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 Friday, March 26, 2004
Special Issue - MapPoint Location Server 
The MapPoint Location Server (MLS) was announced on Monday at the CTIA Wireless 2004 in Atlanta and special workshops for MLS were held on Tuesday in San Francisco during a special event at Mobile DevCon 2004. The purpose of this special issue is to answer your questions about the MapPoint Location Server: what it is and how it fits into the scheme of MapPoint products.

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In this issue, we describe the MapPoint Location Server and publish a FAQ answering common questions. An extensive round-up of MapPoint Location Server news from this past week and the latest discussion forum topics complete this special issue.

Eric Frost
Editor, MP2K Magazine
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MapPoint Location Server
by Eric Frost, March 25, 2004

MapPoint Location ServerMicrosoft has prepared quite a number of documents announcing and describing the MapPoint Location Server including the press release, this product brochure and the FAQ below, and I have no intention of re-creating or rehashing everything here. However, I do want to share some points of interest and firstly I want to describe MLS is not.

Contrary to what you might imagine, the MapPoint Location Server is not a third MapPoint product for creating maps (the first two being the MapPoint desktop product and the MapPoint Web Servive). There is no street data or landmarks in MLS and tellingly MapPoint was not even part of the name when it was discussed as a future product in past months, these being Microsoft Enterprise Locations Server (MELS) and Microsoft Location Server (MLS).

In a nutshell, the MapPoint Location Server hooks into a mobile carrier's network to enable an organization to track the location of the company's mobile phones. Microsoft intends to provide blades or plug-ins for each mobile carrier who participates (thus far it's Bell Canada and soon Sprint) to abstract the details of the connection and expose a common interface or API to the developer. The product is intended to be used in tandem with the MapPoint Web Service (MWS) and the licensing scheme makes this attractive (an MWS license is required for MLS, read more in the FAQ). However, integration with MWS is not necessary; the Pechter's press release for instance talks about integration with MapPoint 2004. MLS can be integrated with any GIS or mapping platform that may be in use within an organization. MLS is not a Microsoft-hosted service like MWS, it is installed and housed at the organization.

Some examples of organizations who would benefit from this technology include a news organization with mobile trucks and reporters which could use MLS to direct them in real-time to breaking news; a taxi company which could use the platform to match call requests and available drivers more efficiently and send alerts to "fares" when the taxi gets close to the pick-up spot; and a bakery company with a fleet of trucks performing deliveries and needs to respond to last-minute orders and match with trucks with the right product onboard which are already already enroute (see Cubistix and Pechter's press releases).

MLS is said to be the first product of its kind specifically targeting the Enterprise market, although in talking with Joe Francica of Directions Magazine who was at CTIA this past week he suggests there are two or three server-based location platforms or somewhat similar products, these being Telcontar's Mobile Location Server (MLS) & Drill Down Server, the MapQuest Enterprise Server, and the Kivera Location Engine. Next week Directions Magazine will publish a special issue on Location Based Services.

Our take is that this is a significant offering in that the combination of price and Microsoft's credibility and traction with developers along with their ability to project a vision and outline business cases where this technology can be used will make this an attractive platforms for IT professionals and integrators who never before would have considered such a solution.

Some highlights in the news items below: the MapPoint Location Server was mentioned Thursday in a Wall Street Journal article; probably inevitably and in spite Microsoft many efforts to stress built-in privacy protection, one article put a "big brother" spin on the technology (Is Somebody Watching Me?); and an article from CNET suggests the recent EU ruling could affect how MLS and related technologies might be integrated with Longhorn, the next major technological advance in the Windows platform.


MapPoint Location Server FAQMLS FAQ

What is MapPoint Location Server?

Microsoft® MapPoint® Location Server (MLS) is a component of MapPoint Web Service (MWS) that allows the integration of real-time location into business and consumer applications. It supports access to real-time location from multiple sources, such as mobile network operators, and acts as a proxy between applications and services and MapPoint Web Service.

What kind of applications can benefit from MLS?

There are multiple types of applications that benefit from the integration of real-time location information such as asset tracking, sales-force automation or mobile location-based services. MLS is based on SOAP and XML Web services standards and can be easily integrated into business applications.

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MapPoint Location Server News

mlsMicrosoft Releases MapPoint Location Server
From Geekzone – "Microsoft has propelled LBS with this release by simplifying the steps a business would need to take to integrate LBS into their business processes," said Adel Bazerghi, director of services development at Bell Mobility. "The support of industry standards in MLS combined with Microsoft's broad community of developers will dramatically reduce the barriers that in the past have presented challenges for businesses to benefit from LBS."

