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Adding Game Mechanics and Location To Loyalty Cards

Following on from my last blog Adding Location to Loyalty Cards, an area that I feel is really important is game mechanics. One of the problems with loyalty cards is that they are inherently boring and there are lots of them. We live in a world of constant distraction and we want instant gratification. However that gratification doesn’t have to be a free air ticket or turbo food processor with Ginzu knives. It can be as simple as points or recognition and applications today need to evolve as the public become more tech savvy on their mobiles.

What is game mechanics and how is it relevant? Playing games is part of who we human animals are. Games are a natural part of entertainment and education, whether it is a child doing its first jigsaw puzzle, or the All Blacks heading into a rugby match at that international world competition for a cup. Yes, ultimately no matter how passionate we are about success, Graham Henry and the NZRFU themselves said “It’s just a game.”

Games are immensely popular and computer and mobile  offers massive revenue potential. Gartner predicts that the global video game industry on its own will generate revenues of over US$112 billion by 2015. That doesn’t even take into consideration mobile. Application developers have been all over Facebook, now on Google+ and on devices such as iPhone, iPad and Android and now developers of smart location based games and marketing applications are heading the same way.

Developers are looking to use our interest and passion for playing games to influence the behaviour of consumers and it is working. One obvious area is in the retail, travel, tourism, attraction, hospitality and entertainment industries. Of course as I have outlined in many recent blogs, loyalty is a key aspect that all of these industries are looking for, or in other words, profitable repeat business.

So what aspects should a loyalty application include. A major one is achievements. I’ve talked about reward and that rewards don’t have to be tangible items. A reward can be points such as the points used by Foursquare when you check into a location. They also have badges and mayorships which are either the reward itself or their may be special deals or offers made to those people who come in regularly. The new Tap City game allows you to earn virtual dollars for checking in. One of the great things about group loyalty operations is the ability to cross market, for example using a passport concept where the more locations you check in to, the more rewards you get.

The appointment dynamic is extremely powerful. This is where you want people to do something at either a predetermined time or an ad hoc time. For example a restaurant that is always quiet between 3PM and 5PM on a particular day of the week might offer incentives within the application to get more business at that time of day. The concept I like the most, is pushing deals when you have inventory you want to use in a hurry. An example might be the special of the day in a restaurant where you haven’t sold as much as you catered for. The classic story I often use of a jet boat that is going out in 20 minutes with 5 empty seats. This is a perfect opportunity to push a deal to people who are close by and have opted in to be offered deals. The cost differential between having 4 or 9 passengers is negligible but the fun and entertainment factor of 9 people screaming as the boat does a 360 degree spin is significantly greater for all, including the 4 who paid full price. There is also a potential dynamic of more people seeing them having fun and therefore wanting to have a go themselves. The same could apply to any attraction, like the luges in Auckland and Queenstown.

Queenstown Luge

I can come up with a hundred concepts for different types of locations for cafe’s, restaurants, attractions, theatres, travel, accommodation, entertainment, retail, sport, tourism and so can you.

I will continue this blog next week with more thoughts on game mechanics or gamification that you might like to consider in your location based application. Remember, GeoSmart has all the data and tools you ned to make these ideas possible and whilst we don’t develop these sorts of applications ourselves, we have many partners who are keen to assist you if you want to take advantage of the opportunities now possible because of the large number of people using location aware mobiles. The question is how much extra business would you like?

Maybe you would like to join the discussion and leave a comment of your own to add to the mix?

September 23, 2011 Posted by | Check Ins, foursquare, geosmart, iphone, lbs games, location based services, Mapping Applications, Mobile maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Retail, Retail Profit, Rugby, Rugby World Cup, Sales, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Location is Going Places

Obviously we would love to be writing more blogs about how our clients and partners are writing location-based apps using GeoSmart Maps API’s and Web Services and how we are helping the discover new ways to use location for proximity based marketing, location-based games (read future proximity based marketing), location-based education and  much more.The good news is that there are many new projects happening and more announcements to come next week from our camp.

