Mapping has become less about radius of where you are and more about what people define as local, how far people are willing to travel and the importance of certain events or locations in their community. While the advertising paradigm has focused on ZIP codes/postal codes, consumers identify more with neighborhoods or specific areas of cities, which sets up a major disconnect.
The clear trend is the linking of social and mapping to drive action and to link people with their network of friends or favorite bands or events. According to Julia Scott, CEO of Bargain Babe, “linking social and mapping allows people to surface activities and deals that you may not be aware of.”
The goal, according to Darrin Clement, CEO of Maponics, is “to add more context to maps to help drive actions on a localized basis and to understand what is most valuable to the consumer to see on a map.”
A unique view of mapping came from Jason Bosek, president of Parking Data Ventures, who said that “parking is a point of necessity to allow people to utilize and take advantage of destinations particularly in urban areas.” Parking Data Ventures is an example of how mapping is becoming more specific to the needs of consumers beyond what is nearby to how to enable getting and staying in a particular location.
One of the main challenges of mapping pointed out by Clement was that “people’s ideas of local are more personalized to their neighborhoods and cities requiring sites to redefine what they consider local and offering layers of mapping choices to better match needs.” With this more personal view of what is local people are seeking ways to find friends, their favorite bands, sports and recreation activities on what they determine is a reasonable distance to travel or walk.
All this will force marketers and site owners to think more like their consumers and offer the mapping choices they need based on the type of search they are conducting and how they plan to travel to the location they have designated.