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Create Mileage Charts with Microsoft MapPoint®

MPMileCharter Walkthrough for Microsoft® MapPoint® Beginners

This walkthrough shows you how to create your first mileage table using MPMileCharter. It is aimed at people who are new to Microsoft MapPoint. Before using MileCharter, it is recommended that you spend some time experimenting with MapPoint and working through the tutorials provided by Microsoft.

This walkthrough is for MapPoint. There is a similar walkthrough for MileCharter for Maptitude.

There is a screenshot of MapPoint for each step of the walkthrough. Click on the small thumbnail to open a new window with a full size version of the screenshot.

The following example uses the North American edition of Microsoft MapPoint 2006. Later versions of MapPoint (2009 and later) will work in the same manner, although some MapPoint buttons, icons, etc may appear slightly different. The European edition also works in the same manner, but you will need to substitute some of the place names.

Microsoft MapPoint at start up

Starting Microsoft MapPoint

Start Microsoft MapPoint, and you will be presented with a display that looks like the one on the right. The size of this window has been reduced in size so that it will fit in the MPMileCharter documentation. It is recommended that you maximize Microsoft MapPoint so that you take full advantage of your screen.

Notice all the toolbars across the top. The slider is a zoom slider. Try sliding this and you will see that MapPoint zooms in and out. To the right of the zoom slider are two buttons that control MapPoint's zoom and pan behavior. The left one lets you drag-select a zoom window with your mouse. The one on the right lets you pan the map by "grabbing" it (click on the map with the left mouse button) and dragging it. Personally I prefer the pan option, but the choice is yours.

The legend and overview is to the left. The overview shows you which part of the Earth you are currently looking at. In the above map this might be obvious, but when you zoom in, it is easy to get lost. The legend lists the datasets that are displayed, along with their color and/or symbol encoding.

Notice the Drawing Tools tool bar which is usually along the bottom. This has a variety of shapes and a pushpin symbol. This toolbar is often switched off by default in later versions of MapPoint, but these include the pushpin symbol on one of the other toolbars.

Finding San Francisco

Finding a Location

To the left of the zoom slider is the Find box. Click on this and type "San Francisco" and press "Enter". You will be presented with the Find Dialog Box (see image).

This dialog box lists the possible matches for "San Francisco", with the most likely option first. Notice that the main MapPoint display has zoomed to this first option (the city of San Francisco). This is a very useful dialog box. It can also be used to find locations by address (try finding your house) or by longitude,latitude coordinate (try entering a coordinate from a GPS unit).

We were looking for the city of San Francisco. Make sure that "San Francisco" is selected and press OK. The map remains zoomed to San Francisco, with the city selected.

Adding a Pushpin to MapPoint

Adding a Pushpin

MPMileCharter uses the MapPoint concepts of Pushpins and Pushpin Sets. A pushpin is a marker for a particular location. There are a variety of different symbols available for pushpins. They can also have names and text associated with them. If the pushpins were loaded from an external data source such as a database, then they may also have additional data fields. A pushpin set is simply a group of pushpins. Typically they have been loaded into MapPoint from the same source, but this is not necessarily the case.

MPMileCharter uses pushpins to identify the required input locations. MileCharter also requires two pushpin sets: one holding the pushpins for the start locations, and one holding the pushpins for the end locations. You may use the same pushpin set for both the start and end locations, and this is what we will do here. This will produce a "road atlas" style mileage chart with the same pushpins being used for both the start and end locations.

Click on the pushpin symbol on the tool bar. Then click on San Francisco's circle symbol. This will insert a pushpin on San Francisco (see accompanying image).

Multiple Named Pushpins

Multiple Named Pushpins

The pin has an open window giving the name and text. Click on the word "Untitled" in the gray bar. Replace this with the much more informative "San Francisco". You can click on the white area and enter some notes here, but MPMileCharter will ignore them.

Add a few more pushpins for locations that you would like to find. For this example, I have added pins for Laramie (WY), Microsoft Redmond (WA), and the University of Dallas (TX). All of these pushpins have been entered into the default pushpin set called "My Pushpins", because we have not told MapPoint to use a different pushpin set.

As well as adding locations that are already in MapPoint's database, you can add pins for individual addresses and GPS coordinates. You can also import them from an external source using MapPoint's Data Import wizard. In fact, the wizard is the fastest way to add this data to MapPoint if you have more than a small number of locations.

MPMileCharter at start up

Starting MPMileCharter

When you are satisfied with the pushpins that you have added, start MPMileCharter by selecting it on the Tools menu item. You will be presented with a display that looks like the accompanying image.

MPMileCharter has two lists that let you select where the routes start and finish. These lists are filled with the available pushpin sets. We only have one pushpin set, the default 'My Pushpins'. If you have a pushpin selected when MPMileCharter is started, then this will also be included in the lists. This allows you to find distances to or from a specific location. In this example, I had 'Laramie' selected when I started MPMileCharter.

Setting Parameters within MileCharter

Setting MPMileCharter's Parameters

Select "My Pushpins" in the two lists. We will produce a distance mileage chart using miles. Uncheck all of the check boxes except for "Distances" and "Sort Names". This will produce a distance mileage chart with the names sorted in alphabetical order. Also select "Fastest Routes" and "Miles". Select "Calculate lower left only" to produce a triangular "road atlas" chart. MPMileCharter should now look like the accompanying image.

The final results in Microsoft Excel

Computing the Mileage Chart

Press the "Compute" button to start processing. During processing, MPMileCharter's status display will change to indicate process. MapPoint and Excel® windows may appear, although the MapPoint window can be hidden during processing. When processing is complete, Excel should show a worksheet that looks like the one in the accompanying image.

I have stretched some of the columns out so that all of the names can be seen. The distances are in miles and are not rounded.

Congratulations! You have created your first mileage chart with MPMileCharter!

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