GeoSmart Weblog

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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.

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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

Lost In a Box is Back

Last year we partnered with The Edge in their cool location based competition Lost In a Box. As we blogged at the time, it was hugely successful with over 3 and a half million page impressions over 3 weeks in over 200,000 unique browser sessions. This proves what we have been saying for so long, that people love location based competitions.

This year The Edge came back to us and said they want to do it again and we were delighted to partner with them on Lost in a Box 2. By the look of the map it is even more popular this time as they add new concepts, including hiding 2 people in the box instead of one.

We’ll be looking forward to seeing Lost in a Box 2 break new records for engagement and have enjoyed participating with this campaign.

So if you haven’t tried it already, why not go and check it out yourself?

If you have any questions about how to use location in your next campaign, please contact us.

September 5, 2011 Posted by | AA Maps, competition, competitions, geosmart, lbs, lbs games, location based services, map tools, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, Radio Advertising, viral marketing, Web Map, web maps | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crazy About Rugby

When Tango Communications and Air New Zealand came to us saying they were going to run another cool promotional campaign, we were delighted to have the opportunity to participate. Together with a number of other sponsors, Air New Zealand have put together a road trip in specially detailed Britz campervans, driven by Air NZ staff who won the opportunity to have an exciting road trip from Christchurch to Dunedin as outlined in this story.

The 10 campervans left Kings College late yesterday morning after a photo opportunity with Prime Minister John Key and are now on their way south.

The campervans all have GPS tracking in them and using GeoSmart Maps technology members of the public can view the current location of the vehicles in real time.

You can also view the route they took and read their journals, which are uploaded by mobile along the way.

Of course we are also keeping them up to date with AA Traffic Alerts to their mobiles, but fortunately so far the only possible problem has been a slip on the Desert Rd in the opposite direction to their journey.

The Air New Zealand Campervans Crazy About Rugby Tour is a great example of using location based services in a marketing campaign. We look forward to following their journey and invite agencies and marketers to talk to us about how they can also use our mapping tools and technologies in their campaigns.

July 14, 2011 Posted by | AA Traffic, Agencies, competition, competitions, geosmart, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, maps, Marketing, Mobile maps, new zealand, new zealand maps, real time traffic, Traffic, Uncategorized, Web Map | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Air New Zealand Freeway Picks GeoSmart Maps

Air New Zealand are running a very cool promotion to promote their new Air New Zealand Rental Cars service. They have set up 2 rental cars, one called Jeffree in the North Island and one called Freeona on The Mainland. Members of the public can register here to go in the draw to win a week’s free rental car, together with a Telecom Garmin Asus Android Mobile which of course uses GeoSmart Car Navigation Maps and AA Traffic by GeoSmart.

As part of the promotion, the vehicle is tracked and the location in shown on a GeoSmart Map on the website, together with photos and blog comments from the lucky people while on their journey.

This promotion will go for sometime, so do register and join the fun. GeoSmart is delighted to partner with Air New Zealand and some other great brands in this fun campaign.

February 18, 2011 Posted by | AA Traffic, car navigation, competition, competitions, driving, driving directions, geosmart, gps, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, maps, Marketing, Mobile maps, new zealand, new zealand maps, real time traffic, social networking, Traffic, Uncategorized, Web Map, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TomTom now has a Kiwi Voice

Over the years many people have mentioned that they wish car navigation devices had a Kiwi accent that they can relate to.  We told you in our September blog that TomTom was running a competition to find that special iconic voice. Well it’s a done deal as told in this NZ Herald article. Ben Harper (no not the musician) has won himself a new Suzuki Swift RS and a new TomTom. We are told that you will be able to download his voice in time for your Christmas road trip.

November 2, 2010 Posted by | car navigation, competition, competitions, driving directions, geosmart, new zealand, new zealand maps, satnav, tomtom | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost In A Box A Highly Successful Location Based Radio Competition using Web Maps

When The Edge radio station decided to put together a location based competition, they called on GeoSmart to help. The concept was that they were going to hide a girl in a box for 21 days and listeners had to guess where she was by going onto The Edge web site where there was a GeoSmart Map and place a virtual pin on the map to guess where she was. At the end of the campaign Emma (the girl in the box would win $10,000 as would the lucky person who guessed the correct location, based on daily clues and other radio activities during the campaign.

GeoSmart provided the web map and tools allowing people to place their guesses on the map.People were only allowed one marker each, but they were allowed to move it as often as they liked. The Edge Network promotion manager, Robert Dickey came back to us saying, “The mapping system was amazing, everything that we could have wanted. Listeners found it easy to use and I’m sure it had millions of hits.” He was also very complimentary of out Web Developer who “was great and always willing to help with any thoughts or changes I may have had.”

I think the metrics blew us all away, we had no idea how popular this promotion was going to be, but Kiwi’s took to it with gusto. The results? Robert Dickey said: “We hade over 3.5 million page impressions, over 200K UB’s who spent an average of 7:45min on the site.”

