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GPS and Other New Features in MapPoint 2009

Originally written for Laptop GPS World, this review of MapPoint 2009 focuses on users of GPS navigation. If you have questions about other aspects of this product, please address them to Map Forums.

In this article I take a look at MapPoint 2009 and outline the major differences compared to 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

The 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 rumours 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!

Where to buy?

Anywhere they sell it. Microsoft MapPoint 2009 is sold in many on-line and off-line stores. However, my personal recomendation would be to give your business to Eric Frost and gang here on MP2K Magazine. Beside their great price for Microsoft MapPoint 2009, they also include their MapPoint Power Tools spreadsheet and 6 mos. "Plus" membership on MapForums including access to the downloads section. Click here to buy (affiliate link).

Discuss this story in the forum.

Author: Marvin Hlavac
Email: hlavac [at] rogers [dot] com
Marvin runs Laptop GPS World, a website focused on GPS navigation on laptop computers.

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