There are companies who automatically go to global map providers because they perceive there is no difference and maps are pretty much all the same. To those people I say, go and have a look at the new Upper Harbour Motorway on AA Maps (one of our clients) using GeoSmart Maps and then check any other map provider on the web or on a mobile application. It’s only one of many locations we update as they happen because we are local and we care about providing the best data to our clients and to New Zealand motorists, but it is pretty major if you travel between west and north Auckland.

So this blog is for those of you who are wanting to develop applications using quality maps and location-based data, because we want to keep you informed and share great ideas with you and help you achieve your goals, whatever your business models and budgets may be.

One of the areas that I think is huge is proximity based marketing. If you are running loyalty programs, you really need to think about what you are doing. If they are working well, then we say they could be working much better, if they are not performing the way you would like, you should talk to us about how we can help, because location is our bread and butter.

As we have discussed before, the marriage of social media and location is really going places. I’d like to mention a couple of recent developments relevant to the many blogs here.

Foursquare

Now obviously Foursquare is global and needs more than the excellent New Zealand and Australian Maps we provide, but they are really showing the way to develop successful check in software. Want to know more about check ins and Foursquare have a look at more of the blogs on this site.

One of the things that people have been asking about is how to push a message to people based on their proximity. In effect, rather than have people open up Foursquare and look for deals and promotions near you, what people have been asking me about almost daily is how do we push an alert to people, rather than have them stumble on opportunities.

Now Foursquare has their own very popular application and I hope to hear that their latest announcement appears on their own application as well as the API’s they offer to developers. The Foursquare global hackathon starts tomorrow and it has een whispered on many sites around the world that one of the new features to be launched there is a Push API.

What does this mean? Well effectively it is an opportunity for developers to look at ways to send push messages to people using their applications using the Foursquare API’s. During the hackathon there will be competitions to see who can come up with the best applications using this functionality over the week. It could be almost anything and I’m hoping that this will provide our local New Zealand developers with ideas as to what they can do using these concepts. A few ideas being floated include:

  • Your mobile shopping list reminds you that you haven’t bought the milk and you are passing your local grocery store.
  • You are at a bar or restaurant and your app tells you that you have friends nearby. You can notify them where you are and get them to join you.
  • Your restaurant has empty seats and you have loyalty customers nearby, send them an invitation with tonight’s specials
  • Your loyalty card has double points today and you are about to pass your favourite Petrol Station, DIY, Clothing, Consumer Electronics store

Obviously we have much cooler ideas in our treasure chest to share with our clients, but you get the idea I hope. This is one of the missing links and is going to turn the concept of check-ins on its ear in my humble opinion. Now you don’t need to use Foursquare for this, although I’m not saying you shouldn’t. Personally I’d like to see these sorts of things being developed and proven locally in the way good Kiwi entrepreneurs do, with support from GeoSmart and then shipped overseas generating export revenues.

We have clever and passionate people here and sometimes it frustrates me that companies developing applications around locality instantly go to American or other map providers who aren’t passionate about New Zealand aren’t keeping their maps up to date and don’t have local resources to help. OK, I’m off my soap box people.

September 15, 2011 Posted by | AA Maps, Auckland, Australia, Australia Maps, channel partner, Check Ins, competition, competitions, foursquare, geosmart, gps, ICT, Indoor Navigation, iphone, lbs, lbs games, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, Social Media, social networking, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consumers are Checking In to Retail Stores

In my previous blog I pointed out that that retailers were not adopting strategies for check in location based marketing. In the blog prior to that I quoted Comstat research that shows that in the first 3 months of this year 16.7 million people check into locations using Foursquare and similar applications, representing 7.1% of the total mobile population. I don’t know what the statistics are for New Zealand, but I suspect the numbers are somewhere between 5 and 7% of the NZ mobile user population.

Comstat also came up with some interesting statistics about the demographics of those users.

Firstly a lot of people think this is technology for men, that they are the geeks, but of course women love to shop, they are social shoppers and as the graph shows, there are in fact more women than men checking in!

The predominant age group should be no surprise, we would expect 18-44 year olds to be the most tech savvy and of course having disposable income for Smartphones which are the predominant mobile used for check ins. Again from Comstat for the first 3 months of this year in the USA Android pipped Apple at 36.6% to 33.7$ of devices used for checking in.

The largest group of users were in full time employment 46.6% and the second largest at 23.3% were full time students.

