source of the information because all interfaces, smart pointer typedef declarations and enumerations described there. It is very useful to run this example under the control of the Visual C++ Debugger in order to see how it actually works;
  • In the example we save a map on the drive C: in the folder $MapIsHere and MapIsHere.htm file can be used to view the map in an Internet browser. Enclosed are also two pictures that give you an idea how the results look like in automated MapPoint and Internet Explorer:


(click on the image to view the full screenshot)


(click on the image to view the full screenshot)

Discuss this story in the forum.

Author: Sergey Kostrov
Email: sergeykostrov(AT)hotmail.com
Sergey Kostrov is a Senior C++ Software Developer with 4NF Systems Inc.



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