Microsoft has announced the availability of MapPoint 2006, a business mapping software application. Users combine maps and geographical information to analyze, visualize and communicate business information. The new release offers integration with global positioning system (GPS) technology and guidance for motorists. Mobile workers, in particular, can use their proprietary data and standard geocoded databases in conjunction with compatible GPS devices to obtain direction information in both voice and text form.
MapPoint's new capabilities point to an increasing trend of using maps for business applications. Spatially aware software has been around for more than a decade, but its adoption has been limited to a few vertical industries (such as insurance and government) and specific tasks (for example, driving direction devices for cars). Consumer-oriented products such as Google Maps and GPS receivers have been building general awareness of the value of such information. Microsoft is now aggressively addressing technology and capabilities found in products from ESRI and MapInfo, which have dominated this area of the location intelligence market. Ventana Research expects more companies to include location and geospatial information in their data stores over the balance of the decade as customers increasingly recognize its value.
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2006 Ventana Research