Just as a footnote to my blog on Group Deals and Bricks and Mortar Business there was an interesting story in eMarketer a couple of days ago. The story contained statistics that from research by Cooper Murphy Copywriters in July this year, 82% of Groupon users expressed dissatisfaction with the level of repeat business they generated from their campaigns and 49% would not use them again. This is interesting when many companies use daily deal type promotions to introduce new customers to their stores.

Of course you know where I am going with this series and that is that Location or Proximity Based Marketing offers far more compelling tools for retailers and other destination businesses to entice people into their premises. Obviously a fundamental component of that is not just how to get them to come to you, but how to get them there when you want them and to have them purchase or consume products or services that achieve your goals. For a retailer that might be those same products you were quitting on a daily deal, but like the Auckland superette owner who has been selling milk at 10 cents below cost as a loss leader, part of the strategy behind that is the opportunity to merchandise other products those same people will buy with a healthy profit margin. If you have an aged stock problem, location based marketing can get people into your store and while they enjoy the low price of your distressed inventory, put something at eye level in from of them that increases the profit of your sale. Cherry pickers do not make you profit.

Likewise if you have a cafe or restaurant, don’t just offer a free coffee with $5 worth of food. Offer it only at times when your business is empty and not to the people who were coming in anyway, they are dealt with using your normal loyalty program. Of course loyalty marketing is also very important and fits into location, but you’re going to have to come back to a future blog for that.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you think this is of interest to people you know, please tell them about it or send them a link. You can also subscribe using the RSS feed.

August 11, 2011 Posted by | Android, Auckland, Business Intelligence, Check Ins, competition, Distribution, foursquare, iphone, lbs, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, Marketing, Mobile maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Retail, Retail Profit, ROI, Sales, software, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Analysing Car Sales Using WebMap Part 1

This can apply to any segment, but lets use car sales as an example today. Lets imagine you are Sales Manager for a car dealership. You have a budget to achieve and you need to understand what is going on in your territory. You have 6 sales people, each has a unit and dollar budget and you have a budget for each model of car you have on offer.

You have got some excellent sales history, because you are selling big ticket items and you know where the people live who purchased your cars. Using the GeoSmart Business Visualisation Application you can see the locations of all the cars sold in December.

Small Car Sales

In this example, you are looking at small engine car sales from your dealership in an area of Auckland’s North Shore. This already shows you that you seem to have made sales in clusters of area, but there are other areas where you haven’t made sales of this class of vehicle.

Now lets think about other things you can do. First we can also overlay in different colours, car sales for December of your other models. You can display each model’s sales in a different colour. Now you may start to see some change, you may see that you get clusters of SUV or high end sedan sales in other areas, or you may still see gaps.

Another thing you can do as a separate view is look at all sales by one of your sales people on the map. In the same way as you did with the car models, you can assign each sales person a colour and display their sales on the map at the same time. You may again see some interesting things. Maybe one sales person is getting more sales in a particular area. He may be using a referral technique that the others can learn from. I’m being simplistic and generalist here, but there is always going to be a reason for the results you are getting and these reasons are often impossible to find using spreadsheets and tables on their own.

Another query you could run is viewing car sales per sales person by model, comparing them with other sales people per model on the map.

Given that you have sales history for each month, you could do the same sort of thing by visualising the above information by date. Assign a different colour to each month and you can then view each map and see if you can spot any trends. In your financial systems you have a wealth of information and we provide the ability to query that information and display in on the map. For example, some of the things you might query are:

  • Gender of the purchaser?
  • Age Group?
  • Have they purchased from you before?
  • What was their last car? Same brand or change? Larger or smaller?
  • Was there a trade in?
  • Was it a profitable sale?
  • Was it for work or personal use?

The industry produces statistics each month. The latest reports on the AA Website say that the top selling model for December 2010 was the Toyota Corolla, but also interesting was that second was Toyota Hilux and third was Holden Commodore. So we have small to medium sized cars as most popular, but light commercials coming second and larger sedans coming third. Obviously there is much more to it and the dealership will have much more intelligence. The key here is whether the same trend is happening in your area and how you can capitalise on that knowledge, something I will look at in further blogs.

