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Evaluating Software

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#1
bagleymj

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Hey guys,
I have been tasked by our company VP to evaluate mapping software. The main purpose of the software would be to create presentation-quality maps to show sales data and that sort of thing, with the ability to use custom markers and batch geocoding built-in. Most of the software that I have looked at is either far too advanced for our needs, or does not provide the flexibility that we are looking for.

I showed him Microsoft MapPoint, which gets us close, but I don't know if it provides the flexibility in terms of manipulating the appearance of the map that we are looking for. Can anyone recommend a low-cost (<$2000) product, that would give us batch geocoding via Excel spreadsheet, with an intuitive interface?

I really appreciate your help!

Edited by bagleymj, 08 July 2011 - 10:11 AM.


#2
Charles Syrett

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The fact that what you're looking for doesn't exist is the reason that custom cartography is still viable as a business. It's like looking for software to do your own law, medicine, architecture, etc. It's human beings who make good maps, not software.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

#3
Sab

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Try Free and Open Source Software:

Desktop GIS: QGIS

You can use GIMP (raster graphic) and Inkscape (vector graphic) to make proper maps out of QGIS outputs.


They cost nothing..just a bit of learning!

#4
Gretchen Peterson

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For a truly superior and flexible product, hire a cartographer as Charles intimated. You do not have to hire a full-time employee. You can hire a consultant who can do it all for you with your specifications (and who has all the software to do whatever is needed) and who can teach you how to do it yourself if that is the ultimate path you want to take. I have a client who is an attorney who uses basic maps in her practice. Even with the basic mapping and data manipulation that she needs, she still calls me from time to time to help her with snags that she has run into. It isn't always easy or intuitive.

You could purchase ArcGIS. The ArcView product is less than 2k and is probably the best thing you can buy for cartographic output plus GIS data-handling. However, as my attorney-client can attest to, it isn't always the easiest thing to use and can be a steep learning curve for more advanced analysis and data manipulation.

There are several batch geocoders available on the internet you can look for.

Open Source products are good to explore but usually do not have the cartographic capabilities of ArcGIS at this point.

#5
Paul H

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Maptitude, from Caliper Corp.

#6
dsl

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I agree what is mentioned above.

However, it sounds more like you are in the market for business intelligence software which would provide you with the capabilities in visualizing your data. I don't know what pricing is like, but there is a huge market of software meant to make it easier for non-experts to generate visualizations. You might look into GeoIQ.

If you want professional quality you'll always have to go with a professional, though.

Hope that helps,
David

#7
Jacques Gélinas

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....main purpose of the software would be to create presentation-quality maps to show sales data and that sort of thing...

IMO you can have the best car in the race but you need a good driver to win.

so the for the 'create' part look up a good cartographer (the driver).

AS so for the software (the car part) there are many good solutions out there to get what you need done.

In your case I would suggest looking up MapInfo

Regards,

Jacques Gélinas
cartographer
www.cartesgeo.ca





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