What do you like best?
Ease of use, unlimited number of columns for attribute data (256 in most), excellent mapping done almost automatically or at any level of interaction you want, intuitive interface that remains that way when you come back to it maybe weeks later, lots of data at no extra cost, versions for several countries in the world, output an adjacency matrix which is needed for spatial statistics, spatial interpolation and overlay - estimating attributes of one geography from the known attributes of another (overlay zip codes with census tracts to estimate census variables in a zip code), buffering point, lines or polygons (and then doing spatial overlay), surface analysis, regression analysis (limited but you can export data to stat packages easily, map librarian which helps keep your maps organized, easily connect attribute data to a map, routing and drive time rings, integration with Google Maps. I have never tried to do anything I can do in other GISs that I cannot do in Maptitude - often not the other way around. Good export capability for use in other software. Excellent PDF manual, excellent tech support, videos for teaching yourself. Prince is less than half of other vendors.
What do you dislike?
I would like to see more comprehensive statistical capabilities, spatial regression not just least squares simple multivariate regression. Likely more useful would be more descriptive statistics, better graphics support for charts that look better, but Maptitude is after all a GIS package - it cannot do everything. It is easy to export to SAS, R or Stata, Excel. It would be useful to have more raster GIS capability but I use GRASS for that and I can combine the data, analysis results pretty easily. That said, even if Caliper added more raster analysis (map algebra, spatial modeling with pixels, etc.) I'd have to go back to GRASS to do the heavy lifting and the same for spatial regression. ArcGIS has ostensibly more of this capability through expensive add-ons but I do not like the algorithms they use. I would like to see the scripting language changed to Python which has a lot of capability that the current one does not. But ... frankly I seldom need it. I do have to do a lot of programming for SAS and R. I can without hesitation say that there is nothing about Maptitude that drives me nuts or causes me any grief. I definitely cannot say that for the other GIS packages that I have worked with.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
The learning curve is less steep by far compared to other GIS, but it is not flat! Take some time to really get a through introduction. The manual has lots of "One Minute" exercises which get you a very long ways. There are videos which are very good. This has made teaching GIS much easier fo me and is a big time saver. You have to lean the basic operations thoroughly to get the most benefit. However Maptitude can be used at different levels. If you need to make simple maps, mostly thematic maps, then it is very simple. If you need to really complicated stuff- you can get as immersed as necessary.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Spatial analysis of disease clusters. Mapping flight path coverage of emergency helicopters. Environmental justice: relationship of disease and causes of death to environmental hazards, toxic waste, power lines, road traffic noise and pollution to health status, Disease incidence (Bayesian regression modeling). A LOT of presentation mapping of health and demographic data for use by policy makers in government. There are two types of maps I make: 1) analysis maps. I do not care very much what they look like; I need the information for statistical modeling. 2) Presentation maps for legislators, publications, meetings with local health departments and citizens. A map will communicate and stimulate more discussion from everyone who is a stake holder in an issue more than charts and graphs and other clever visualizations. I teach GIS for use in public health. I can get students working on real problems in a couple hours with Maptitude. Other software usually requires several days to get up to speed to actually work a problem.