If this is of interest, please subscribe, or bookmark this blog and if you know anyone to whom this is of interest, why not send them a link. In business we all have a wealth of reports, but it is very easy to suffer death by statistics. There is an old adage that a picture speaks a thousand words and maps are a great way of delving into your business data to find knowledge that may otherwise remain hidden.

If you have questions, or would like to know more, please feel free to contact us.

January 19, 2011 Posted by | Auckland, Business Analytics, Distribution, geosmart, GIS, lbs, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, maps, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, Retail Profit, ROI, SaaS, Sales, sales territory, territory management, Uncategorized, Web Map, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

GeoSmart is at Trafinz

commGeoSmart is at the Trafinz conference this week in Wellington this week. Over the last year it has been developing real time traffic solutions including AA Traffic. AA Traffic was developed for the NZ Automobile Association to assist motorists in identifying traffic incidents ranging from road works through to accidents and road closures resultant from a wide range of causes including in recent days earthquakes and flood damage.

As part of the data collection and applications developed in this area, GeoSmart has been collecting real time vehicle traffic flow data throughout New Zealand on all roads from State Highways to connector roads. In addition to viewing this to assist us in our real time traffic services, we are also storing this data so that it can be used historically.

We already have around 4 months of historic traffic flow data that can be used by traffic engineers, consultants, councils and other authorities for analysis, planning and forecasting. It can be delivered in a variety of ways. For example if someone is working on a project for a specific road segment or network, we can make available data for that location by time of day, day of week to enhance the quality and quantity of the information being analysed. that information could be provided as a CSV file or for overlay in a web mapping or GIS environment.

Feedback so far from attendees at the conference has been very favorable and we are now looking at ways of working with organisations who will find this information of value.

We are also working with Fleet Management companies who are interested in the potential to allow their clients to not only see their vehicles on a map, but to also be able to see real time incidents and traffic flow on the same map. This would enable dispatchers and fleet controllers to make decisions based on real time and historical data on routes to use. This can have value to all sorts of road users from emergency services through to transport and distribution companies, meter readers, field service companies, to name a few.

An example of the use of this data is in the September issue of Metro Magazine’s feature on ‘The Best Places to Live in Auckland’ for which we calculated commuter morning drive times into the city from around 50 suburbs.

GeoSmart already has API’s, Web Services and applications available in the field 0f route optimisation. Companies using this technology have enjoyed significant ROI by being able to reduce travel distance and time, which also has the byproduct of reducing CO2 emissions. This means being able to provide a better service to their customers, while also increasing productivity and profitability. In the future we anticipate being able to add real time traffic into the equation for real time route optimisation.

GeoSmart is now planning meetings with traffic engineers, local and regional Government and other organisations to discuss how the real time and historic traffic flow data may be used and welcomes the opportunity to meet with any interested parties to discuss mutual opportunities.

September 7, 2010 Posted by | AA Traffic, driving, Freight, geosmart, GIS, gps, location based services, map tools, maps, new zealand, new zealand maps, real time traffic, route optimisation, Traffic, Uncategorized, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free AA Traffic on your Navman MY30 at Dick Smith if You are Quick

This isn’t really what this blog is usually about, but this is such a great deal, that I thought I’d share it with you.

This month, i.e. right now, we have supported a Navman promotion with Dick Smith Electronics. The deal is (while stocks last) that you can buy a Navman MY30 for $266 and they will include a free Lifetime License for AA Traffic. AA Traffic is normally a $129 add on, so this is an awesome deal.

This is a great opportunity to try out AA Real Time Traffic on a nav unit. This is one of the best ways to get AA Traffic. You don’t have to look at a web site like Roadwatch or AA Maps before you go. You don’t have to subscribe to a TXT or Email Alert service. You don’t even have to know where you are going before you get into your car.

People have often said, I know my way around, so I don’t need car navigation. They may well be right, but they don’t know what may be happening on the road ahead.  Does it matter, not if you don’t mind spending hours detouring around an incident or waiting until a road reopens. This week we had a stock truck and trailer roll on State Highway One by Puhoi. AA Traffic started sending out alerts at around 6:30 AM, so traffic heading north who were using AA Traffic didn’t get stuck. Here’s the thing. That road, the main road between Auckland and Northland, didn’t reopen for almost 6 hours! What is 6 hours of your work day worth to you?

