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Lots of Requests for Accurate New Zealand Geocoding

We have been getting a lot of companies come to us for geocoding services lately. What is geocoding? Essentially it is generating accurate coordinates for a location or street address.

This can be really important if the locations are used in a GPS based device and especially where routing or directions are involved. For example it is often not practical for vehicles to zigzag from one side of the road to another. It may be impossible because of median barriers, difficult because of heavy traffic, or the vehicle could be one that must stay on one side of the road, for example a rubbish truck. Another classic situation would be where the address is given as Corner of X and Y Streets. That could be any one of four or more corners, which could have significant implications on routing and another time waster for people on the road.

GeoSmart has driven most roads to sub half a meter accuracy which means that when we provide coordinates they will be on the correct side of the road. We have seen frequent examples of map providers who use source maps which are not spatially accurate, which can often result in the road being displaced to the point that both odd and even numbers are shown as being on the wrong side of the road.

We have a number of services on offer. We have API’s which allow an application to look up addresses using an auto-completer. This is particularly good for accounting software, CRM and other applications, allowing companies to get the full information correct first time, right into the application. We never cease to be amazed at how bad some companies record keeping of addresses is for their clients. This may not be a problem when the same person calls on them for years, but when change happens, it can become a major time waster, especially in a country with so many duplicate place names. Go to http://www.aamaps.co.nz and see how many instances of Queen Street there are just in Auckland City!

We have a geocode web service and also a Software as a Service (SaaS) application which allows you to upload a CSV file of addresses. It will resolve them including looking at incorrect spelling, vanity (e.g. where someone says Remuera, but technically they are in Newmarket) or incorrect suburbs and much more. The results include Post Code ane even Census data such as Mesh Block and the ability to export to GIS in MapInfo format.Results are ranked based on the result, for example if you look for 21A X Street and we don’t have 21A, but we do have 21 X Street, it will show as a sub 100% result and an explanation that we believe that result is correct. The same if a name is misspelled or perhaps it was entered as 21 X Street when it should have been 21 X Avenue.

The application also allows you to modify the location by moving an icon on the map yourself. For example a property may have multiple entrances, or the location may not even be on a street. It could be a building in a park, or a location within a large complex such as a hospital, university or shopping mall. We offer the flexibility of doing it yourself and being able to interpret it yourself according to your needs, without requiring GIS software or skills.

Having driven pretty much every road in New Zealand with our mapping car in most cases to sub 1 meter accuracy, we are able to offer a degree of quality not available anywhere else.

In addition to a very attractive pricing model, we are a local company in your time zone, we have developers that you can talk to and are very passionate about all things location.

To top it off, we are a wholly owned subsidiary of the New Zealand Automobile Association which is of course committed to New Zealand motorists and all revenues are retained in New Zealand.

Want to know more. Why not contact us and be pleasantly surprised about how easy it is to use and of course affordable.

P.S. We can offer the same services for Australia.

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June 27, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, Australia Maps, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, driving directions, Geocoding, geosmart, GIS, gps, map tools, Mapping Applications, new zealand maps, systems integrator, Web Map | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harnessing Your Business Data with a Map

There was a very good article on from eMarketer this month about the difficulties for online retailers in accessing, sharing and analysing information about their business. This is something we have found relates to all business, not just online. Business is all about numbers and understanding what your customers want and when. It doesn’t matter if you are a bricks and mortar retailer like the very successful Briscoes, a supermarket chain selling high volume for low margin or a company with a field sales or service workforce. Success comes down to being able to access quality information.

In retail the key information tends to be about stockturn, aged stock, shelf space, gross profit by product and category and so on. Retailers and department heads will have standard exception reports that arrive on their desks, daily, weekly and monthly and they will make their buying and promotional decisions based on these reports.

As per the table, research shows that often data is used for the key purposes of business as usual, but often it is only available to a few people and there is very little use made of information about who the customers are, where they come from, the context in which they do their shopping and much more.

GeoSmart’s BIonaMAP is a tool that can allow companies to visualise more information in a way that allows them to look strategically at location based information about their business. It might be a retail chain deciding where to place their next store, a loyalty program that wants to understand their customer demographics or a sales or divisional manager wanting to create fair and manageable sales territories.

By combining information from the Point of Sale system or the financials with a map, it becomes possible to cut through the clutter and see the big picture. BIonaMAP is a SaaS (Software as a Service) application. What that effectively means is that all you need in order to use it is a web browser and an Internet connection. You don’t need to install any software.

