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January 4, 2006

Programming MapPoint in .NET: Unleash Your Applications and Data with the Power of Location

Sebastopol, CA--Whether we're trying to find driving directions to the airport or looking for a good restaurant in town, having access to location information has become an essential ingredient in our daily lives. Today's enterprises know this and consider providing location-based services to their customers an important part of their service offerings. Getting custom data into maps has been difficult until recently, but Microsoft's MapPoint program, MapPoint Web Services, and Virtual Earth offer several different ways to integrate information with commercial map and demographic data. MapPoint makes it easy to answer such questions as: Where am I? How do I get from here to there? and the ever-essential, Where is the nearest coffee shop?

Developers may choose to answer these questions using online applications, web services, mobile phones in real-time, or offline, but regardless of delivery method, they'll find the resources they need in Chandu Thota's new book, Programming MapPoint in .NET (O'Reilly, US $49.95). Thota, a key member of Microsoft's MapPoint team, shows how to combine MapPoint's impressive capabilities with the strengths of .NET to make geographic information accessible.

"Location is everything. You need location intelligence to better serve customers in any business domain, so adding location intelligence to core vertical applications is a high priority for many enterprises," explains Thota. "As the demand for location intelligence grows and location-based technologies transition from the hands of GIS professionals to mainstream .NET/web developers, we've seen a higher demand for good resources that abstract geo-spatial specifics and provide the power of location with simple and easy-to-use APIs and tools. Microsoft's MapPoint does exactly that, and my book covers this platform in a comprehensive fashion so developers can jumpstart their location-based application development with their favorite development tools."

According to Thota, Microsoft MapPoint division has been offering a rich platform for developers and enterprises to build location-enabled and location-aware applications for almost a decade now. "As the platform matured over the years, it was clear to me that we needed a good resource (apart from the online product documentation at MSDN) for MapPoint developers that answers technical questions both at a basic level and at advanced levels for more complicated integration scenarios," says Thota. "So, in early 2004, I started a developer-centric blog on MSDN and started addressing these pressing questions from the developer community. That interaction has morphed into what we are looking at today with the Programming MapPoint in .NET book."

With Programming MapPoint in .NET developers will learn how to:

  • Create interactive maps using the MapPoint ActiveX control
  • Generate driving directions using both MapPoint Web Services and the desktop application
  • Connect a GPS device to an application for navigation with MapPoint
  • Integrate personal/proprietary information with MapPoint's geographic and demographic data
  • Use other companies' data services in conjunction with MapPoint's Web Services
  • Explore the planet with Visual Earth and add custom information to enrich the users' experience
  • As Thota points out, the world of web services changes quickly so keeping a book on the subject up-to-date is nearly impossible. He notes that while his book aims to keep readers current with the technical details of MapPoint's APIs and features, it's almost certain that newer features will be added in the near future. Readers can refer to his blog and the book's support site for complete information on upcoming developments.

    In his foreword to the book, Stephen Lawler, general manager of Virtual Earth and MapPoint, calls Thota an accomplished developer on the Microsoft Virtual Earth and MapPoint team, as well as an influence on much of the early thinking in the next wave of the Internet and mapping technologies. "He knows firsthand the best way to develop applications in a quick and effective way using MapPoint technologies," says Lawler. "In this book, he narrates a developer story about a platform that has been his work, play, and passion at Microsoft. Whether you are an enterprise developer or hobbyist programmer, Programming MapPoint in .NET will set you apart from other developers in the field." And in closing, Lawler urges developers to unleash their application and and data with the power of location.

    Additional Resources:

    Programming MapPoint in .NET
    Chandu Thota
    ISBN: 0-596-00906-2, 354 pages, $49.95 US
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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