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MapInfo Goes �Live�

by Adena Schutzberg, from GIS Monitor, August 18, 2000


MapInfo announced that, an online site for point-to-point driving directions, was now 'live' at . The new service offers driving directions as well as maps to any address within the USA.


MapInfo hopes this service will be popular with business users. And, though you can visit and key in two addresses in the USA and get directions, the real goal here is to provide applications to run �click and mortar� homepages. Using an ASP model, MapInfo hopes to rent this functionality to companies that need customers to �find the nearest� and then �find the way there.�


Both MapInfo and claim, 90% of consumers visiting a retailers' Web sites expect to find a store locator or map. 

A quick �test drive� turned up some glitches. A staff member in California did a quick comparison between Mapquest, arguably the market leader, and miDirections by requested directions between home and work. �Both services had me driving continually on a road that is discontinuous,� he reported.


�Mapquest did better than miDirections since it took a more direct route. MiDirections actually had me making an inexplicable circle before going in the right direction.� I tracked my commute around Boston. MapInfo had my home geocoded at the wrong end of my street. Then I was taken on a circuitous route including two state highways. I was also dismayed that the main roads of travel were not marked on the map. MapQuest had my home correctly located

and provided a more direct route.


MapInfo's service provides access to GDT Dynamap 2000 transportation data, quarterly data updates of customer sites, quarterly updates of routing network and street display data, and bi-monthly updates of MapInfo MapMarker Plus geocoding data.


Pricing, according to a brochure dated in March, looks like this:

miSites (find the nearest)

-$1,500 set-up

-$4,995 12 month subscription including up to 300,000 map draws/year

-$1,000 for 100,000 additional draws; available in advance, or as needed

miDirections (point to point directions)

-Requires subscription to miSites

-$4,995 for a 12 month

-subscription including up to 100,000 routes

-$3,000 for 100,000 additional routes; available in advance, or as needed


Mapquest and other providers make pricing information available on a case-by-case basis, and do not have a �price list.� The Mapquest rep did note their prices range up to $300,000.


MapInfo points out that most users purchase both the find the nearest part (MiSites) and the directions (MiDirections) � totaling $10,000/year annual subscription. This statement must be based on those who bought the service before it was packaged as miSites and miDirections. It's interesting to note that MapQuest, MapBlast, and others, while offering this type of solution, also have a freebie way to put maps on your site and/or allow links to their sites for directions. There are no such freebies from miDirections at this time.


The real question here is, can MapInfo provide a significantly different solution than MapQuest and others? For now, they all tout the same benefits (no updates for the user, supported 24/7 by the hosting company on their server, seamless integration with the existing site, etc.) Data may make a difference � seeing the Navigation Technology logo on my Mapquest map may explain why my house was correctly located. MapQuest can boast a host of big users (American Express, Kinko's, Yahoo, Sears) while MapInfo, as

yet, does not do so. Further, MapInfo to date, only provides US service while MapQuest supports areas outside the US, important for global companies.


To add to the fray, there is another path to interactive maps such as these: the retailer can install and host an application on their own site. Out of the box solutions for the US, such as RouteMapIMS from ESRI, start at $3,000. It will be some time before we know which model, �renting from� an ASP or self-hosting wins. And, as more players enter both markets, the winner in each arena is yet to be determined. 


For more information:

miDirections Press Release


Add a Map to a Web Page, by








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