We have been saying for a long time that Location is the next big thing in Marketing and have been thrilled to have a partner in The Edge that shared our belief and helped us prove it. This was an excellent example of using location in marketing.

If you have an idea on how you could use location in your marketing or promotional activity, be it a launch, location based games, letting people know where your events are, or where they can source your products and services, why not have a chat with us and see if we can help.

September 29, 2010 Posted by | AA Maps, Agencies, competition, competitions, geosmart, lbs games, location based services, map tools, maps, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, Radio Advertising, social networking, software, Uncategorized, viral marketing, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be the Kiwi Voice of TomTom

TomTom New Zealand is running a very cool competition together with The Edge radio station. Have you ever thought about what you would say if you could control the voice on your nav unit. Move over John Cleese and Homer Simpson bro, it’s time for a Kiwi voice.

Over the next few weeks you have the opportunity to enter a competition which will decide not only whose voice will end up as the voice of New Ziilund, but every day someone will win a TomTom and the grand prize winner will win a Suzuki Swift. You can listen to the entries on The Edge competition page, such as yesterday’s TomTom winner “Sweet As” and the Suzuki is being kitted up as a recording studio and doing a road trip around New Zealand where you can meet it and record your TomTom GPS voice.

The TomTom road trip starts in Invercargill on Monday 4 October and works its way up to Northland on 15 October. You can of course also enter online.

So put on your best Kiwi accent and join the fun.

Carl Fletcher and Vaughan Smith, hosts of The EDGE Fletch & Vaughan show, have already put their hands up to potentially become voices and are excited to find the person to be the new TomTom GPS voice of New Zealand.

“I mean imagine being THE voice that is chosen as most iconically Kiwi, how much of an ego boost is that? Your voice could be the voice that represents all Kiwis and is used worldwide by anyone with a TomTom GPS.  We have so many unique sayings that we can throw in there as well to really Kiwi it up, I mean there’s ‘sweet as bro,’ ‘choice eh’…and then the classics like ‘yeah yeah…nah’.  It’s going to be an epic campaign, with an epic prize to boot,” says Fletch.

Of course TomTom use GeoSmart Maps on their systems, because they have to have the best:)

September 29, 2010 Posted by | car navigation, competition, competitions, driving directions, geosmart, gps, maps, Mobile maps, new zealand, new zealand maps, satnav, tomtom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AA Traffic is here

For the last year we have been flat out developing our Real Time Traffic solution, aka AA Traffic. This has been a huge undertaking with so many elements involved. As you may know, GeoSmart is a wholly owned subsidiary of the New Zealand Automobile Association. NZAA is the first and only motoring association in the world so far to own a mapping company and thereby have access to its own mapping data and the ability to create solutions.

One of the biggest issues today is traffic and as a motoring association, an incorporated society owned by its members who are motorists, a key concern for it is to keep motorists moving. This presents a problem in a country where there appear to be more cars than people. In Auckland particularly, traffic issues are compounded by the many people who feel that the public transport system doesn’t meet their needs. That’s without taking into consideration the current bus strikes in Auckland which have seen some schools missing 15% of the students today. In August Michael Barnett, Chairman of the Auckland Business Forum quoted comments in the NZ Herald of 10 years ago that then the time-cost to business for Auckland was around $1 billion!

AA Traffic by GeoSmart was not designed to solve problems, rather to inform road users and give them information that will help them decide on their driving route, or perhaps to reconsider whether they want to be on the road at all. The system is to complex to explain, but fundamentally this is how it works.

Data Input

We have established relationships with emergency services, New Zealand Transport Agency, several councils and other organisations who continually feed us with information about accidents, incidents, road works, events and anything  else that could interfere with normal throughput of NZ’s roads. This information is managed by call centre staff who work shifts covering 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The system is designed to collate all of this information, eliminate false positives, verify the source and quality of the data and much more. We even invite AA Members to tell us about incidents they find, by dialling *223 on their mobiles.

Data Output

The information is then disseminated to be transmitted across many channels. The first ones are AA Maps, which is our flagship mapping site, supporting routing, searching for Points of Interest and much more. What better way to plan your trip or holiday, than to be able view the route, including any traffic issues that might affect you before you drive, then print the route with turn by turn directions, to take for your navigator in the car.

We have totally revamped AA’s Roadwatch website. You can now preset the region that has the greatest relevance to you and by setting up a free AA Maps account, have Roadwatch automatically open to the page in your web browser. This automatically refreshes every 5 minutes to give you the latest information.

We now have additional subscription  services that you can find at the new AA Traffic website. These are Alerts that you can receive by email or direct to your mobile phone. Services available are the Route Alert, Area Alert and Weekend Getaway. If you are an AA Member, you can try the email Alert services for free until the end of the year and if you use a Telecom mobile, you can access the Alert service for free on your mobile until the end of the year.

Of course we are very serious about safety and as we can’t tell whether you are in your car, or driving when you receive our alerts, we place a condition on users of our services, that they do not view them whilst driving.