This was a bad one, but there are always incidents, roadworks, slips, floods, wandering stock and all manner of issues on our roads. At the time I am writing this blog, we have 479 current incidents and 478 upcoming incidents such as ramp closures, sporting events etc. Here’s a classic situation for you. You go to an evening concert in Auckland City and you’re heading home to the North Shore. You get to Fanshawe St to get on the motorway to cross the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the on-ramp is closed for maintenance, which they deliberately do at night to reduce inconvenience to motorists, but it has to be done. Do you know how to get to an alternative on-ramp? Your car nav does and would have told you when you first got in your car, so you wouldn’t have even tried that entrance.

Smart people who know their way around New Zealand but spend a lot of time on the road will be buying car navigation to be able to access real time traffic so they can avoid accidents and incidents. This deal is only for limited stock, so you need to get to your local Dick Smith Electronics store quick-smart.  The deal is for a Navman MY30 at $266 and AA Traffic (usually $129) is only while stocks last. Great Mother’s Day gift, or for yourself.

Not convinced? If you lost a few hours on 4th of May when SH1 closed by Puhoi, how much was that time worth to your company? Less than $266? How often can you buy a business tool that gives you ROI that quickly? What if you were heading to the airport to catch a plane for a day trip to Wellington or for an overseas business trip or holiday. I’m sure it happened to some people.

Sometimes these incidents are an irritation, sometimes they are major.  With AA Traffic on your car navigation unit, they can very often be avoided entirely.

May 5, 2010 Posted by | AA Maps, AA Traffic, Auckland, car navigation, driving, driving directions, geosmart, location based services, map tools, maps, navman, new zealand, new zealand maps, real time traffic, satnav, Traffic, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2011 Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup in Auckland is just over a year away and GeoSmart is looking forward to the opportunities that come with it. As New Zealand’s premier location-based services (Mapping) company there are many areas that we will be looking at. These include:

  • Cartography. We produce many printed maps. These include map books for Wises and the NZ Automobile Association, as well as several travel atlas products for various organisations such as the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, which includes locations of Points of Interest of unique interest. We also produce custom maps for many organisations ranging from hotels to regional tourism organisations.
  • Car Navigation. GeoSmart is the provider of map data and Points of Interest for the leading brands including Navman and TomTom. Many people coming from overseas will be able to use our map data to find the venues, accommodation, attractions, parking, bars and much more for the Rugby World Cup, making their trip stress free. We also now offer real time traffic to car navigation which would be great if you are trying to get to a venue close to kick off.
  • Real Time Traffic. We built and manage the new AA Traffic service. This service provides information on traffic incidents that might interfere with people getting to the match on time.  We do this with a number of services including subscription alerts via Email and Text Messaging, which can be found on the AA Traffic website. Traffic is also shown on other AA websites, Roadwatch and AA Maps. Real Time Traffic is also of course available on your car navigation product such as with Navman.
  • AA Maps website. This website is the perfect site for local and overseas travellers. A significant proportion of web traffic to AA’s websites come from overseas and this includes AA Maps. People are guided here with links from affiliated motoring associations around the world as well as people looking for services such as driving directions. This is a great site for people planning their routes, looking for other things to do while they are travelling, where to stay, where to eat and drink and where to have some fun and adventure.
  • Mobile Applications / Location Based Services. We are working with several companies who are developing applications for smartphones such as iPhone and Android. When your mobile knows where it is, it becomes easy to use GeoSmart’s highly accurate data about New Zealand roads and points of interest to add value to people touring New Zealand following the rugby tournament.
  • Web Mapping. Many companies use GeoSmart’s web mapping tools in their custom environments. Examples may be found on our home page. If you are looking to add maps, points of interest and turn by turn directions to your site, we would love to chat with you about how we can help.
  • Carbon Friendly. This has become a very important topic and one that we are committed to supporting. We are able to support concepts such as Eco-Routing, in effect, finding the route that uses the least fuel and carbon waste. Our RAPIDcV has been continuing to drive all of New Zealand at around 15cm accuracy, not only getting an accurate road centreline but also measuring the road’s inclination and even the camber of corners on the road. This highly accurate data allows us to support organisations focused on sustainable eco friendly policies.
  • Multi-modal routing. We have been developing solutions supporting the ability to guide people through various means of transport from foot to motorised. This includes situations where one trip might include different forms of transport. Rugby fans might use a combination. For example, they might drive to a carpark, then use public transport, finally walking from there to the match venue via restaurants and bars. Each transport medium has its own set of rules. For example a person walking, doesn’t need to worry about one-way streets and may be able to take advantage of short cuts through arcades etc, to get to their destination.

