Map It customizations and driving directions

Outlook holds a mapping function to locate your contacts on the map. By default this will use the Bing Maps service but you can tweak Outlook to also use Google Maps or another mapping service.

While the mapping function in Outlook is great to pinpoint your contacts, a common request is to also get driving directions to this contact. This guide will explain how you can customize the mapping feature to also act as a route planner. In addition, this guide will also list and discuss several add-ins which can add more advanced mapping features to Outlook.

To add mapping or driving direction functionality to Appointment and Meetings, see this guide for a customizable macro or choose from a mapping add-in below.


Map It

The Map It function has been a part of Outlook since Outlook 2000 but is much more discoverable since Outlook 2010 where a large Map It icon is placed next to the address field of the contact. In Outlook 2003 or later, the mapping feature will use the Bing Maps service but if you are still using Outlook 2000 or Outlook 2002/XP it will still point to the MapPoint service on MSN.

Map It in Outlook 2003 Map It in Outlook 2007
Map It in Outlook 2003 and previous Map It in Outlook 2007
Map It in Outlook 2010
The Map It feature has been moved directly next to the address in Outlook 2010.

Change mapping service

To change the mapping feature to a different service, you can add the following registry key;

Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\<version>\Outlook\Options\General
Value name: MapScriptURL
Value type: REG_SZ

As the value, this registry key requires a URL (Internet address) which points to a mapping service. In the URL of the mapping service to be used, the address fields exposed should be replaced with the following codes for the contact fields;

Contact field Replacement code
Street <0s>
City <1s>
State <2s>
Zip code <3s>
Country <4s>

To restore it to the original service again, simply remove the MapScriptURL key.

Example URL scripts
You can use the following URLs directly for the MapScriptURL value;

Bing Maps
http://www.bing.com/maps/?where1=<0s>, <1s>, <2s>, <3s>, <4s>

Google Maps
http://maps.google.com/?q=<0s>, <1s>, <2s>, <3s>, <4s>

MapQuest
http://www.mapquest.com/maps?address=<0s>&city=<1s>&state=<2s>&zipcode=<3s>&country=<4s>

Yahoo Maps
http://maps.yahoo.com/?q1=<0s>, <1s>, <2s>, <3s>, <4s>

Download:
If you’re not comfortable with modifying the registry yourself, you can download this zip-file.
From this zip-file, select your version of Outlook and execute the reg-file for the mapping service that you want.

 

Note:
If Bing has issues finding the address you are looking for, it could help to change the order of the URL codes for the address. This is because Bing accepts the address as a single query and expect you to place it in the correct order format for your country.

If the default string fails for you, try the following instead;
http://www.bing.com/maps/?where1=<0s>, <1s>, <3s>, <2s>, <4s>

In the downloadable zip-file, this format has been labeled as “bing-alternative”.

 

Editing the MapScriptURL in the registry
Setting Google as the mapping service for Map It in the Registry.
(click on image to enlarge)

Directions from your home or company

If you would like the Map It function to give you directions by default, then you can customize the MapScriptURL for your mapping service to include an address as the default starting point. Many of the web services also allow you to leave the starting address blank. This would allow you to directly jump to the driving directions interface of the web service.

In the examples below, replace street, city, state, zip and country with the corresponding address information of your starting point.

Google
Base address http://maps.google.com/?
Starting address variable saddr=
Destination address variable daddr=
More information Mapki: Google Map Parameters
Query Strings: Google Maps Query String Parameters

 

Example
Start and endpoint;
http://maps.google.com/?saddr=street,city,state,zip,country&daddr=<0s>, <1s>, <2s>, <3s>, <4s>

End point only;
http://maps.google.com/?daddr=<0s>, <1s>, <2s>, <3s>, <4s>

Bing
Base address http://www.bing.com/maps/?
Directions variable rtp=
Format adr.startingaddress~adr.destinationaddress
More information Build your own URL.