In addition to these services, we are now sending AA Traffic information directly to compatible car navigation devices. This has significant benefits because if the device knows where you are going and the route you are taking, it is able to alert you about an incident (even if it occurred after you started driving) and offer you an alternative route. The first devices on the market come from Navman. There are a number of other brands of car navigation offering this service on the way. If you are on the road a lot, even if you know how to get to your destination, you can’t know about what’s happening or going to happen on your route. This should be of significant benefit to all regular road users, whether emergency services, trades people, sales people and merchandisers, taxis and many more.

Now of course we want people to know about it and will be running a number of marketing activities to share the word. You can expect to see advertising material about AA Traffic in a range of media and of course we invite you to try it out for yourself.

If you are on Twitter, you can now follows us here, and we al;so have a Facebook Fan Page where we update information and also run competitions and invite people to share their stories or information. If you are on Facebook, why don’t you join in and keep in the know?

October 12, 2009 Posted by | AA Maps, car navigation, competitions, driving, driving directions, facebook, geosmart, gps, location based services, map tools, maps, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More on the Awards Night

If you haven’t caught up with the Awards night yet, you will find lots of information about it on the Awards Web Page. It includes photos that we took on the night as well as details of who all the winners and finalists were.

We enjoyed lots of media coverage including IT Brief, The Channel, PC World, and was apparently on the front page of Google NZ News for 3 days which is a real coup. The benefit of this is of course that more people get the message that LBS is here and now.

We will be working closely with some of the entrants to see how we can help some of these applications are built and available to the public.

March 30, 2009 Posted by | awards, competition, competitions, geosmart, lbs, location innovation awards | , , , , | Leave a comment

Location Based Services and Agencies

Now that the Awards are over, at least for a few months,  I’m hoping to have a little more time for blogging.

I have been talking to a number of agencies over the last 3-4 years about LBS. I don’t know whether it was me or that the bright lights in this agency space seem to all go offshore, often within the same company before we get to do anything together. Companies like The Hyperfactory have been doing some cool things on the edge of LBS, but it seems that all their cool stories these days are also overseas. It was great to see them enter the awards this year, though and they have a Finalist Award to add to their trophy room which must be bursting at the seams.

The types of LBS applications are very wide and we could have had many more categories in the awards. The thing is that location is simply what it sounds like. It is about where you are and what you are doing wherever you are. It could be about having a pizza delivered to you on the beach, or about catching the bus to Get Somewhere. It could be about going on a treasure hunt or finding a bar or cafe nearby afterwards. Location is ubiquitous, just as your mobile phone is. You are always somewhere. If your phone knows where you are, then it can help you find things, places and people. It can help you be entertained, help you with your sport or hobby, provide you with localised information, the list is infinite.

So back to Agencies. LBS adds another vehicle to incorporate into Marketing and Advertising Campaigns. It gives them the opportunity to come up with fun and compelling ways for brands to interact with consumers and other customers at the time and place that has the most relevance. Traditional forms of advertising are very often scattergun and rely on high levels of repetition to realise a call to action. Traditional Direct Marketing (DM) considers 5-7% response to be a good result. In my book that says that over 90% of the DM spend is wasted. Why is that? Because most people are not open to buy or looking for their products at the time they are ‘exposed’ to the promotion. In addition to that, most people are smart enough to look for what they want, when they want it. They will then either check out their favourite stores or use Google to find the products they want.

The other huge resource that people use is Word of Mouth Marketing, which these days means talking to people close to them, or just as likely today, to use Social Networking sites to ask the opinion of their ‘friends’.

So what can agencies do? They can come up with campaigns or solutions that are relevant to people’s interests at the time and place that is relevant to them. The time and place to tell someone about the great new winter fashion that is in their favourite clothing store, is when they are entering the mall. The time to tell people about the new Stephen King book is when they are near the bookshop.I’m going to talk a lot more about these concepts in the coming days and weeks, so why not subscribe to this blog with your favourite RSS aggregation app  like iGoogle.Just to put things straight, LBS is not something that will replace other forms of marketing, it will augment the campaigns, reinforcing the messages and making them relevant and encourage an immediate call to action. It is an enabler and a tool that will help brands fine tune their target marketing and improve its effectiveness.

I will also explain in future blogs how the tools and data that GeoSmart Maps has, can facilitate the creation of the applications or features of LBS from a laymans persepctive. I’m not a developer, but what I do understand very well is what each tool does and how it can be implemented to achieve the results you want. So if you want to know more, watch this space, bookmark it or get yourself an RSS Reader.

Also, do feel free to comment or ask questions.

A PAcked Room of LBS Enthusiasts at the Location Innovation Awards

March 25, 2009 Posted by | Agencies, awards, competition, competitions, geosmart, gps, lbs, lbs games, location innovation awards, maps, Marketing, new zealand, proximity based marketing, social networking, viral marketing, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment