Death of the Desktop Mapping

MapPoint 2013 boxAfter a long time Microsoft is discontinuing its MapPoint and Streets and Trips offerings. On one side I didn't expect this move - I even recommended using MapPoint to a friend just a few weeks ago. But I cannot say it was really a surprise. Considering its overlap with the Bing maps it probably had a good stretch.

I cannot say anything about Streets and Trips since I really haven't used them although I know few people who swear by it. MapPoint is completely different story and a program I will miss a lot. Well, not really the program - I will miss its API.

MapPoint as a mapping program was quite humble. Not too bad albeit not really any better than all other offerings. I must confess that I rarely used it to search anything - for that web-based maps are God-given. But I did adore option of using MapPoint as cheap local Bing/Google maps alternative. It had it all: search for coordinates, conversion from coordinates to address, map image... It was a perfect tool for quick one-time mapping work. You buy it and do whatever you want to it on your local computer (or server) and, unless you need newer maps, there is no additional expense.

Its replacement, Bing maps, might be better but it does come at the cost. Licensing for Bing maps is ridiculously difficult and costly. For just a basic mapping application you are looking at steady monthly expense that can easily get into thousands of dollars. Compared to one-time cost of $400 for MapPoint, price hike is definitely noticeable.

Yes, Bing maps has a free offering for small project doing under 125,000 transactions but only if you are not using GPS functionality and you plan to create a Windows Store App. As soon as you utter Desktop usage, you are looking at the death by a thousand cuts.

Big business will probably live with this change just fine. They haven't used MapPoint to start with and cost of Bing maps license is cheap enough for them. Small independent software developers will be affected the most with this change and there is no full replacement for MapPoint.

While there are some alternatives on the web, MapPoint was an unique flower that worked just fine without an internet connection. It will be missed.

4 thoughts to “Death of the Desktop Mapping”

  1. Now that MapPoint is discontinued, it’s also being uninstalled from my system! I recently went to and found Badger Maps, a similar system that is just as efficient and easy to use! You can download it straight to your iPhone or iPad and it makes your life so much easier.

    1. Except that Badger Maps will cost you a minimum of $15 a month for most basic API functionality. Anything more (e.g. address lookup) and you are looking at $35-$140 a month. All that money and you still cannot use if offline.

      Quite pricey compared to MapPoint’s one-time payment.

      1. I agree that it’s pricey but I’ve found that it’s totally worth it. My whole team has been using it for about 7 months and it has made life way easier for us. And I’m pretty sure we’ve saved enough money on gas to make up for it, othewise upper management would cover it. I don’t know what you’re talking about with the address lookup. That works fine on my basic account.

        1. It’s one thing to have maps on the computer and another to have it over the internet…. if you’re providing a service over the net, then you’re competing with bing and google…. even apple maps…. if it’s on a local machine, then you’re providing a service that is being discontinued… so basically you’re providing to a customer pool that has this as a preference or requirement….

          you don’t need to pay for someone to advertise it this way… *whole team*…. yeah whatever.

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