Is Somebody Watching Me?
From ENT News – "Technology similar to the gizmos featured in the high-tech thriller "Enemy of the State" entered the everyday business application world this week when Microsoft released a new server for building location-based services into applications. What the technology allows is similar to the type of intense surveillance attention actor Will Smith received in the 1998 movie "Enemy of the State" as he ran from corrupt government agents."

Microsoft Brings Location Server To MapPoint Web Service
From CRN – "The MapPoint Location Server is among the first .Net corporate servers developed for in-house use after a major revision of the former .Net MyServices. When that platform was unveiled in 2002, many privacy advocates and corporate customers bemoaned Microsoft's plans to be able to host their proprietary user data."

Microsoft Notebook: Whirlwind Week Ahead
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer – "March Madness? Try Microsoft Madness. You'll almost need a program guide to keep up with all the developments swirling around the Redmond company this week. The MapPoint team demonstrated the software at conferences by giving a mobile phone to a taxi driver and having him drive around the city, with them periodically using the program to see where he was. "We also had a guy with him," said MapPoint product manager Steve Lombardi, "to make sure that our phone actually came back."

McNealy, Chambers Open CTIA with Grand Visions for Mobility
From Directions Magazine – "In other announcements at the show, Microsoft unveiled the MapPoint Location Server, a platform for a wide range of internet and wireless location services, while Telcontar touted their Mobile Location Server, a direct competitor."
CTIA Wireless 2004
Major Players Boost Enterprise Mobility At CTIA
From TechWeb – "Also at CITA, Microsoft unveiled MapPoint Location Server, software that integrates with the Redmond, Wa.-based developer's MapPoint Web Service to display real-time location of mobile devices. Mobile operators who offer services based on MapPoint Location Server (MLS)--both Sprint and Bell Canada said they would roll out such services--can be used by enterprises to show the location of mobile assets, such as vehicle fleets, or to dispatch the nearest service and support personnel to a customer."

Microsoft Ships MLS
From The Globe and Mail – "This new technology fuels a wide range of applications including those for asset tracking, fleet management and mobile-worker dispatch based on real-time proximity to a business-related event."

Microsoft Maps Out Wireless Offering
From CNET News – "Bell Mobility is already selling new services based on Microsoft server software, also introduced here Monday, that lets developers plug directly into the "geotracking" databases of cell phone service providers. Sprint, meanwhile, is set to unveil location-based services based on the Microsoft initiative by midyear, according to Steve Lombardi, technical evangelist and product manager for Microsoft's MapPoint Web Service."

Microsoft App Allows Employers to Track Sprint, Bell Mobility Phones
From RCR Wireless News – "Microsoft Corp. today released its new MapPoint Location Server for sale to businesses, a product that will allow companies to track employees with Sprint PCS and Bell Mobility mobile phones. "The location information is being exposed to the MapPoint server," explained Hugh Fletcher, product manager for Sprint's location services. "We're obviously thrilled and delighted to go to market with Microsoft."

Microsoft Ships MLS
From The Globe and Mail – "This new technology fuels a wide range of applications including those for asset tracking, fleet management and mobile-worker dispatch based on real-time proximity to a business-related event."

MapPoint Location Server Press Releases

Microsoft Releases MapPoint Location Server to Mobilize Businesses With Real-Time Location Services
Microsoft Corp. released MapPoinn Location Server, which enables businesses to significantly improve the way they locate, track and manage their mobile assets and mobile work force. MLS represents a major advance for location-based services (LBS) by making it easy to combine real-time location data from mobile operators with mapping capabilities from the Microsoft MapPoint Web Service. This new technology fuels a wide range of applications including those for asset tracking, fleet management and mobile-worker dispatch based on real-time proximity to a business-related event. For instance, a taxicab company could use MLS as part of its dispatch call center application to more efficiently dispatch the nearest cab driver to a customer pickup based on the driver's real-time location.

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
Delivering exemplary customer service is the foundation upon which Pechter’s Baking Group has built its fortune and reputation. In addition to producing a variety of quality bread products, the 124 year old wholesale baking company has always implemented a customer service policy that guarantees on-time delivery of a fresh product. But this policy can often be costly and time consuming.

CubistixCubistix Announces Results of Pechter's Test Application
Cubistix, an independent software developer located in New Jersey, has successfully completed a year of testing their Location Analytics software with Pechter's Baking Group. Developed to provide business solutions and services to data-intensive corporations and organizations, the Cubistix suite of products utilizes their patent-pending methodology with tools built upon Microsoft® MapPoint 2004 and MapPoint Location Server that interacts with a company's existing database system, extracting the information that is needed by utilizing an intuitive map-based interface.

