A Comparison of Maptitude, Base TransCAD, and Standard TransCAD


TransCAD is a sophisticated transportation planning application with extensive capabilities for the transportation planning industry. TransCAD has many data structures or objects that are not present in Maptitude.

Both TransCAD and Maptitude share similar formats for point, line, and area layers. However, TransCAD matrices, networks, and route systems cannot be viewed or imported into Maptitude.

TransCAD has extensive capabilities for manipulating route systems that are used for many things in transportation including designation of routes that connect locations along highways, transit networks, and air links. In TransCAD, you can create, edit, and display route systems as well as perform analysis of route system characteristics.

TransCAD supports linear referencing. TransCAD can query and display geographic data in route-milepost format, create data in this format, adjust mileposts, and create strip charts.

TransCAD has extensive capabilities for manipulating matrices. Matrices are used for distance and travel time tables as well as for maintaining flow information. In TransCAD, you can have an unlimited number of matrices of virtually unlimited size. There are numerous functions supported for performing matrix calculations. TransCAD also supports interactive matrix editing and display of matrix information in the form of desire lines.

TransCAD provides control over network turn restrictions, turn penalties, and transfer penalties and network links can be enabled and disabled.

In TransCAD, you can calculate summary statistics, produce tabulations, and cross-tabulations, correlation matrices, perform linear model estimation and evaluation, and calculate spatial statistics.


Maptitude is a Geographic Information System (GIS Software) that is designed to store, retrieve, manage, display, and analyze all types of geographic and spatial data.

Maptitude lets you produce maps and other graphic displays of geographic information for analysis and presentation. With these capabilities, Maptitude is a valuable tool to visualize spatial data. Maptitude is one of the most popular GIS software packages and has extensive functionality. The Maptitude capabilities include map and layer controls, visualization tools, geocoding, GIS mapping tools and geographic analytics (territory building tools, buffers, Thiessen Polygons, geographic overlay, hot spots, weighted center, shortest path, drive-time bands, drive-time territories, measuring tools, desire lines, surface analysis, data classification, GPS support, internet mapping, and facility location), imagery/raster tools, and relational database capabilities. Maptitude can find shortest paths on line layers one at a time, but does not support the TransCAD network tools.

Base TransCAD vs. Standard TransCAD

Base TransCAD has most of the GIS capabilities of TransCAD but many fewer procedures for transportation planning and analysis. Procedures included with both versions of TransCAD include network creation, shortest path calculations, network partitioning, and the creation of network bands (isochrones). Procedures not included with Base TransCAD are all of the travel demand forecasting and routing/logistics procedures.

Planning utilities which permit importing of CTPP and PUMS files, import of TranPlan, MINUTP, emme/2, and TRIPS files are not included in Base TransCAD.

There are some additional capabilities for public transit that are part of TransCAD that are not in Base TransCAD. These include transit O-D estimation, shortest path based upon schedules, and traveler information functions.

Lastly, TransCAD has many advanced features for editing line layers that are not included in Maptitude or Base TransCAD. These include creation of interchanges and conflation of less accurate line layers to more accurate ones.

Additional Notes on GISDK and Compatibility

The GISDK included with Maptitude is limited to the functions supported in Maptitude. The GISDK for TransCAD is included with Base TransCAD. The capability to run batch mode scripts is only included with TransCAD and will not run with Base TransCAD.

Caliper does not guarantee the compatibility or interoperability of Maptitude and TransCAD. As part of our product development activities, enhancements to underlying file formats may appear first in one product and not in the other. TransCAD and Base TransCAD will always be perfectly compatible at the same Version level, e.g., TransCAD 8.0 and TransCAD Base 8.0.

Supported Data Structures Maptitude Base TransCAD Standard TransCAD
Point Layers Yes Yes Yes
Line Layers Yes Yes Yes
Areas Layers Yes Yes Yes
Raster Image Layers (e.g. BMP, GeoTIFF, JPEG, MrSID) Yes Yes Yes
Matrices   Yes Yes
Route Systems   Yes Yes
Networks   Yes Yes
Transit Networks     Yes
GIS Features Maptitude Base TransCAD Standard TransCAD
Geocoding Yes Yes Yes
Geographic Analysis (e.g. areas of influence, bands, density grids) Yes Yes Yes
Surface Analysis Yes Yes Yes
MapWizard Thematic Mapping Yes Yes Yes
GPS Interface Yes Yes Yes
Map Locator/Overview Window Yes Yes Yes
Feature Selection/Geographic Queries Yes Yes Yes
Aggregate and Disaggregate Attribute Data Yes Yes Yes
Basic Geographic Editing (e.g., add, delete, join, split) Yes Yes Yes
Linear Referencing and Strip Charts   Yes Yes
Interchange Editor     Yes
Conflation Tools     Yes
Statistics Maptitude Base TransCAD Standard TransCAD
Summary Statistics Yes Yes Yes
Linear Model Estimation and Evaluation Yes Yes Yes
Spatial Statistics Yes Yes Yes
Tabulations and Cross-Tabulations   Yes Yes
Correlation Matrices   Yes Yes
Transportation Procedures Maptitude Base TransCAD Standard TransCAD
Shortest Path on a Line Layer Yes Yes Yes
Shortest Path with Turn or Transfer Penalties   Yes Yes
Address to Address Shortest Path Yes Yes Yes
Multiple Shortest Path Yes Yes Yes
Network Partitioning Yes Yes Yes
Network Bands (Drive-Time Rings) Yes Yes Yes
Traveling Salesman Yes Yes Yes
Travel Demand Forecasting     Yes
Trip Generation, Trip Attraction, and Trip Balancing     Yes
Trip Distribution     Yes
Mode Choice Analysis     Yes
Traffic Assignment     Yes
Transit Assignment     Yes
O-D Matrix Estimation     Yes
Routing     Yes
Arc/Street Routing     Yes