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New enhancements bring business data to life with maps and optimize business travelers’ time outside the office

RISMEDIA, May 31, 2007-Since Microsoft announced the availability of MapPoint® 2006 at the end of April, reviews have been positive on this software program that can help customers improve decision-making capabilities and increase new business opportunities through the use of maps and geographical information.

The mapping program enhances its usefulness for mobile information workers, like Realtors, by adding rich new Global Positioning System (GPS) integration and driver guidance capabilities so that Realtors can make the most out of time spent away from the office.

“MapPoint 2006 is a powerful piece of software, stated Matt Rosenberg, a professional geographer in a recent review of the software on About.com. “…A really fascinating feature in MapPoint is the drive-time zone function. Within the “Tools” menu is this feature, which allows you to highlight all areas within a certain driving time distance from a specific place. It then creates a shape based on the travel distance from your specified location. Sometimes the polygons don’t seem to be very realistic and the feature definitely works better in cities with dense street patterns. Nonetheless, it’s an impressive feature and lots of fun, too.”

Benefits for Realtors on the Go

Realtors strive to maximize their time out of the office by streamlining their scheduling and by accessing maps, driving directions and point-of-interest information even when offline. New features delivered to them include updated geographic data and a new GPS task pane that uses information from connected, compatible GPS devices to display current location, speed and traveling direction. Also, driving directions for Windows® XP users determine location from a connected GPS device and combine it with route information to deliver voice and text direction information. Wi-Fi positioning is also available through a computer’s wireless network capabilities and the Microsoft® Location Finder, which accesses a database of known Wi-Fi access points to determine a user’s location.

In his review, geographer Rosenberg also added:
“There is a ton of demographic data that comes with MapPoint 2006. Using the data mapping wizard, there are an infinite number of maps you can create using the data that comes with the software. Of course, Census-based demographic data is available down to the tract level but additional demographic and other data, such as shopping habits, stock ownership, levels of insurance, movie attendance, and even precipitation. Worldwide country-by-country data is a standard feature of MapPoint 2006 as well.

“It takes less than a minute to create a fabulous demographic map of a region, providing decision-makers with excellent geospatial data and information instantaneously. In addition to maps shaded by geographic area, MapPoint produces dot maps, pie charts, shaded or sized circle maps, and more.”

Customization and Integration with Business Applications

Businesses continue to improve decision-making by visualizing business data with geographic elements on maps. Also, developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) continue to benefit from MapPoint 2006’s low-cost, high-quality maps; familiar development platform; and easy integration with Microsoft Office solutions. MapPoint 2006’s demographic data refreshing capabilities will enable businesses to visualize up-to-date trends and combine business data with demographics to focus their marketing and better analyze results.

Pricing and Availability

MapPoint 2006 can be acquired through Microsoft resellers and Microsoft licensing programs and at http://shop.microsoft.com for an estimated retail price of $299 for the standard version, and $349 for the version with a GPS locator.

“Overall, MapPoint 2006 is a great piece of geographic software for personal or business use – if you need to use spatial data to determine potential new business sites, determine information about your customer base, or even just want to make great presentations with maps, MapPoint 2006 will do the trick,” Rosenberg concluded.

For more information, visit http://shop.microsoft.com.

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