Whilst the Rugby World Cup may be over a year away, GeoSmart is working closely with our partners to assist them in achieving their goals, through the use of our data, web services and API’s and other products. If you would like more information, you will find our contact details here.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | AA Maps, car navigation, carbon footprint, cartography, driving, driving directions, geosmart, GIS, gps, iphone, lbs, location based services, map tools, maps, Mobile maps, navman, new zealand, real time traffic, route optimisation, Rugby World Cup, satnav, Sport, tomtom, Traffic | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Maps all Created Equal?

I really enjoyed reading Brian Rudman’s article in this morning’s NZ Herald. It was about Google Maps and the quality of their data in Auckland. Basically it was about the usefulness of Google Maps to help people find their way around, getting walking and driving directions, and most recently the inclusion of information to help people find out which buses to catch and how to get to them using data from ARTA.

I urge you to read the story, because it highlights some interesting points that we often struggle to explain to people.

I’m not knocking Google, I love Google and spend a lot of time using it, as do many of my colleagues. But here’s the thing. Google is a data collection and aggregation tool that enables people to access data from multiple sources and use it for their purposes. In some cases Google creates the data, which includes having people drive vehicles such as the Street View cars to help people make better use of maps.

The problem we frequently have is that people think that, because there are Google Maps and Google is ‘the authority’ then their maps must be the best, or, as people often learn the hard way, that Maps are all pretty much the same.

If that were the case, there would be no need for GeoSmart, because Google obviously has far more money and resources than we do. What we have and they don’t, is a mandate to have the best possible maps that can be used to meet people’s varying needs. One of the key components in this, is what we call our ‘turn restriction database’. We know where all the roads are, we know which ones have traffic lights or roundabouts, we know which ones are one way streets, or have no left or right turns. We know the streets where you can turn legally, but a large vehicle probably wouldn’t be able to complete the manoevre.

We know which roads in NZ actually exist. What do I mean? New Zealand was town planned in Edinborough a couple of centuries ago and some 20% of the streets draughted, were never constructed. We know those as paper roads. These still exist on our government maps (which services such as Google use) because they have a legal status and the Government can still retake the land to build them.

For decades, our people have maintained maps of New Zealand working with data we collected by driving and flying New Zealand over and over again. We continue to do this and move the boundaries taking advantage of new technology so that our data quality and accuracy stays ahead of the needs of our clients. For example, with the RAPIDcV, we now are able to collect data at 15cm accuracy for future car navigation and safety systems. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, Eco-routing and other future technologies will only work with quality data and for these services, near enough is definitely not good enough.

When people buy car navigation systems, they are relying on accuracy to help them find their way around. There is a good reason why quality brands such as Navman and TomTom come to us for data, because near enough is not good enough. If you take a look at web map sites where you can see the roads on aerial photography and where they show the roads using the labels, you will see that they often don’t match up. In other words, they are not spatially accurate.

If you want to claim tax rebates for times when your commercial vehicle is not on a public road, you need to to be able to prove accurately, where you drove. If your map itself isn’t accurate, then your argument must be flawed.

In the old days, we looked at a map and interpreted the data in our heads. If something didn’t look right, we worked our way around it, and it wasn’t a problem. When you put your map on a computer and have the computer make decisions for you, the quality of the data has a far more serious impact. That is why we have a large team of professionals employed in NZ to make sure that we have as accurate data as possible. That is why the NZ Automobile Association invested in our company.

