Most South Africans on Facebook are familiar with FourSquare, the location application that allows us to tag where we are with a simple app. Now, alocal startup has taken location-based services to a new level.

Designed to make location sharing easier and more fun, !Waytag is an application that allows users to create their own personal or business location tag that can be used by other !Waytag subscribers to immediately identify a location.

The concept is simple. Instead of using the traditional long-winded physical address details of a location, Waytag takes the geo-location co-ordinates and turns them into a tag named plainly in a few words, for example “!Bobhome” or “!Woolworths.Sandton.City” .

“The concept works much like the domain name of most web sites: It’s easy to remember a string of normal characters which you can type into any web browser and get to the site you want. Behind that simple name of course lies a far more complex IP address system,” explains Richard Firth, CEO of MIP Holdings. “It makes no sense to have to type a long address or GPS co-ordinates into a GPS device when you can simply find the person or business you are looking for through the !Waytag application.”

Waytag users create a free address (!waytag) that they can name, update, and manage. The tag can be linked to an individual, a set location, or a business, and the owner of the !waytag can choose who to share the !Waytag with, and can update it on the move. This offers individuals and businesses unlimited ways to make their location easy to find.

“For example, ordering a pizza can be as simple as sending Debonairs your !Waytag, knowing that the pizza will find you whether you’re at home or sitting on the beach. Or if a business moves, updating its address information is as simple as updating its !Waytag. Now, there’s no need to give long-winded addresses or directions to someone, just send them the !Waytag,” says Firth. “Not only does !Waytag provide its own value proposition, it enhances location-based applications such as Foursquare by providing an even simpler and more convenient way for businesses and individuals to interact with location.”

The obvious ease-of-use of this system has prompted global GPS giant TomTom to sign a four year agreement with !Waytag to deliver maps and Points of Interest to power this unique location platform. Firth points out that businesses can use this to their advantage, taking ownership of their GPS labelled Points of Interest in the form off a !Waytag.

“Your !Waytag is yours for life and can be updated wherever you are. When you move, simply update your !Waytag and those you have shared it with will be directed to your new location. Now companies can rest assured that their customers will always know where they are – and that their location will be highlighted to all !Waytag users in the neighbourhood and in the future any on line GPS device.”

In addition to using the !Waytags as a simple means of highlighting a location, companies can use the !Waytag API to enhance their business.

“Banks can use !Waytags as a means of identifying credit card and ATM fraud, retailers can offer location-based specials, and deliveries will always reach the right person at the right place,” Firth adds. “The functions of this application are endless. It’s no wonder then that internationally renowned TheNextWeb nominated !Waytag one of the most innovative start-ups of the year.”