New Zealand mapping provider GeoSmart has launched a hosted service that allows customers to plot information from databases onto customisable maps.
The business visualisation software-as-a-service lets users take information containing any “location element” and draw that on a map, without additional software or experience in geographic information systems (GIS).
“All it requires is street addresses, which are geo-coded,” says Luigi Cappel, GeoSmart’s business development manager. “So in effect it could be used with any enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) solution.”
The as-yet unnamed service will allow users to create maps with colour-coded territories and “snap them together” at common borders, using relevant location data from any database — the user’s, a third-party’s or GeoSmart’s.
“It fits very well into the value added reseller model,” Cappel says.
Target users would include distribution and sales departments of service organisations, real estate companies and franchises.
Cappel says the service includes data from New Zealand’s Department of Statistics Census that are locked into place with basic information about such things as household income, property ownership and ethnicity.
“We did quite a lot of work grabbing all the coordinates and putting it into the solution,” Cappel says.
The solution had been in development for about a year when it went to its quality assurance stage in December. The product emerged from customer demand, Cappel says.
“We had a number of companies that have wanted a solution like this and they’ve helped us understand what sort of things they need,” Cappel says.
According to a company statement, a client that sold baby bottles came to GeoSmart a couple of years ago wondering why those of a particular colour were left on the shelf so long that the colours began to fade. Bottles with blue tops were left to fade in some areas, while bottles with yellow tops faded in others.
The reason for this turned out to be based on ethnic preferences for certain colours, which, according to the company would have been a difficult trend to identify from just a spreadsheet. Even without correlating inventory with census data, it “probably would have been apparent simply by seeing the locations of the retailers on a map using different colours to identify the different products.”
GeoSmart had yet to set pricing for the service, but Cappel says that it would be based on a per-company basis, not “per-seat.”
“We would anticipate a variety of people within a company to use it for different purposes,” Cappel says.