Now you can share information with whoever needs it, management,sales and marketing, business partners and suppliers. It might be about where your customers live or work, which ones use one of your products but not another. It might be customers within a certain distance from a store or using demographics to decide where best to place your next store. The potential is limited by your imagination and currently to within Australia and New Zealand. Effectively anything that has a location element to it and where data can be exported as a CSV file from your financials, CRM or other application can be interrogated within BIonaMAP.

Do you suffer from death by spreadsheet or wish you could see the big picture, large corporate, franchise or SME, we would like to talk to you about how to harness your business data and increase your productivity and profit.

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Australia Maps, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, geosmart, GIS, Loyalty Card, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, Retail, Retail Profit, SaaS, sales territory, territory management, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whose territory does a new prospect belong to?

Does this sound familiar to you? We talk to companies all the time who have problems with who to allocate a new customer or prospect to when they ring the sales or franchise company or call centre. Sales territories have always been a bit of a problem to deal with, but this will no longer be a problem for people who use GeoSmart’s new BIonaMAP business intelligence SaaS (Software as a Service) application.

Old school BAU (Business As Usual) is still the way most sales and service companies work. They pin a map on the wall, draw the territory on it with a sharpie pen and write the name on the map. There are always arguments over whether a territory includes both sides of the road, where the suburb boundaries are and don’t even start about what happens when you want to modify a territory.

Queen Street

If the call centre or people taking the calls don’t have access to the map when new customers ring, there can be major time wasting and potential for problems ensuring that the right person is dealing with the client quickly and professionally in order to secure new business. There are also issues over making sure the address is correct. There are a dozen Queen Streets in Auckland and we have heard plenty of stories about people driving up and down a road in the wrong suburb looking for a client they are meant to be meeting with. Then there are vanity suburbs like the person on Remuera Road who say they are in Remuera, but they are actually in Newmarket and knowing which numbers of the street belong in which territory. It is a problem that has been around for years.

This problem goes away with BIonaMAP and there are a number of ways that we can deal with it. Some companies are simply going to use a query on the BIonaMAP home page which effectively allows you to start entering the address, with an autocompleter allowing you to select from a drop down menu to get the right one. Some companies are going to integrate this function right into their accounting software, CRM or other business database application, which means that the full correct address with Post Code and correct suburb as well as the coordinates are recorded into the right fields.

What makes this different? Database applications on their own can deal with suburbs or post codes, but typically can not deal with spatial queries, i.e. in what territory or polygon does this belong to? The answer effectively will be one of the following:

  • It belongs in Territory X.
  • It appears in Territory X and overlapping Territory Y (e.g. a sales and a service territory)
  • It doesn’t appear in any territory

If this is an issue that you have to grapple with in your business, why not contact us and ask us how BIonaMAP can help you?

BIonaMAP is available for New Zealand and Australia and has a host of location based business analytics capability. It is Software as a Service which means no software installation and it can be accessed by using a web browser. We also welcome inquiries from sales, service, franchise and other business consultants, resellers and systems integrators.

May 1, 2012 Posted by | Australia Maps, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, Distribution, geosmart, GIS, map tools, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, SaaS, Sales, sales territory, systems integrator, territory management, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving Location Based Business Intelligence to Middle Management

In the traditional corporate environment location based information about your business tends to come from the IT or GIS department. This tends to result in traditional reports based on historic requirements. They tend to be standard reports that you receive in the same way as you receive your financial reports. In New Zealand only large corporates even have access to GIS data. BAU (Business As Usual) means results as usual at best, but if someone else is working smarter, that means that they are likely to be taking business off yours.

Our BIonaMAP application changes that. There is no installation required and it is now simple for a Sales Manager, Service Manager, Product Manager, Marketing Manager and others to have access to what is going on in their business in ways they haven’t been able to before.

One of the most basic areas I have found in previous lives as a Sales Manager and as a Franchisor has been creating fair territories on a map. This traditionally involved buying a map, using a sharpie pen to create a territory and covering it in different colours of map pins. Of course as soon as you created a territory and needed to change it, it was start again and of course now your office wall is covered in holes. Now it is as simple as clicking with your mouse and your new territory has been created. Zoom in on the map to tidy it up so that you can split streets up to left and right if necessary and now you can start viewing what is going on in your business.

Understanding what is happening in a territory

Any information you have about your customers in a CRM, accounting software that you can export can now be viewed on the map and you can run queries about that data and view the results straight away on the map. Examples might be profitable customers, customers who haven’t bought anything in the last month, customers who buy one product but not another, prospects who use a competitors product. You can count results and compare territories with each other with ease. Why is one territory better than another?

