9th September 2020

Is It Time For a “Less is More” Approach To Web Mapping?

“A new wave of technological innovation is allowing us to capture, store, process and display an unprecedented amount of information about our planet … The hard part of taking advantage of this flood of geospatial information will be making sense of it - turning raw data into understandable information.” The Digital Earth: Understanding our Planet in the 21st Century, Al Gore, 1998.

Way back in 1998, US Vice President Al Gore gave a speech at the California Space Centre focusing on Digital Earth technologies and how access to online geospatial information could benefit society. Even then, long before the advent of the digital maps we use today, it was noted that a key challenge would be extracting just the information you need from the wealth of data available.

Since then, maps have become a core part of business activities, from marketing and customer care all the way through to analysis and planning use cases, with the importance especially high during the 2020 pandemic. For consumers, maps have become an expected feature in their digital interactions with brands and services-  whether looking for their nearest retail store, identifying what level of internet speeds they should expect in their area or tracking an incoming delivery.

The trouble is, this problem of information overload has persisted within many digital mapping solutions which can make them cluttered for users, and costly for businesses who often have to pay for information to be shown which isn’t relevant to the intended use case of the map. In a recent blog, we looked at an example of a Polish start-up who had to move away from Google Maps due to incompatibility with Google’s new pricing model, but this issue of inflexibility with specific needs extends to some of the largest companies in the world.

Uber’s desire to gain more efficient mapping has lead them to invest heavily in their own mapping solutions not just for financial reasons, but to gain a solution more suited to their needs. Brian McClendon, then VP of Maps at Uber, stated in a blog, “Existing maps are a good starting point, but some information isn’t that relevant to Uber, like ocean topography. There are other things we need to know a lot more about…Moreover, we need to be able to provide a seamless experience.”

Of course, the vast majority of businesses don’t have the resources to build maps in-house, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from a more efficient, flexible and customisable route to web mapping. Our MetriMaps can provide businesses with maps styled to the needs of their brand and users which display just the information pertinent to the use case such as routes, buildings, coverage layers, outage reports, or any other required geospatial information.

Get in touch with us today for an overview and we’ll show you how we can help.

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