AfriGIS, a location based services company, has made its dynamic, interactive maps freely available to companies and individuals enabling the integration of AfriGIS’ maps into their HTML websites.
Magnus Rademeyer, AfriGIS MD, says people simply have to visit maps.AfriGIS.co.za and register for free. They will then receive a key to AfriGIS’ map server, which is then integrated into the code of their website.
“Once this has been done, the website displays an interactive map. Anyone visiting the website will be able to use the map to find the route from one point to another. Additional functionality includes being able to zoom in and out, specifying the coordinates and scale of where the map should open on the website and adding points to the map.
“Additional points of interests which could be added to the map could include the company’s position on the map, shopping malls in the area, petrol stations, emergency services, schools and more, allowing a company whose geographical position is important to maximise the benefit of their location to their customers,” he says.
Drawing this into a practical example, if a company wanted to post a map to its offices on the company website, Rademeyer says the interactive map could be set to open on their suburb, with the company logo marking the specific location of its offices on the map.
If anyone needed further assistance in getting to the offices, they would type in their own location and the map would show them the route to the company’s offices with written directions, he adds.
The maps could also be used to find directions to any other location by specifying the starting and finishing points, opening up the maps for general use. The maps work across all major browsers including Internet Explorer 6 and 7, FireFox, Opera and Safari.
AfriGIS has built up a comprehensive database of maps and these are constantly being improved, Rademeyer says. Free updates will be made available quarterly.
Rademeyer says the proliferation of mobile GPS devices into the market and map services from the likes of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have resulted in a significant increase in interest in the benefits of location based services.
Rademeyer says AfriGIS has been able to make the maps free for the first 10 000 views a month by placing advertising down the side of each map served. The revenue generated from the advertising will be shared with the company using the maps on a 60%/40% basis to make it mutually beneficial.
“What this means is that people can monetise the use of the map on their website. So for example if a blogger integrated the interactive map into their website and all the people who read the blog used the map whenever they needed directions, then the blogger would earn revenue from the advertising on each map served just as they would from banner and text advertising on their site,” he says.
Companies could take the idea one step further by creating exposure for their suppliers or partners on the maps. An Italian restaurant’s website could contain adverts for the wine sold in the restaurant or the pasta used by the chef, while technology companies could advertise the companies they partner with, Rademeyer explains.
“The maps can therefore be used to promote companies’ partners or suppliers to people who visit them and to those who may just be using the site to get good directions,” Rademeyer says. “Whatever the case, the aim of making interactive maps freely available is to create awareness about the power of location based services and how useful accurate maps are in assisting people with finding geographical information that they need.”