A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that the company is working on the service after Dr Neil Roodyn, a speaker at the company's Mobile Developers Conference in Sydney today told ZDNet Australia that " ... Mappoint Australia is on the way. It is under development and you will see it in the next 12 months. I have seen the maps".
Mappoint offers traffic maps, city guides and a web-based location finding tool for addresses in the United States and most of Western Europe. Microsoft also offers the Mappoint location server and desktop Mappoint GIS application, both of which have never been sold in Australia as the company has not previously made the investment in maps to power the software.
Roodyn predicted it will " ... take six to 12 months to get service providers using Mappoint ..." once it is operational, but that mapping services are likely to be a killer application for mobile devices.
"Location based services are very powerful," said Roodyn, a consultant to Microsoft and many other organisations on software development and mobile technologies. "People are always asking 'Where am I?' or 'How do I get there from here?' Bringing that information into a mobile device is very powerful".
Roodyn's revelation came after Mark Spain, the director of Microsoft's Mobile Devices Division, called out Mappoint as one of nine areas Microsoft believes is essential to enable development of mobile applications. He did not, however, announce the creation of a local Mappoint service to the 300-plus crowd of developers who came to hear the company spruik its mobile development mantra.