View Full Version : Geocode/Mapping Issues - Mappoint 2006 Europe

10-09-2006, 10:54 AM
I was initially impressed with Mappoint 2006, however I noticed that when mapping certain postal sectors that the wrong geocode analysis is performed on the postcode, for example when I map GL postal sectors onto the map of UK a few pushpins appear in DN postal sectors. I imported 50 GL postal sectors and 3 geocoded to DN postal sectors.

Also, when you zoom into a village or town, you may notice that a place name is in view, however when you zoom out the place name is geographically many miles/km away. This means that if someone reading the map doesn't know the area they will think that the place name is close to the village or town, which it is not.

These issues relate to Mappoint 2006 Europe version and if anyone has found a solution to these issues please let me know, many thanks.

10-09-2006, 10:59 AM

Can you explain what a GL or a DN postal sector is ?

10-09-2006, 11:23 AM
The GL that I refer to is the Area, so I refer to these as GL postal sectors. A postcode of GL3 4AB (actual format GL 3 4AB) is broken down as: the GL is the Area, the 3 is the District, the 4 is the Sector and AB is Postcode. There are another 2 characters that are not displayed that identify a specific address, because a postcode identifies approx 20 addresses.

The full list is below, when copied and pasted into Mappoint 2006 Europe I noticed some DN postal sectors appear which is for Doncaster, which is about 110 miles away from Gloucester:

Postal Sector
GL1 1
GL20 6
GL20 5
GL19 4
GL7 7
GL4 8
GL4 6
GL4 5
GL4 4
GL20 8
GL4 0
GL50 1
GL3 3
GL3 2
GL3 1
GL2 9
GL2 5
GL2 0
GL1 5
GL1 4
GL1 3
GL1 2
GL4 3
GL52 2
GL54 4
GL53 8
GL53 7
GL53 0
GL52 9
GL52 8
GL52 7
GL52 6
GL20 7
GL52 3
GL54 5
GL51 9
GL51 8
GL51 7
GL51 6
GL51 4
GL51 3
GL51 0
GL50 4
GL50 3
GL50 2
GL52 5

10-10-2006, 03:45 AM
Iíve tried a few things with this. If you import data via the Data Import Wizard, using the postcode sector as the geographical reference, I think there are around 450 sectors (5%) that result in mistakes ie. like the above example GL1 1 is assigned to DN3 1. Interestingly if you use Data Mapping Wizard to enter MapPoint data eg. population by postcode sector, then draw a 25km radius around Gloucester (the GL area) and export the data to Excel then everything looks OK Ė GL1 1, GL1 2 and GL1 3 are all included. However if you then read that data back into MapPoint and plot it again the mistakes re-appear.

It seems to be a UK issues. I couldnít see any problems with the Code Postal in France for example.

Suggestions welcomed as this is the fundamental geography for a lot of analysis.

10-10-2006, 03:58 AM
Thanks for this, at least we can get around the problems in the short term.



10-10-2006, 04:44 AM
After a few more tests, and using red pushpins so that the postal sectors are clearly mapped I still see the DN postal sectors being incorrectly mapped. I'll run a few more tests and see if there is a workaround.



10-11-2006, 05:03 AM

I bought Mappoint 2006 and encountered the same problem when importing data for territories; 5-10% of postal sectors are mistmatched (I noticed this first when TQ3 appeared in Peterborough.) I got some Bath postcodes near London and I think GL postcodes were mismapped as you have described.

I have found this happens with imported datasets only: if you use the getLocation() function of the API it seems to work more accurately. I searched a long time for a work around but this is all I could find (and using the API this way is a lot slower than importing a dataset from a file.)

I called Microsoft tech support and they said that this is a known issue. They agreed to refund the product so I sent it back to Microsoft and they have been thoroughly useless since. BTW: that was several weeks ago and at the moment: I have no product; I have no refund.


10-11-2006, 05:12 AM
I found other problems with the Mappoint API (that's Application Programming Interface for those of you smart enough to not get into software engineering ;) ...

It seems that the array of fields stuff for the import methods don't work at all. This is the array that you are supposed to use to tell mappoint how to interpret the columns in the data file you are importing; e.g. to tell it which column holds the territory names, whether the data is postcode, postal area, postal sector etc...

As far as I can see (and I tried every which way of passing an array of variables to this flaming dll) this parameter is not processed at all; it seems to be completely ignored. This suggests that the import functions are only partly implemented in this release. As a software engineer, this rings major alarm bells with me... this stuff doesn't seem to do what it says on the tin.

£250 piece of software to map geo data. Get's significant percentage of mappings wrong? API apparently not fully implemented?

Am I just getting fussy in my old age or does anyone else think there's something going wrong here?


10-11-2006, 11:01 AM

I have spoken to a Microsoft Technician who has stated that there have been many reports of this issue and that a patch is not planned at this time but that these issues maybe resolved within a new version of the software.

The map side of things is fine, I like this interface and what it can do alot. However, the data company used to generate the backend data that geocode imported datasets in the UK was changed last year. Basically this means we are unable to 'trust' the import wizard at all and the situation gets worse:- if we want to map a large area, say the county of Essex, then the mapped information could be disguising errors which we would never know about unless we check the data carefully and in this case we may as well create the territory manually to begin with.

