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Thursday, 5 October 2006

Mapsoft Overview

mapsoft logo

What Does Mapsoft Do?

Customised Software Solutions Mapsoft is renowned for providing software development services in the PDF and Acrobat arena. We offer a full development service ranging from initial consultations through to developing and delivering your customised software solution. Whatever your business problem, Mapsoft can design and build a software solution to help. And, all our customised solutions come with a year's free technical support as standard.

Product Sales Top products available from the Mapsoft portfolio. We have a proven history of providing robust retail software to the global business community.Free tryout versions of all our products are available. And as all our products come with one year’s free technical support as standard you can buy from Mapsoft secure in the knowledge that help is always available should you need it.

Consultancy Mapsoft has a wealth of technical experience that can be made available to your business. If you need advice or guidance on any aspect of software development, Mapsoft can help.

Which Companies has Mapsoft Done Business With?

1) Adobe Systems Inc.
2) B/E Aerospace.
3) Daimler Chrysler
4) Ernst & Young
5) Hallmark Cards
6) Lloyd's of London
7) NEC Europe
8) Network Rail
9) Sony
10) Vodafone
11) Walt Disney
12) Xerox
13) Vodafone

For further details, do not hesitate to contact me:
Michael Peters

Helping Keep British Trains on Track

Adobe® Acrobat® and ASN Developer Help Keep British Trains on Track

Software developer and Adobe Business partner, Mapsoft Computer Services, Limited, has created a unique Adobe Acrobat-based solution for Network Rail  in the United Kingdom.

“When you’re driving a train at 125 miles per hour, the last thing you want to do is hunt through a big thick book covering the whole country searching for information about track conditions on your specific route. You need to be able to quickly access the latest updates on what’s happening on your particular piece of line,” says Michael Peters, technical director of Mapsoft Computer Services, Limited.

That was the challenge behind Mapsoft’s creation of WONView, a customized software solution for Network Rail (formerly Railtrack) in the United Kingdom. Before Mapsoft’s involvement four years ago, each train operating company (TOC) was issued a complete set of Weekly Operating Notices (WONs) detailing conditions of every mile of track in the country. The train operating company in turn furnished this document to each train operator. The train operator then had to sift through this enormous document while simultaneously operating the train to determine current track conditions on his/her specific route.

Using Adobe Acrobat, Mapsoft created its WONView software for Network Rail to generate a weekly Adobe PDF file for every Network Rail area. Collectively, these files contain all information regarding all maintenance, line closures, signaling problems, speed restrictions, etc., throughout the UK.The WONView system then searches each file and extracts specific information for a given route, creating separate books for each train operating company. The drivers now receive printouts of their own unique books for quick reference in their cabs. The train operating companies can also easily access specific files to review repair work and other maintenance information in their respective areas.

“A primary reason we used Adobe Acrobat is because Network Rail information is safety critical,” says Peters. “Adobe PDF can be password protected to maintain the original document’s integrity. Specific information can be extracted from a secure file and reconfigured into a new secure file, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to the data.” As the reports are published weekly, Network Rail also needed a way to distribute the WONs rapidly. “Adobe PDF files are compact, which makes them easy to upload and download quickly.” Peters continues. “And, Adobe PDF retains all fonts, formatting, images, and layout intact. So the WONs maintain railway document standards, and the files print out exactly as intended across the TOC’s broad range of hardware and software.”

Mapsoft Computer Services, Limited, formed in 1991, is an Adobe Business Partner. Mapsoft is one of the most experienced providers of software development and consulting for Adobe Acrobat, Adobe PageMaker, and Adobe InDesign, developing solutions for Windows, UNIX, and Macintosh systems.


Michael Peters

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Bringing Proofreading Into The 21st Century

Case study: Bringing proofreading into the 21st century.

Mapsoft enhanced solution for the publishers.

Business challenge

It is undeniable that during the last century there have been many technological breakthroughs, and millions of people worldwide now use Microsoft Windows and exchange documents using the Portable Document Format (PDF) developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. Whilst these technologies provide solutions for many business challenges, many still remain. For the publishing industry, although the majority of pre-press work has been converted to digital processes over the last decade or so, a major gap in this pre-press digital chain remains: a method of marking and communicating proof corrections electronically.

Thus there was a distinct need in the publishing industry, which has not yet been addressed: to improve the proofreading process by providing a user-friendly but comprehensive method of electronic proof mark-up.

