An introduction to Map Info Professional

MapInfo Professional is one of the oldest and most mature of the geographical information system software packages. Over the years, the developers of this product have assembled a powerful collection of combined data, database, and geographical display technologies into a comprehensive, easy-to-use, highly effective package.

The fundamental principles behind MapInfo Professional are simple and straightforward. The MapInfo Professional environment is designed to display the geographical data requested and blend that information with the business-related performance data that assists users in the analysis of their business. This combined display of graphical and tabular data then provides the user with a dynamic and functional view of what the current business environment really looks like.

It should come as no surprise that the developers of MapInfo Professional have dedicated a significant amount of their efforts to the creation of a lot of capabilities specific to telecommunications companies. Their product is used by these firms all over the world to solve hundreds of previously practically unsolvable problems.

11.1.1 MapInfo telecommunications offerings

In addition to the "traditional" features that any geographical information system will offer—namely, the ability to display maps, latitude/longitude, streets, waterways, and a plethora of other standard business-related geographics of interest—you can also purchase specific overlays with a decidedly telecommunications emphasis. These specialized offerings include the following (we include here only the U.S. telecommunications-specific offerings for the sake of saving space; other offerings for other geographical areas are also available):

• LATAInfo™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—Map database of local access and transport area (LATA) boundaries. LATAs define the geographical areas through which telephone traffic may pass. LATA boundaries define the way telecommunications companies bill each other for commonly carried traffic;

• StreetWorks™ (MapInfo Corp.)—Nationwide detailed street maps that can be tied to customer data. Using StreetWorks, you can map custom ers, prospects, trouble spots, and a variety of other people and events to a detailed plan, showing their precise location;

• ExchangeInfo™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—A database containing wire center serving areas, which are the basic unit of geography in the telecommunications industry (pinpointing which exchanges cover which area);

• CellularInfo™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—A mapping database of cellular coverage in every cellular market in the United States (including market side, station licensee, signal threshold, transmitter power, antenna height, gain, and number of antennas);

• Trendline-GIS—Displays past, present, and future census data for specific geographical areas;

• MapMarker™ (MapInfo Corp.)—Ties tabularly recorded addresses (customers, troublespots, etc.) to physical locations on the map (referred to as the geocoding process);

• LECInfo™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—Maps the unique service territories of all local exchange service companies in the United States;

• ExchangeInfo Plus™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—A database of wire center serving areas;

• ContourInfo™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—A nationwide contour elevation data file, making it possible to determine line-of-sight and line-of-scope capabilities for transmitters and repeaters;

• CableInfo™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—Comprehen-sive information on cable systems and their boundaries;

• TrafficVolumes—The 24-hour average daily traffic counts for BLR major roads;

• MSA/RSAInfo™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—Monthly or quarterly updated reports on metropolitan and rural service areas, allowing users to see their markets and pertinent information about each area;

• AreaCodeInfo™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—Maps the boundaries of all of the nation's three-digit area codes;

• PCSInfo™ (a map database from On Target Mapping)—The method for identifying collections of counties and towns around major metropolitan areas or cities.

With so many different products and offerings that specifically target the needs of telecommunications firms, it is difficult to decide which ones to use as typical examples for our coverage here.

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