The Microsoft Technician did state that Microsoft would refund us for our purchase. I have raised this with our Corporate software supplier who will take this further with Microsoft.

Hopefully a patch will be released soon and we will not have to wait for a new version of Mappoint.



10-17-2006, 04:23 AM
In addition to the problems with postcode sectors, I have just created a number of territories from my own data, using postcode districts. (UK Postal Geography). All the districts were located in SE England so was surprised to find I had bits of territory everywhere across the country. From further investigation it appears that MP Europe 2006 allocates around 300 (11%) postcode districts to the wrong location. This seems very unhappy for anyone who wants to use the package as a serious business analysis tool.

10-17-2006, 09:12 AM
Have found similar issues which make the use of the Mappoint 2006 very problematical. I have particular need to produce territories - sometimes up to 1000 across the UK - does anyone know if I do this manually, will I be able to link data to them from excel or will this also be misread.

Secondly, does Mappoint 2004 have this issue? Could this be an answer to basic territory mapping?

Thanks for your help.

10-24-2006, 02:54 AM
I've encountered this same issue on MapPoint 2006 and am fuming!

I've been using MapPoint 2004 for the last two years with no problems at all and have been eagerly awating an update to the Postcode information and this is what we get!

Has anyone had any update as to whether Microsoft will be releasing a patch / new version?

10-24-2006, 07:26 AM
As of Oct 11th I was told that as the product has been launched it's unlikely they will be able to rectify these issues within the software. The person I communicated with was unaware of a patch being launched, but was waiting on confirmation and timelines regarding any possibility of raising a patch.

So sounds pretty bleak I'm afraid.


10-30-2006, 08:31 AM
Spoke to a tech today (30th Oct 2006) after days of chasing and sending files and got a similar answer

"we have identified this as a bug in the 2006 version and have no plans to release an update as the product has only just been shipped"

I am fuming and although they offer a refund they seem to have missed the point !! People (and companies) are still buying this BRAND NEW piece of software and are not being told it is useless for UK postcode mapping - a major reason for use by some in the UK :-x

Does anyone know any contact numbers to complain ?? Or any publications that could be told of this major flaw microsoft are unwilling to fix ?

12-06-2006, 06:02 AM
Have a few issues with importing postcode disctricts but do not know the full extent of the issue.

When importing the following postcode districts, YO18, YO17, YO7 they appear in the respective districts, SK12, SK11 and SK5.

12-07-2006, 03:26 AM
I think that of the 2727 postcode districts in GB, 311 are plotted wrongly by MapPoint 2006. If you want a list send me a private message with your e-mail.


12-07-2006, 07:14 AM
The postcode problem is clearly a serious problem, and I hope it gets fixed in the next release. Or perhaps Microsoft can be persuaded to produce an intermediate release (I have my doubts - the incorrect-geoid-for-OS-grid-references bug was never fixed with an intermediate release).

There are some alternatives but of course they cost a *lot* more. Eg. you could use a proper GIS such as ArcInfo, MapInfo, or even Gistix.
These would need separate map purchases (cost a lot from the Ordnance Survey). Or you could even subscribe to the Royal Mail's PAF data. IIRC updates are every 6 months. Then you will always have the latest official postcode data literally from the horse's mouth!


12-08-2006, 09:57 AM
I too have experienced problems with UK postcodes - using them to define customer territories.

The solution I found was to put the postcode in lower case.

As soon as I did that all worked OK, hope this works for you too.


12-08-2006, 10:32 AM
Wow ..... That's incredible

12-19-2006, 10:52 AM
Have just tried this ... and it works for territory mapping at least. Many thanks!

12-19-2006, 01:15 PM

Thanks for feedback. Sure this will benefit others !

04-27-2007, 07:11 AM
Can I get a confirmation from you good guys out there that with MP 2006, if I import territory data using UK postcodes in LOWER case rather than upper case, then there is no problem with mis-mapping the territories?
One of my clients is planning to invest in MP 2006, whereas I use MP 2004 at the moment, so need to know whether to advise them for/against MP 2006.

04-30-2007, 10:36 AM
Hi Quin

I donít think itís possible to give a definitive answer. The only people who can do that presumably are the Microsoft technicians who understand the errors in the coding and thereby the extent of the casing problem.

Based on my experience:

At postcode district level if you import the data using upper case there are 311 duplicates meaning that 311 are definitely plotted in the wrong place. If you import the data using lower case there are no duplicates Ė so that looks good! But obviously it's not certain that they're all in the right place although in my work I'm yet to find any errors.

At postcode sector level with upper case you get 450 duplicates and with lower case none at all.

At individual postcode level there are just too many to do the duplication test. However Iíve been checking the results of my work as far as possible with MP2004 output and havenít as yet found any problems. Iím sure there are other people on this board who use individual postcodes a lot more than me so it would be interesting to know if theyíve had any bad experiences.

Overall I think the message with MP2006 is to be vigilant when using postcode data. Itís also a huge credibility gap to have to convert postcodes to lower case when theyíre always written and recorded in upper.

Hope that helps.


10-24-2007, 09:26 AM

Can you tell me if this issue still exists?

Is the solution to import/enter all postcodes as lower case?


10-24-2007, 04:05 PM
Yes, definitely use lower case. Hopefully MP2008 will redress these issue but till then.....