In the UK, publishing contributes over £22,000,000,000 to the economy. But before a work can be published it is usually checked by both the author and a professional proofreader to ensure that is accurate and contains no spelling or grammatical errors. This applies to every type of publication, from fiction through to company reports. Until now the proofreading process has been slow and inefficient for all concerned, with paper copies of the proofs being shipped from author to proofreader to publisher to typesetter, often at some distance from each other, and today possibly in different continents. It is also an iterative process, with each round of correction being checked for accuracy, often generating yet another round of correction, with its attendant piles of paper.

However, electronic methods of communication are not very efficient either. The only viable solutions are server-based applications. The pre-press digital chain was simply missing a link to speed up the process and benefit everyone. Until now.

To complicate matters further, a new version of the BSI (British Standard Institution) standard on proof correction was issued last year, which most of the available server-based applications do not support.

The problem was to incorporate all the necessary symbols and conventions used by professional proofreaders into one powerful tool. At the same time the tool had to be accessible and easily available for users, such as authors, who use it very occasionally, perhaps even on a one-off basis. Because PDFs are universal in the publishing industry and because Acrobat Reader is free for anyone to acquire and use, developing a tool as an add-on to Acrobat Reader seemed an obvious solution.

The solution

Barbara Horn, a freelance editorial director, and Kenneth Cowan, a production consultant recognised this gap, and were the right people to address this need. After a meeting in May 2005 of the International Organisation of Standards’ (ISO) Graphic Technology Committee, they decided to start developing an innovative product to offer electronic proofreading tools.

Cowan said: “Once the proofreading marks had been revised for global usage, it was clear to Barbara and me that the natural next step was to think about how they could be reproduced on screen”.
So, the next step was to contact John Hodgson, a publishing system designer.

“Kenneth asked me if proofing on screen could be done”, Hodgson said: “My initial reaction was ‘No way’ But then I went away, thought about it, and developed a prototype”.

This prototype was presented at an ISO conference on graphic technology in Sao Paolo in September 2005.

“Kenneth asked me if proofing on screen could be done” Hodgson said: “My initial reaction was ‘No way’ But then I went away, thought about it, and developed a prototype”.

The breakthrough was on its way, and quickly gathered momentum when Adobe accepted the project as an official plug-in to the Adobe Reader.

However, the project would have been incomplete if it had not been for Mapsoft Computer Services, a leading Adobe Solution Network (ASN) partner. In late September 2005, after the ISO conference, John Hodgson contacted Michael Peters, the Managing Director of Mapsoft, to discuss all of the details.

“I didn’t have doubts at all that it could be done,” Peters said. “We discussed it to decide future stategy. However the technical side has to be left to us once we had decided on the specification.”

The solution was now well on its way, with Mapsoft and Paperlessproofs ltd driving the solution forward together. And so Paperlessproofs was born. The communication between companies was perfect as:

“Everything has been very straightforward with Mapsoft. All our development requests were efficiently and effectively implemented.” Hodgson said.

The success of this relationship was based on a simple business formula: customers and their needs were put first. Peters said:

“We were satisfied with our results. But more importantly, so was the customer.”

Finally, Mapsoft delivered a completely innovative product. Development took approximately six months. The plug-in has been very well received and early feedback from customers is very encouraging.

Core business benefits

1) Cost savings on paper proofs and delivery costs.
2) Time savings by not using post/couriers: can knock up to two weeks off a production schedule.
3) Reduced costs from typesetters i.e. proofs are more legible.
4) Improved accuracy: no handwriting or ambigious marks to decipher.

Publisher’s benefits

1) Security against loss in transit
2)No need to copy marked proofs before sending on to next stage
Collation of proofs
3) Comparing authors proofs with proofreaders proofs and making one proof with both sets of corrections easier
4) Easy and intuitive interface of proofreading
5) No commitment to expensive
6) Software: pay only for the proofs used

About Mapsoft 

Mapsoft is a leading software developer and technical authoring consultancy for Adobe Acrobat, PageMaker and InDesign plug-in product extensions. Founded in 1991, Mapsoft is an Adobe business partner and delivers customised plug-in products worldwide, with clients including Lloyd’s of London, Hallmark Cards, Network Rail and Xerox.

Mapsoft Contact
Michael Peters