I wish I had browser based software like this in the past, it is just so powerful and easy. What information would you like to unlock from your business? Find out more at www.bionamap.co.nz

April 22, 2012 Posted by | Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, GIS, new zealand maps, Sales, sales territory, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Business Intelligence for Security and Alarm Companies

I just read a story about an application in the US which I posted on our Facebook Page about an alarm company which is providing an application for people who use their home alarm systems, which uses geofences (a line around an area, such as your property)  drawn with a mouse on a map to send a notification to people’s mobiles when they have left home, but haven’t set the alarm.

Of course the first thing I thought of was why didn’t someone in New Zealand think of that. The answer is probably that alarm and security companies in New Zealand are probably too focussed on BAU (Business As Usual) although I’d love to be proved wrong.

Of course GeoSmart has the technology to enable a solution like this. It would be easy to do and could be a huge value add to the purchase of a home burglar alarm. I’d probably go a step further and enable the possibility of arming the alarm remotely when you realise you have dones this and you have already left, or the ability to disarm it if you have someone at home that doesn’t have the code and has just set the alarm off.

I had previously thought that the security industry could use our BIonaMAP application as well, but have focussed on industries where we already have client demand. As you can see on the web page above, BIonaMAP allows you to see your customer locations on a map and run queries from your business data and view it on a map. This could include:

  • Show all customers on a map who have a particular type of alarm
  • Show all customers whose alarm needs a preventative maintenance visit
  • Show all customers who hasn’t ad a visit or sales call within a certain period of time
  • Show all customers in an area by the number of security guard visits
  • Show scheduled visits by security guard run on different nights of the week, different staff in different colours
  • Show results of sales calls including yes, no, maybe or by competitor brand
  • Show domestic clients by demographic
  • Find new clients by demographic statistics e.g. household income right down to street addresses within a mesh block

As an example, this picture illustrates using BIonaMAP to find areas where the people have lived in their homes for between 5 and 9 years AND have a household income of over $80,000 p.a. which could possibly be a good target market to purchase monitored home burglar alarms. BIonaMAP can even provide street addresses for the houses within those shaded areas.

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, geosmart, GIS, iphone, Mapping Applications, new zealand, sales territory, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ageing of the workforce in freight and distribution

Baby boomers are a major part of our workforce today and play a very important part in the freight and distribution industry. I’m told that the average age of a truck driver in New Zealand today is 49. This presents positives and negatives.

The maturity and experience of these drivers makes them very valuable. They know the road, they know their vehicles and routes and get the job done. They are largely professional drivers, many of whom own their own vehicles. Many were able to do that by borrowing against their homes and the average freight company as we have discussed in previous blogs is 0-5 trucks.These operators tend to be very good at their job, but not well versed when it comes to technology. Applications to help them improve efficiencies in their work need to be very user friendly. That is something that GeoSmart puts a lot of energy to.

The flip side is that not a lot of people are rushing to become truck drivers. Many companies don’t really want them until they reach around 24-25 and have burnt out the lead foot testosterone which could be a disaster in a big half a million dollar rig. By that time, a lot of the working stock that might have gone into truck driving have chosen other career paths, or have moved to other shores such as the mines in Australia where they can earn 3 times what they can get paid in New Zealand. We can hope that they will come back to New Zealand with those savings and experience and use them to invest in their driving career back here. These people are of course extremely tech savvy and will expect to have access to applications and services such as Real Time Traffic, Route Optimisation, Car Navigation, Fleet Management and Business Intelligence.

Car navigation with real time traffic

Keeping these ageing drivers healthy and productive is a sustainability policy in itself. Providing them with tools starting with car navigation with real time traffic is a good start. It’s easy to use and whist these people may know the roads like the backs of their hands, they don’t know that there is an accident or traffic congestion that is going to stop them from getting where they are going. They also don’t necessarily know alternate routes they could be using or what the traffic conditions are there. It could be driving out of the frying pan into the fire. A device that tells them there is a 35 minute delay on their current route, but an alternate route will only have a 10 minute delay could be gold for these people. If you are looking at one of these, make sure it provides coverage for the are they are driving in and has the very latest map data as there have been many changes in New Zealand roads over the last year. GeoSmart produces new map updates every 3 months.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | AA Traffic, Auckland, Business Tools, car navigation, Distribution, driving, Freight, geosmart, new zealand, new zealand maps, Oil Price, real time traffic, route optimisation, Route2GO, territory management, tomtom, Traffic, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sustainability Generates Profit in the Transport Industry in New Zealand

This month I had the pleasure of presenting to the New Zealand Freight Summit at Auckland University to a diverse group of people from all facets of the transport industry. There were a number of common threads and one of them was sustainability. This is a word that is bandied around a lot, together with concepts like carbon emission trading and taxes, but I wonder how seriously a lot of companies are taking it.

