Using Mappoint for static reasons like presentations or documents can be very different from using it dynamically for planning travel routes or logistical planning of distributions or contacts/events.

In a static use, pushpins can be set and remain in that state. Hiding or unhiding them makes visibility easily tailorable to the static target medium and focus.

In dynamic uses, not so much. Planning a trip, for instance, may be about getting to a specific destination or about the process of traveling between those points. Static planning techniques work fairly well for getting from point A to point B but not for "working the route" between them.

Dynamic planning techniques are also needed while using Mappoint to navigate a route. THings come up that require more information or available POIs. eg folks get hungry unexpectedly and want a specific place to eat, like a cracker barrel. A set of cracker barrel push pins can be downloaded and imported before the trip but they need to be available at a moment's notice. Sure select the pushpin set and show it on the map while you need it. That is easy, now.

How about unexpectedly needing to find a place to spend the night? Pushpins for a lot of hotel chains or truck stops or campgrounds or walmarts that allow RV parking exist in places like the discovery owners website and can be downloaded and imported individually.. again before getting on the road. To be useful and non-intrusive to the travel they have to be easily displayed AS A SET when needed. They also need to be able to be hidden as a set when needing to actually see the route on the map. Right now, the only way to do this is to show/hide each individually imported pushpin set.

So, stepping up to an easier approach, in 2010 we can open a blank map file, individually import each pushpin set and then save the map as a template. New maps will have all of them in there... but there is still the problem of showing/hiding them as we switch from planning mode to navigating mode and back. Taking the previous example of all Cracker barrels, just having a single pushpin set of cracker barrels is simple. When it comes to campgrounds, though, there are too many "sets" (Good Sam club, Passport America, Escapees, Coast to coast, Days End, etc.) to individually hide each one when it is cluttering the map and then unhide the same ones when needed. Sure, "HIDE ALL PUSHPINS" exists as a right click on the title line of the -PUSHPINS legend header but no way exists to show just those that were hidden. "SHOW ALL PUSHPINS" shows ALL of the pushpins so that won't help.

Being able to group and subgroup pushpin sets is vital to dynamic use of mappoint. Being able to show/hide these by level or set is equally vital to dynamic use because what needs to be visible or hidden at a given time is about changes as one travels and not how it will look on a presentation in 3 weeks.

An example of grouping and subgrouping would be:




PUSHPINS
  • = Campgrounds
    • -Good Sam's
    • -Passport America
    • -KOA
    • -AON/AOR
    • -Big Rig Friendly
      • *Bass Lake CG
      • *Chutney's Campground resort
      • *Sycamore Lodge Resort
    • -Thousand Trails Resorts
  • = RV Friendly Walmarts
  • = Fuel stops
  • -FlyingJ Truckstops
  • -Iowa80 Truckstops
  • -Love's
  • Sam's clubs
... etc...

Including / excluding which of these POIs and the ones under them in an easy and effective way is what I am talking about. Being able to toggle one or more of them selectively on/off makes it possible to use a standard set of many pushpin sets for all sorts of POIs and then easily use them one way during planning and differently during travel or if circumstances change on the fly.

Maybe, rather than trying to add/delete all the pushpins, toggling the transparency of the icons as a set would work faster and simpler. ie toggling transparency for CAMPGROUNDS would just make all of them under that group invisible on the maps. Toggle transparency for CAMPGROUNDS again and bam! the same ones are back again. This could work at any level, be fast and not distract from the process of using them at the time. I suspect that this is how Show/hide pushpins actually works.. but not sure.

A good place to start in finding this pushpins is MAP OVERLAYS . Streets and TRips Megafile has all of the more recently updated pushpin sets in it as a .EST file to make a template from.

The individual pushpin sets that it is built from are shown under the SORT ALPHABETICALLY or NEWEST FIRST links at the top of the paragraph.

The other ITEM!! is the lack of any ability to reorder the pushpin sets amongst themselves. For instance, I usually like to use Cracker Barrels, FlyingJ truck stops, Passport America campgrounds, Golden Corral restaurants and Loves truck stops more than similar places when traveling. I would like to have them at the top of the list of pushpins of their particular type (campgrounds, fuel stops, etc.) I would also like to be able to expand/contract the list of pushpins shown in Legend Overview pane by level just like the other POI groups that are included can do. Just need that capability to work within the groups, too. Again, dynamic use is different than static use of Mappoint functionality and these are things that try to better address dynamic user's needs.


Emery