Upgrade adds features and boosts amount of available location data for developers.
Businesses often lose their way when putting location information in their applications. They veer off course when plotting routes for delivery people or nailing down territories in a mass-market mailing. Now, they can get directions from Microsoft.
The company on Thursday released an upgrade to its MapPoint .Net Web services, adding features and boosting the amount of available location data for both North American and European developers.
MapPoint .Net 3.0, which supersedes last April's version 2.0--Microsoft's first .Net hosted Web service--adds new data and new tools for developers who build applications that ping the service for information, then pass it along to users. It relies on the standard Web-service XML and Soap (Simple Object Access Protocol) technologies.
"MapPoint is a true XML service that's device and platform and programming language independent," said Steve Lombardi, product manager for the MapPoint group. "If developers can make an XML call from their application, they can integrate location data."
Using a Web service, rather than implementing a custom solution that brings mapping servers into the enterprise, makes for lower startup costs and faster deployment, Lombardi argued. "Before, only big corporations where location data was crucial, like FedEx, could afford to roll out these kinds of applications. Now small and mid-sized companies can."
New data in version 3.0 includes expanded street-level information for Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, as well as selected cities in Ireland, Finland, Norway, Portugal, and Sweden. Closer to home, MapPoint .Net now includes more than 16 million listings for U.S. businesses in the 50 states and Puerto Rico; the previous version had a limited amount of such place data.