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Thematic Online Mapping – What a Churning! November 10, 2007

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , trackback

Mapping space is traditionally divided in two verticals. Navigational & Thematic. Navigational is the one which is much in news, thematic is usually the one which is for serious use.

After a deep analysis (Alexa/ Compete/ Quantcast and what not) of the mapping space the following popularity rankings emerge:

  1. http://www.mapquest.com
  2. http://maps.yahoo.com
  3. http://maps.google.com
  4. http://local.live.com
  5. http://www.mapsofworld.com
  6. http://www.multimap.com
  7. http://www.randmcnally.com
  8. http://www.maps.com
  9. http://www.mapnation.com
  10. http://www.mapsonus.com   

While the first four are into Navigational Mapping, http://www.mapsofworld.com has emerged as the lead in thematic mapping. Thematic had http://www.lonelyplanet.com and http://lib.texas.eduas the key players before the rise of mapsofworld.com.  Lonely Planet handled travel maps and library website of Texas university handled topographic maps.  Both are today out of the reckoning for top honors in the thematic mapping space. Randmcnally.com the Grand Old Man of mapping industry has been on shaky wicket for over a decade now.  Maps.com the pioneer in online sale of maps and globes is also loosing ground rapidly, from a site in global top 1000 on all bench marks in late 90′s maps.com is fast becoming an also ran.

Mapsofworld.com has been increasing its lead over others, in the US space. The site recently started showing up even more than http://www.multimap.comhowever multimap.com still leads mapsofworld.com globally and in Europe. http://www.infoplease.com also has a detailed mapping section but has lost out on top listings in the mapping space.

 Is there a window in thematic maps, why do we need thematic maps online atall? Thematic maps bring in information placed over maps, it is said that a picture is worth 1000 words, a thematic map is worth a complete thesis or a book. Thematics are created with lot of research. Each thematic map comprises of tons of information. To understand Top 10 economies of the world a thematic map goes through the whole drill of data analysis and interpretation. Reliability is a key in thematic maps. If you are not reliable, you can’t stay in the segment.

Thematic maps are used by Marketing Professionals/ Research Scholars/ School Students/ Quiz Masters and General Public.

The churning which the thematic map segment has seen is very good for the industry. http://www.mapsofworld.comto gain ground has covered some tough areas like African thematic maps and maps like angling and biking locations. The multi billion dollar question is that can a thematic mapping site eventually overtake navigational sites? My take is Yes. Mobile telephony and integration at the equipment level of maps with mobile devices would reduce the usage of navigational mapping sites significantly. Letting sites like mapsofworld.com, lonelyplanet.com, lib.texas.edu grow the market and establish new benchmarks.


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