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Outlook Contacts and the Map Feature

Outlook Contacts and the Map Feature

Continuing in the Geographical / Mapping / Locational Services vein …

Of all the features in Microsoft Outlook the one that has been consistently under-implemented since Outlook 2000 is the Map Address feature for Outlook Contacts:

Outlook-Contact 

The Map Address button found on the Contacts Toolbar contact-map has never fulfilled its potential throughout each iteration/ version of Outlook. What does the button do? It takes the address data and locates it in Live Maps (once upon a time this was done via Expedia Maps). However, once the data is displayed in the user’s browser Window, then what?

The user has no real way of embedding the map into the Contact; at best you can manually paste the hyperlink from the browser into the Contact.

Furthermore, for the most part, this feature is not supported outside the United States. Microsoft is an International corporation and Outlook is used the world round. Windows Live Maps supposedly has full-World coverage so why not enable the user to: –

  1. Locate any address in the World.
  2. Have the option to save from the Live Map back to the Contact a copy of the map using the Map Cruncher Add-on to decide which layers are relevant.

In an ideal world, much the same way as Internet Explorer 7 allows the user to add Search services and select a default this feature should allow the user to add and select a default Geo-search service of their choice (Live Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps to name a few).

There is a way to alter this but it requires a deep knowledge of the Windows Registry to understand where this is defined. This is not something I recommend playing with unless you have in-depth knowledge of Outlook, the registry & how to roll-back should you make a mistake.

Until Microsoft fixes this, the Map Address feature will languish unfulfilled.

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