 

Example
Start and endpoint;
http://www.bing.com/maps/?rtp=adr.street,city,state,zip,country~adr.<0s>, <1s>, <2s>, <3s>, <4s>

End point only;
http://www.bing.com/maps/?rtp=~adr.<0s>, <1s>, <2s>, <3s>, <4s>

MapQuest
Base address http://www.mapquest.com/maps?
Starting address variable 1a=
1c=
1s=
1z=
1y=
Destination address variable 2a=
2c=
2s=
2z=
2y=

 

Example
Start and endpoint;
http://www.mapquest.com/maps?1a=address&1c=city&1s=state&1z=zip&1y=country&2a=<0s>&2c=<1s>&2s=<2s>&2z=<3s>&2y=<4s>

End point only;
http://www.mapquest.com/maps?2a=<0s>&2c=<1s>&2s=<2s>&2z=<3s>&2y=<4s>

Yahoo Maps
Base address http://maps.yahoo.com/?
Starting address variable q1=
Destination address variable q2=
More information Yahoo! Maps Help

 

Example
Start and endpoint;
http://maps.yahoo.com/?q1=address,city,state,zip,country&q2=<0s>, <1s>, <2s>, <3s>, <4s>

End point only;
http://maps.yahoo.com/?q2=<0s>, <1s>, <2s>, <3s>, <4s>

 


Mapping Add-ins

There are various add-ins which also add mapping service functionality to Outlook.

Live Local add-in

The Live Local add-in was an add-in supplied by Microsoft which integrated the Live Maps mapping service into Calendar appointments. Due to several issues with the add-in, this add-in is no longer available and no announcement has been made whether it will ever become available again.

Due to the issues, Microsoft recommends that you uninstall this add-in if you still have it installed. Complete removal instructions by Microsoft can be found in KB961081.

Microsoft MapPoint

Microsoft MapPoint is a mapping application which can be fully installed on the computer. This means that, other than other mapping services, it is fully functional even when you are not on-line. While mainly focused on visualizing business data, it also functions as a route planner, you can save custom maps and has GPS support.

It also comes with an add-in for Outlook which will allow you to locate your contacts in MapPoint. With some combinations of MapPoint and Outlook versions, this add-in is disabled by default and has to be activated manually. The location of the COM Add-In needed is;
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Geography\MPOAI##.dll
Replace ## with the number representing your MapPoint version.

Background info:
Up until Outlook 2003, when MapPoint was installed, MapPoint replaced the Map It icon Map It icon from Outlook with a MapPoint icon MapPoint icon. Since Outlook 2007, the Map It icon is no longer being replaced when MapPoint is installed. Instead, in Outlook 2007, a MapPoint icon is added to the main Outlook window. When a contact is opened in its own window, the MapPoint functionality can be found on the Add-Ins tab. In Outlook 2010, the MapPoint functionality is on the Add-Ins tab for both the main Outlook and the contact window.

This integration can be easily disabled by disabling the COM Add-in named: MapPoint Office Add-In.

 

MapPoint in Ribbon
MapPoint add-in in the Ribbon of Outlook 2007.

Instyler Travel Add-in

The Travel-Time add-in from Instyler is compatible with Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 and uses the mapping service from Bing. It adds a directions button to the appointment/meeting window. It also allows you to automatically add traveling time for your appointments and to generate travel expensive reports.

When pressing the Directions button, the add-in uses your predefined address and the location field of the appointment or meeting to get the directions. The nice thing of this add-in is that this is being done directly in the appointment or meeting window and does not launch an external browser. This mapping is being done via Bing Maps.

The main feature of this add-in is being able to set the travelling time needed to reach the location of the appointment or meeting. It has also a feature to calculate this automatically for you in the background (via OpenRouteService). When moving around the appointment/meeting in your calendar, it moves the traveling time block with it.

Automatically creating travel expense reports in Excel comes in handy when you do not have to pay for your own traveling. The Excel template can be customized to for instance to match the company’s template and to only view the information that you want.

Download: Travel Time Add-In for Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 (Bing Maps/OpenRouteService)
Discount code: HOWTOOUTLOOK

Travel add-in
Travel add-in for Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010.

Google Maps for Outlook

Google Maps for Outlook is another free mapping service add-in and, as the name already lets out, uses the mapping service from Google. This add-in is also only for Outlook 2007 and adds a “Maps Add-In” menu to the main Outlook windows and a Location group to the Appointment/Meeting window.

The menu allows you to show a map of the location of the contact when a contact is selected. It also allows you to select (and save) a contact’s address as the From and To address. When you then press the “Show Directions” option, Google Maps is launched and directly displays the driving directions.

In the Appointment/Meeting window, the Show Map button will take the information from the Location field on the appointment or meeting and map that in Google Maps. The Direction button will allow you to select a saved address and set it as the From or To location so that you can easily get directions to or from the appointment or meeting location.

Download: Maps for Outlook 2007 (Google Maps)

Google Maps add-in
Google Maps add-in for Outlook 2007.