One motivator is compliance. Government departments and many corporates today have KPI’s which require that they do business with companies who have sustainability policies and practices. We have responded to a number of tenders recently which have asked us to specify what sustainability practices we have put in place.

I have read many articles that say that companies which have sustainability practices are more profitable than those that don’t. Obviously the above is one good reason, effectively there are contracts they won’t win simply based on the policy.

There are of course other good reasons that also hit the bottom line. The most obvious one is the rising price of oil. If you use tools such as Route Optimisation and Business Intelligence, you can potentially do more work whilst driving shorter times and distance. That means reduced running costs, reduced maintenance costs, saved time which potentially means being able to do more work in the same amount of time and bottom line increase in profit. Whether your fleet is one vehicle or hundreds, there are savings to be made and they are easy to achieve.

Wellington Traffic 28 February 2012 1:15PM

I really enjoyed showing people AA Traffic by GeoSmart. Many of the delegates were not aware that we have real time traffic congestion information covering virtually all arterial roads and highways throughout New Zealand and Australia. There will be some announcements about this in the very near future. If you are a transport operator, how would you like to be able to see exactly where the congestion is in real time and on the same map, see your vehicle fleet?

Does traffic congestion cost your company by not letting your vehicles get where they want to be on time? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a birds eye of what was going on in real time 24/7? What would that mean to your business? We can help you with that.

Utilising technologies like this can help your company to focus on reducing overheads when the economy is tight and allows you to tell the market that you have sustainability practices, not just policies. Of course in doing so, you are actually taking practical steps to reduce your company’s carbon footprint and doing something good for your country and the planet.

Want to know more about how you can use these technologies in your business? We’d love to talk with you. Contact us today.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, Australia Maps, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, carbon footprint, Delivery, Distribution, driving, Freight, geosmart, new zealand maps, Oil Price, petrol, real time traffic, route optimisation, territory management, Traffic, university | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Route Optimisation Is Simple and Accessible

I’ve blogged about route optimisation many times recently. One recent blog talked about Fleet Management, our new BIonaMAP application and some other wonderful concepts, as ideas on how to save your business money and time and thereby increasing productivity and productivity.

I would like to break this down a little bit because there is a misconception out there that all of this technology requires spending lots of money and installing expensive equipment in your company vehicles. Let me break it down for you. There are some wonderful solutions out there, many of which are offered by our valued partners and they all have a purpose and fulfil business needs. Some business problems are complex and require complex solutions and some are simple and provide very quick return on investment.

So here is a simple problem. You have one or more vehicles which need to go out on the road and do several jobs. They may be regular runs, or they may be different each day. Let’s make it even simpler. Let’s break it down to one vehicle. You may have lots of vehicles, but let’s just look at one of them.

Here we have a merchandiser, who has to visit a number of supermarkets. One person has to visit 9 grocery stores, checking their stocks, managing the shelf placement, demonstrating new products, taking orders. As do many field sales people in New Zealand and Australia, their territory comprises of urban calls and calls out in the country and they spend a lot of their time driving.

The problem is that you can only fit so much time in a working day. You can have a pretty good idea of what order to do the jobs in, probably the order you always do them in. The other problem is that the price of petrol is going up, prices are coming down and your budget is going up. You need to get smarter.

Our Route2GO Lite application is a simple web service. There is no software to be installed, no set up fees and as Software as a Service you only pay for what you use. In this case person, who is a great sales person, spent 28 1/2 hours in the car, dead  time between calls in order to make those essential visits. Route2GO worked out how she could do the same visits but spending only 22 hours in the car. Now she can either fit in more calls in the same amount of time or spend more time with each client enhancing the relationship, doing product knowledge training with their staff and increasing the average sales she generates from those clients, which reduces the pressure on her and her sales manager to get the results the company needs.

We also cut over 400km in driving distance from this sales trip. At even $1 per km that’s a lot of money going back to the bottom line.

So what do you need in order to achieve a result like this? A PC with a web browser. An account with GeoSmart and a little time. For this run which included 9 clients and returning to base with a pile of orders, the total cost to GeoSmart would have been $6.25. No hidden surprises, that’s it. This includes the fee for geocoding (generating coordinates for calculating the route) and the optimisation from the office, to the 9 stores and back to the office. Oh and the cost of a piece of paper if you want to print off the above map and route.