One of today’s problems is that these maps are now accessible on mobile phones and other devices. People assume that all maps are basically the same and then don’t understand when they get a poor result. They might blame the phone manufacturer or the technology, but the old addage in the computer industry is still true. GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

So next time you want to rely on a data source, don’t assume that all maps are the same. They aren’t. In some cases it doesn’t matter, but in many cases it does. Our people care about quality, they use patience and skill to produce map data that people rely on.

Thanks Brian for showing us that map quality matters and being a multinational giant doesn’t necessarily mean they are always the best. Who knows NZ better than Kiwis? I’m sure you will find AA Maps and other sites that use GeoSmart Maps a tad more reliable.

December 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Route2GO Improving Productivity and Profit for New Zealand Companies

GeoSmart has just released a new version of  Route²GO as a web service, providing vehicle route optimisation for company fleets as small as one vehicle, but scalable to any size of fleet.

This new service is based on what we know of in the industry as The Travelling Salesman problem. In effect if I have x number of places to visit in a day, what is the most economic order to do them in?

Typically route optimisation involves buying an expensive piece of software that only large companies (by NZ standards) can afford, together with employing an expensive engineer to run it. GeoSmart has now released the same technology as a web service, pricing for which is transaction based. This means that it can be used by a furniture store with 1 truck, as easily as for a large company with many vehicles.

There is a small amount of work involved in order to access the web service, which can be done by web developers or anyone who understands how a web service works. It could be merged with something as simple as a spreadsheet, or tied in to a legacy application. It would work very nicely with a range of applications from CRM, Accounting Software, ERP, dispatch and more.

For technical details on how Route²GO works, please visit our Developer Pages. For examples and more information on the benefits, we have information here.

Now we are looking for NZ partners. We do not typically sell solutions to end users. We work with partners who can add this service as a value add into their solution, or perhaps even create a new niche solution. We have some partners already in this space, including companies like Gen-i and Navman Wireless, but we are also keen to find more.

Many products have a long ROI period, which makes them hard to sell, especially in today’s economy. Pricing for Route²GO is transaction based. This means that until you start using it, you pay nothing. Pricing is also scaled based on volume over a year and also the amount of detail in our output. The cheapest result is simply the order to drive the visits in, with the option of estimated driving time and distance for each stop. The next step includes turn by turn driving instructions and the full monte includes the ability to view and print out full turn by turn directions complete with route and locational maps, that can be panned and zoomed before printing or importing into an application.

What skills do you need? If you can structure a query as outlined here, then you have the requisite experience. We offer a free Developer Agreement to companies looking to partner with us. There are no costs associated in developing a solution or testing with this web service.

We are happy to meet with potential partners or clients, to discuss their needs and help them find the best solution both in the web service and the integration, but our part stops at that point as we do not compete with our channel.

Want to know more? Contact us.

November 30, 2009 Posted by | AA Maps, car navigation, Delivery, driving, driving directions, Freight, geosmart, GIS, gps, lbs, location based services, map tools, maps, navman, new zealand, new zealand maps, optmisation, route optimisation, Uncategorized, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AA Traffic Subscriptions Peak During Auckland Bus Strike

Subscriptions to the new AA Traffic service peaked during the Auckland Bus Strike according to AA Traffic spokesperson, Phil Allen. “Many Auckland commuters turned back to their cars as a mode of transport during the strike. As the strike continued we saw many people subscribe to our new Real Time Traffic service in the expectation that, without buses, there would be many more cars on the road. Fortunately it was also school holidays so the additional vehicles on the road still left traffic levels not too different from the normal work and school week.”

Feedback from people affected by the bus strike varied. Several said that they enjoyed walking or cycling to work and, subject to weather conditions would continue to do that. Others had more difficulty, such as having to catch taxis to hospital appointments or getting children to school. It is likely that for some time at least, many commuters will go back to the comfort of the car, some even saying that driving is cheaper and more convenient.

AA Traffic is a new service developed by GeoSmart Maps for the New Zealand Automobile Association, which offers email and SMS traffic alerts, as well as displaying them at AA Maps, Roadwatch and sent direct to certain Navman car navigation devices, which is offering extra special deals for AA Members.

October 20, 2009 Posted by | AA Maps, car navigation, driving, geosmart, gps, location based services, maps, navman, new zealand, new zealand maps, real time traffic, satnav, Traffic, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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