spacer2 1_1 1_2
 The MP2K Update!
Front Cover
What's New
Sample Data
MapPoint 2013
Press Releases
MapPoint Forums
Link to MP2Kmag
Wish List
MapPoint Trial
 Earlier Content
Past News Items
Past What's New Announcements

MapPoint 2013

Programming MapPoint in .NET

MapPoint Book

  Spatial Community
SVG Tutorials

Map Visitors


Roll Your Own Commercial Routing System with MapPoint

Matt Fritz shares his experience developing a routing application including discussion of MapPoint's strengths and limitations. The articles includes several screenshots illustrating the various components of the routing application.


Everyone is familiar with vehicle routing from point A to point B, perhaps applying additional criteria like ‘highway or scenic’, routing around known construction areas, and perhaps inserting a stop (waypoint) or two along the way. But suppose you needed to route 100 vehicles to 3000 locations where the list of locations changed daily, many locations had a ‘time window’ dictating an acceptable arrival time, the amount of time spent at each waypoint varied, and the total duration of each route needed to be no less than 8 hours but no more than 8 hours.

Commercial vehicle routing adds a bit more complexity to the routing problem. Solving this problem through software as been the elusive brass ring, in part because there is no ‘right’ answer – only a set of ‘best compromises’. Commercial routing systems usually offer a toolbox rather than a black box solution, (regardless of marketing claims to the contrary). Commercial routing is often a partnership of tools and human intervention.

MapPoint 2006 offers many of the core tools needed for this kind of routing – many but not all. That’s no surprise because MapPoint has been built and promoted more as a business intelligence tool to render graphic representations of business data. For example MapPoint 2006 doesn’t support multiple concurrent route creation from a pool of thousands of waypoints or routing around streets and highways designated ‘no commercial traffic’. (You can solve these issues on your own (kind of) but they’re not supported out of the box. Let’s see what the next version brings).

When charged with writing a commercial routing system for a wholesale distributor I employed the MapPoint 2006 map control and extensive API into a VB.NET application. This enables the application to deliver core routing functionality, including:

* Geocoding – automatic address matching and manual locating
* Calculating route/stop distance and duration – estimated arrival/departure times
* Performing ‘perimeter searches’
* Employing custom pushpin icons to indicate customer delivery criteria at-a-glance
* Employing pushpin balloons to display order information at-a-glance
* Providing a good map experience at low cost

Note for this application the routes are not created by MapPoint but rather using a collection of drag/n drop tools. MapPoint is then employed to calculate data about the route and display routed and un-routed customers on a map.

Batch Geocoding Customer Addresses with MapPoint and Other Sources

The foundation of any routing system is accurate geocoding. The quality of customer address data can be anything from ‘OK’ to dismal (rarely is it good) and address matching itself is part science – part fuzzy logic. When attempting to geocode many thousands of customers at one time (like for an initial data load) the results can be disappointing and even misleading. MapPoint returns a ‘result quality’ value to rate the result of an address match but even a high confidence result doesn’t mean you’ll like every location it chooses. Manually confirming the locations chosen by MapPoint for 10,000 locations would be an arduous and error-prone task.

For our initial batch geocoding of all customer addresses we opted to use an on-line geocoding service from Tele Atlas called EZ-Locate. It also returns a ‘results quality’ for each match plus the lat/long. We accepted the lat/long into our database for all results with the highest result quality value.  (We experienced a 90% percent good match rate – your mileage may vary). All others where flagged as ‘not geocoded’ for the end-users to manually locate using our routing application with embedded MapPoint tools. The manual process took less time than anticipated and served as a good learning exercise for the end-users.

Geocoding New Customers with MapPoint

New customers are initially flagged as ‘not geocoded’ which tells the routing software to geocode them using the MapPoint API. Again the application automatically accepts high quality results and leaves remaining customers flagged as not geocoded for the end-users. The difference here is the small number of new accounts each day which makes it easy to verify or manually locate.

