Verizon SuperPages and YellowPages.com have signed with UrbanMapping.com to license technology that will enable them to show listings by neighborhood name. The IYPs currently only show geo-information by city name or ZIP code.
Sorting directory info by neighborhood names sometimes makes more sense as cities may be broken up by physical and cultural characteristics, says UrbanMapping founder Ian White. "In Washington, D.C., the city is broken up by quadrants. In London, it may be the first couple digits of a postal code. But in Boston, it is broken up by the Charles River. Neighborhoods are not the ‘end all and be all,’ but they are inherently unstructured," he says.
White's multidisciplinary team of five sorts out neighborhood information by culling over geographic information systems and other disciplines. These disciplines potentially include — and this is interesting — "information design, urban planning, materials science, software development, color theory, cognitive psychology and cultural anthropology."
To date, the company’s neighborhood-level info is available for 300 U.S. and Canadian cities. In Los Angeles, for instance, a portion of downtown may be broken up as "Echo Park," "Silverlake," "Los Feliz" and "Hollywood."
Besides neighborhood-level info, mass transit accessibility can be mapped by the same techniques. The company's Web site notes that "habits and tasks are influenced by access to public transportation." In addition to offering station point data, routing and scheduling can easily be integrated into the sites.
While YellowPages.com and SuperPages.com are the first large companies to license the technology, White says a "top four portal" is also coming on board, as well as a major real estate value added reseller.
Currently, UrbanMapping is available to clients on a licensing basis. But White envisions that neighborhood-level information could enhance the value of certain leads. A SoHo vegan restaurant that is found by a tourist at The Mercer Hotel looking for something nearby should be willing to pay a premium. That tourist probably doesn't know many SoHo street names.