Guided Tour: MPRouteReader
MPRouteWriter also includes MPRouteReader. This performs the opposite function to MPRouteWriter, ie. it can be used to create a MapPoint route from pushpins using a pre-determined order.
You can add multiple pushpins to MapPoint at the same time, but their route order is essentially random. It is time consuming to manually sort the pushpins. MPRouteReader was written to solve this problem and create a route from a pushpin set, sorting the pushpins in a pre-determined order.
Importing a Route
This example creates a route from waypoints in a pre-determined order.
Here is the route data before we import it into MapPoint. The waypoint order is specified using the Sequence column. This column can have any name. The numbers do not have to be continuous either - for example you could remove rows (eg. customers who do not exist or do not need a visit), leaving gaps in the sequence numbers.
You can use any method that you wish to create the pushpins in MapPoint. Excel is shown here to illustrate the sequence column.
Here the data has been imported as a pushpin set. Two of the pushpins have their balloons open to demonstrate that the sequence field has been set.
The pushpin data is ready to be imported into a route. MPRouteReader is started (see panel to the right).
The pushpin set is selected (there is only one in this example). The data field ('sequence') that will be used to sort the waypoints, is also selected.
Although we do not do it in this example, it is possible to set the waypoint stop times using the Set stop times box. You can set the waypoint stop times to the same value for all waypoints, or on a waypoint-by-waypoint basis using a pushpin data field. The route type (fastest, shortest, preferred roads) can also be set.
Press Create Route to create the route.
Here is the final imported route. Note that all of the pushpins are in the route, and they are in the order specified by the Sequence field.
The only way to achieve this in MapPoint (without MPRouteReader), is to manually add each waypoint. This might not take too long with a simple route like this, but it quickly becomes tedious with longer or multiple routes.
In this example we sorted the pushpins using the Sequence data field, which is a simple integer (whole number). MPRouteReader can sort pushpins using data fields of a number of different types, include text, currency, and time.
Next, we look at creating routes from sub-groups of pushpins.