Press Release

Tuesday, June 17, 1997 < Prev Next >

Visio Unveils Easy-to-Use Desktop Mapping Product

Visio Maps Uses ESRI's MapObjects Code and Demographic Data to Deliver a Complete Solution for Creating and Sharing Data-Rich Geographic Maps

NEW YORK — (BUSINESS WIRE) — June 17, 1997 — Visio Corp. (NASDAQ "VSIO") today announced at PC Expo its new product Visio® Maps, a desktop mapping software product that allows users to create, share and distribute high-quality, data-rich maps quickly and easily.

Designed for the needs of users who are not geographic information systems (GIS) specialists, Visio Maps is the result of a business relationship announced in November 1996 between Visio and Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), the market leader in GIS software.

Visio Corp., which brought unmatched ease of use to business diagramming and technical drawing for the Windows desktop user, has incorporated ESRI's MapObjects technology within Visio Maps to deliver a new standard for mapping throughout the organization.

"The GIS market has experienced explosive growth as more and more corporations recognize the need for map-based data to analyze trends, patterns and relationships for better decision-making," said Gary Gigot, vice president of worldwide products at Visio. "Because Visio software is a visualization tool, its technology can be extended naturally to the GIS market, which will take the current use of Visio to a new level in problem solving."

Visio Maps Bridges a Gap in the Growing Market for GIS

GIS and mapping software are becoming increasingly popular in a variety of industries and vertical markets. Geographic information is a common denominator in more than 90 percent of existing information. GIS technology usage has increased in the past two decades, moving from the realm of academic research to markets such as government, environmental and utilities services and now, into mainstream business usage. Worldwide sales for GIS software products indicate growth at an annual rate in excess of 13 percent, and sales are likely to top the $1.3 billion mark by the end of 1997, according to Dataquest.

By introducing Visio Maps, Visio brings its well-known ease of use and power to a market category that until now has been dominated by difficult and expensive software packages. These products have traditionally required the user to be a GIS specialist, and cost more than $1,000. Visio Maps is designed for the more than 1.3 million current users of Visio software who require more sophisticated mapping capabilities; GIS users who work with, but generally do not create, GIS maps; and software developers who can use Visio Maps as a development platform.

"I haven't used a GIS desktop mapping product, but I can see its value," said Richard Reis, distributed systems architect at a large telecommunications company. "I am looking forward to a product that will permit me to easily create maps showing user and system locations. I appreciate Visio's easy-to-use interface and its capability to connect and align shapes.

About Visio Maps

An add-on to Visio software products, Visio Maps allows users to take advantage of the same familiar user interface and SmartShapes® symbols that are available in Visio, Visio Professional and Visio Technical. In addition, Visio Maps provides more than 120 new SmartShapes symbols for transportation, recreation, buildings and facilities, oil, gas and water, weather and forecasting, as well as general-purpose labels such as legends.

The product also provides mapping features offered by high-end GIS tools, including thematic shading of data, address-matching to street level, the ability to find locations by data, and spatial selection tools.

Finally, Visio Maps imports and exports data from standard ODBC-compliant databases, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, Microsoft FoxPro and Borland dBASE, in standard data file formats, thus enabling users to add and manipulate their own information within maps.

With demographic and geographic data provided by ESRI, Visio Maps provides data sets — including country, state, major city, major county, five- and three-digit ZIP code area, area of dominant influence (ADI), Census Tract, and metropolitan statistical area (MSA) boundaries, as well as five-digit ZIP code points, lakes, rivers, population centers, main roads and highways, and street addresses for the entire United States — to help users create information-rich maps.

In addition, ESRI's MapObjects, which is a collection of powerful mapping and GIS components that includes an ActiveX Control and more than 30 ActiveX Automation objects, provides the framework upon which the application is built. Visio Maps will also be compatible with ESRI's desktop GIS tool, ArcView, enabling users to share maps and data with GIS specialists in their organizations.

"We are proud to be partnering with Visio to offer a single, total-enterprise GIS solution for companies of all sizes," said Jack Dangermond, founder and president of ESRI. "By using our MapObjects code and providing compatibility with our ArcView product, Visio gives ESRI's GIS-specialist customers the unique ability to share maps with every individual in their organizations. This will dramatically increase their productivity and reinforce the importance of visualizing geographic data in business applications."

Using Visio Maps

The potential use of Visio Maps spans many industries:

  • A network manager could show the geographic area that underlies a wide area network by linking a network-configuration diagram to a map. As the configuration diagram changes, the map is automatically updated to reflect the change.
  • A florist franchisee with multiple flower shops could track revenue by store, examine locations of nearby competitors, and plot details about delivery status of orders using street-level data.
  • A school district, which is required to replot its school district boundaries yearly as regional population fluctuates, could easily access current census data and its own school records to create school-district maps.
  • A bank or financial institution could check to ensure that it is complying with current regulations by analyzing loan distributions by demographic area.

Pricing and Availability

Visio Maps will be available in August 1997 directly from Visio Corp., as well as from leading national distributors, corporate resellers and retail channels. The product is a 32-bit application designed to work with 32-bit versions of Visio 4.0, Visio Professional 4.5, or Visio Technical 4.5. Visio Maps will have a U.S. estimated street price of $199. To place an order or to obtain more information on any Visio product, customers can contact Visio at 800-24-VISIO (248-4746), ext. 93W. Additional details about Visio can be obtained on CompuServe (GO VISIO) or Visio's Web page at

About Visio Corp.

Visio Corp., a leading supplier of enterprisewide business diagramming and technical drawing software, was founded in September 1990. The Seattle-based company pioneered the drawing and diagramming market with the release of Visio 1.0 in November 1992 and has since released additional Windows-based products for the creation and exchange of drawings and diagrams in business. Visio's powerful product architecture, combined with partner programs and third-party relationships in key market segments, is establishing Visio as a desktop platform standard for the creation of graphical solutions. The company markets the Visio product line in nine languages and in more than 35 countries with more than 1 million users throughout the world.

About ESRI

ESRI was founded in 1969 as a research group devoted to improving methods of handling geographically referenced data. Today, ESRI is the leading developer of geographic information system (GIS) software, with more than 100,000 clients worldwide. ESRI also provides consulting, implementation, and technical support services. In addition to its headquarters in California, ESRI has regional offices throughout the United States, international offices and distributors in more than 70 countries, and more than 500 resellers and developers. ESRI's goal is to provide users with comprehensive tools to help them quickly and efficiently manage and use geographic information to make a real difference in the world around them. ESRI can be found on the World Wide Web at .

Visio and SmartShapes are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Visio Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks, trade names or company names referenced herein are used for identification only and are the property of their owners.

CONTACT: Waggener Edstrom

Lauren Stine, 425/637-9097