MapPoint News

Pocket Streets for Smart Phone Released
From Handango – "Pocket Streets for Smartphone offers great map guide functionality right on your Smartphone. Locate addresses, intersections and points of interest or customize locations by inserting your own pushpins. Download maps of cities in the US, Canada and Western Europe from the Pocket Streets web site, or create your own maps using Microsoft desktop applications MapPoint, Streets & Trips or AutoRoute."

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Microsoft and Technology News

Microsoft Move Into Cellphones Worries Some in Telecom
From the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) – "As the lines blur between phones, laptop computers and hand-held devices, Microsoft's rivals and others in the technology industry are watching the software maker closely. Some, such as AT&T Wireless and Motorola, see Microsoft as an ally in drawing lucrative business users. Ritch Blasi, a spokesman for AT&T Wireless, says Microsoft software "gives people the closest experience to what they have on their PC."

Bill GatesCan Microsoft Be Tamed?
From the Economist – After more than five years of investigation, the European Commission has fined Microsoft almost €500m for monopolistic abuses and given it four months to make life easier for competitors in the server and media-player markets. But with a long-winded appeal inevitable, the punishment may prove ineffectual.

Ruling Could Be Key to Microsoft's Future
From CNET News – "Microsoft, which famously argued in an earlier antitrust case that it had the right to bundle a "ham sandwich" or anything else into Windows, says it should be free to integrate new features as it sees fit and that those features benefit consumers and the industry at large. The Longhorn release of Windows builds on a strategy CEO Steve Ballmer calls "integrated innovation," shaping virtually all Microsoft's product plans for the next several years. "We see and deliver unique customer value because of integration," Ballmer wrote in a corporate strategy memo last summer."

Microsoft Outlines Seamless Computing Plan
From WhatPC – "Bill Gates has outlined a strategy for seamless computing with the unveiling of Microsoft Speech Server 2004 and Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition software. Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect said that, along with software such as MapPoint Location Server, the new tools would enable developers to create "breakthrough experiences" with smart devices and speech recognition."

Gates Visualizes 'Seamless' Developers
From InternetNews – "Microsoft's biggest obstacle for developers has been production delays. Citing "quality requirements," the company says it will deliver the first beta of Visual Studio "Whidbey" sometime before the end of this June with a second beta due out by the end of the year. The full-blown version for end-users is targeted for the first half of 2005, several months beyond the earlier target of 2004. The company said it is still on track to deliver its second beta for SQL Server 2005 "Yukon" in the first half of 2004."

Microsoft Partners Don't See Much EU Impact
From InternetNews – "Alex Wong, an applications development architect with Bell Canada, focuses on location-based services. Bell Canada provides the coordinates, and Microsoft's MapPoint Server provides maps and addresses to software vendors. Wong said most ISVs he works with simply use the APIs that Microsoft supplies. "Potentially it will help server software developers," he said of the ruling, "but not in the mobile location services sector." 

An Executive Symposium About
Expanding the Role of Location Technology in Business

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
May 10-11, 2004

The Wharton School and Directions Magazine invite you to attend an executive symposium convened to discuss the applications of location technology and business intelligence. The conference will feature a single track with panelists from both industry and the technology community to focus on the competitive advantages afforded by location-based intelligence and geographic information.


Thursday, March 25th

I Want Aviation Mappoint Mapping
Getting the Lat/Long From an Address [1 reply]
Custom VB .NET Application Using MapPoint 2004
I Need Some Coordinates
MapPoint Add-In [1 reply]
Coords Question [1 reply]

Wednesday, March 24th

Pushpin Question from Newbie [1 reply]
Selecting a Previously Drawn Shape [1 reply]
GPS Coordinates from Holland [1 reply]

Tuesday, March 23rd

Using a Macro to Get a Map into Excel [1 reply]
Show Information of Text Balloons
Do I need "Autoroute" if I install "MapPoint"? [1 reply]
Proxy Problem in VS.Net 2003
How To Plot Multiple Routes On The Same Map [1 reply]
IP and Port [1 reply]
Unknown Host Exception

Monday, March 22nd

Interactive Maps/Clickable maps using MapPoint Web Service. [1 reply]
Mappoint - TopScore Property [3 replies]
Cell Phone Tracking from AccuTracking
MapPoint and 2 Cross Roads
MapPoint Location Server to Mobilize Businesses
Mappoint Control Problem [1 reply]

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