We've been using Rubicon Atlas since 02, and before that we used a spreadsheet (NOT recommended) for a couple of years. In 94-95 we did a comprehensive map (best buy-in ever) using 3x5 cards pinned to a wall full of bulletin boards. The trick is to get the administrative types and department heads on board and to reserve even a small amount of time to get the work done.
How many times do people at you school say "Well, we need to look at what we already do" but then make little or no real effort to see what that is? It makes me crazy to have folks on the verge of getting into an interesting and important initiative and then completely ignore the potential that mapping has for gathering data, even to provide a baseline on some particular aspect of curriculum and assessment. Some people really don't GET the possibilities inherent in mapping, and (like so many things) your in-house true believers don't always seem able to convey the message; you need to have Heidi Hayes Jacobs in there in person, apparently.
You may have guessed that I have been the mapping enthusiast at our place or a while, but the ebb and flow of interest on the part of other academic administrators has been more than a little frustrating. We're in the middle of a big "What do we do about diversity in the curriculum?" discussion as well as a big initiative on assessment. We've had a category in our map for several years relating to "cultural connections," and of course assessment has been a capture category since forever, and yet folks seem puzzled by how mapping could be useful as a data-gathering tool. Guess we need HHJ and the Rubicon folks to come in and demonstrate the obvious.
We're in Year 2 of using Rubicon Atlas. The user interface is really simple, the tech suport and training they've provided has been fantastic, and I find it really easy to administer. *However*, rollout is key and I have some definite regrets about the way/pace we rolled Atlas out to our faculty.
We set out to choose a software package and were not too impressed with the choices. We have a "work day" here where everyone spends a day doing something for the school that is outside their usual realm. Quite remarkably, four of us spent the day and many other hours of our own developing our own system using mysql, css, and php. We are still working on it and faculty are already preparing for the data entry date. Our hope is to refine and then make it open source. If we do you will all know about it so you can look at if for your needs.
We did use Rubicon but dropped it when the graphic design got old and the upgrade cost was higher than we liked. The Rubicon staff were fantastic about exporting the data to Excel for us -- we walked away with all our data in hand, which is not something many companies would invest much time in. I wrote a custom Perl script for both public users and an editing tool for our teachers. This is tied into teachers' Active Directory logins, and the public front-end uses our standard web site template. I spent a good chunk of time developing the Perl script and occasionally have to tinker with the mySQL entries on the back-end, but overall the transition has been 100% worth it, and we no longer pay annual software maintenance fees.