It really is that simple. If you want to know more, why not contact us? We’ll even do a couple of runs for you for free, preferably ones you have already done previously so you can get a genuine comparison as to whether it will work for you. This was a dramatic example, in some cases it might only save you a little, but if we could help you visit one or two more customers in a trip without increasing your fixed overheads, every trip, hat would that add up to over a year?

We have more information about route optimisation in our blogs, so why not have a scroll through and see if you can find an example that’s relevant to your business. In an upcoming blog I will explain in simple terms what route optimisation actually is and why we can do it better than you can drawing pictures on a map. The key point of this exercise is that you can achieve dramatic results without putting in any money upfront and without having to buy any technology you don’t already have. Route2GO is available for New Zealand and Australia.

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Auckland, Australia, Australia Maps, Business Tools, Distribution, driving, Freight, geosmart, location based services, Mapping Applications, new zealand, new zealand maps, Retail, route optimisation, Route2GO, SaaS, Sales, sales territory, territory management | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rocky Year Ahead for Tourism? 10 Ideas

This morning I noted a story in the NZ Herald by Owen Hembry saying that although tourist numbers to New Zealand were up 2.5% at 2.6 million people, the average spend from them was less. It’s a comprehensive story and I recommend clicking on the link above as it is of vital importance to the New Zealand tourist industry. It also reflects international conditions given that many markets are suffering severe economic conditions.

There are many positives to this though and the important thing is to focus on how to maximise the opportunity for our industry. The fact is that more people did come to NZ last year and they did spend $5.6 Billion here including airfares. Not to be sneezed at!

The consideration then is whether you are in the accomodation, attraction, hospitality or any other industry looking for tourism income, what are you going to do to get your share of the money. How are you going to get that extra table turn, higher occupancy rates, more throughput of your services. How are you going to increase the average spend at your property? What are you going to do differently?

We would like to help you with that from a location based services perspective an together with our partners there are many things we can do to help. You will find lots of ideas if you read through some of our past blogs, or you can come and talk to us about your unique business and needs. There are many things we can help with, location based mobile applications and games, cartography, Business Analytics (don’t forget domestic tourists and business travelers who are mostly FIT by nature) and that all business people are also consumers.

There are loads of ideas that you will find in our blogs past and future. If you scroll through the blog home page or search the categories you will find many more ideas. Here are 10 blogs which might give you some ideas. We understand your business and please don’t hesitate to talk to us about your specific environment.

We are a wholly New Zealand owned company offering these services for New Zealand AND Australia. We understand the local markets and care about them because our success comes from yours :

  1. Loyalty Cards and Gamification
  2. Socialisation Game Mechanics of Loyalty Cards
  3. GPS Car Navigation for Rugby Tourists
  4. Location and Shopping
  5. Consumers are checking in to retail stores
  6. Retailers are not flocking into LBS
  7. How to get listed on NZ Car Nav systems
  8. Franchise Territory Mapping
  9. Lost In a Box a successful location based marketing campaign
  10. What Tools do you need to build a location application?

January 22, 2012 Posted by | Business Intelligence, Business Tools, car navigation, cartography, location based services, Marketing, new zealand, Rugby World Cup, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Compliments of the Season

This has been a fantastic year for GeoSmart and if you read through our blogs you will see that we have made many milestones in development of new products, new clients, new projects in New Zealand, Australia and India. We have many exciting things happening in the new year on both sides of the Tasman, but I’m not going to tell you about them yet, you need to come back and find out about them.

You may have heard a little about our new application BIonaMAP. This is the exciting new Software as a Service application that unlocks your business information and displays it on a map. You can find out more about it at www.BIonaMAP.co.nz. We had planned to launch this earlier in the year, but our development team kept getting excited about new features they thought of and it really has evolved into something very special, which we look forward to demonstratingto you next year.

As you know AA Traffic is one of our products and the call centre will continue working 24/7 throughout the holiday period. If you are going away, we have a Christmas present for you, a free One Month Email Subscription to AA Traffic Route Alerts. All you need to do is go to this page on AA Traffic and click on the button that says SET UP YOUR TRAFFIC ALERTS, then ckick on the button towards the top left which asks “Got a Promo Code?” This will then open up a box for you to enter the following code: GEOSMARTBLOG

Please note that this code must be entered in the next 4 weeks or it will not work.

So Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year from us. Thanks for following us, enjoy our little gift on your trip, it might save you from getting stuck somewhere in holiday traffic. We will be closed from today until 9 January. If you have any thoughts, ideas or needs to do with maps and locations in the new year, please Contact us, we would love to assist you in any way we can.

December 21, 2011 Posted by | AA Traffic, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, maps | | Leave a comment