Manually Locating / Relocating and Updating DatabaseLat/Long

Geocoded Customer Records with Lat/Long and GeocodingSource

A Proximity Search Function (Who’s Nearby) Helps with Manual Geocoding

Route Creation 

The routes are manually created using drag/n drop tools. Once created the route locations (route start, route end, and waypoints), and the waypoint duration times are passed to MapPoint – not to change the sequence of waypoints but rather to generate data about the route passed to it, including arrival times, mileage, and total route time, including to and from the warehouse depot (the real first and last stop).

We couldn’t let MapPoint create the actual route for several reasons including lack of support for roads designated ‘no commercial traffic’. However this turns out to be a non-issue because the distance and elapsed time between two locations is approximately the same regardless of which streets are used. Considering other unknowns like traffic and weather makes the whole issue moot. Arrival times are approximate.

MapPoint Waypoint Arrival Times and Mileage Calculations

Business Intelligence

Commercial routing and related data like customers and sales can generate tons of historical data and MapPoint is a great BI tool to render that data on a map. My application didn’t take advantage of MapPoint’s BI abilities but yours can, including combining your business data with demographic data from MapPoint and third party sources. An image can be worth a thousand reports to logistics, sales, and other interested parties. (The image below property of Microsoft).


Commercial vehicle routing is an interesting and complex task that is usually supported by commercially-available packages but it’s possible to write your own system customized to your needs. MapPoint can provide invaluable functional support and professional polish at a very reasonable cost. There’s nothing to it but to do it!

Discuss this story in the forum.

Author: Matt Fritz
Matt Fritz is a working .NET developer and applications manager with a lifetime of experience in wholesale distribution. He can be reached at

MP2Kmag Internet

 Recent Discussion
-SolidThinking Inspire v2016.1.5559 x64-BEAN (17/8)
-Auto FX PhotoGraphic Edges Ultimate Bundle Gen2 v9.6.0 (17/8)
-Mentor Graphics FloEFD 14.2-SSQ (17/8)
-Dlubal RFEM 5.06 (x64) Multilanguage (17/8)
-Bluebeam Revu eXtreme 2018.1 v18.x Multilingual (17/8)
-Autodesk Maya 2018.4 (17/8)
-Adobe Bridge CC 2018 (v8.1) x86-x64 Multilingual Update 2 (17/8)
-Simufact.Welding 4.0.1 (17/8)
-ANSYS Discovery Enterprise 19.1.1 (17/8)
-Aurora SPARK3D v2018
-ANSYS Electromagnetics Suite 17.1 (17/8)
-Solidthinking Inspire v2018.3.0.10526 Multilingual (x64) (17/8)
-Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2018.011.20058 Multilingual (17/8)
-ANSYS Electromagnetics Suite 17.0 (x64) (17/8)
-GibbsCAM (x64) Multilingual (17/8)
-Autodesk Autocad Mechanical 2019.1 by m0nkrus (17/8)
-Adobe Bridge CC 2018 v8.1 (x86/x64) Update 2 Multilingual (17/8)
-Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical 2019.1 (17/8)
-DS V5R22 CATIA-DELMIA-ENOVIA last hotfixes for all SP (17/8)
-VMware Fusion Pro 10.1.3 Build 9472307 (17/8)
-MAGIX Fotostory easy Germany + English (17/8)
-Ds Simulia Abaqus v6.14-4 (17/8)
-Paragon Drive Copy 15 Professional (x86/x64) (17/8)
-ARCHICAD 21 Build 3005 with Addons
Browse GIS books and periodicals
Find a MapPoint Partner or Consultant
Real Estate Columbia, MO Real Estate

Want Your Site To Appear Here?

   © 1999-2012 MP2K. Questions and comments to:
  Microsoft and MapPoint 2002/2004/2006/2009/2010/2011/2013 are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft.