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The Face of India – Mapsofindia.com July 2, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Business, India, Internet, Maps , 2comments

Thank you Rajiv. You made my day. It felt very good to be associated with a site which is seen as “the Face of India”. I thank your school going daughter Nona for bringing it to your notice, and I thank you for bringing it up with me.

I would like to take this opportunity to write “The Story of Maps of India”, why we made it and why it is loved..

It all started in April of 1996 when I was searching for a Map of India on Yahoo! of course Google was not a known word then. There were quite a few Indian Maps available on the internet but not one I would have liked to use. Each one of them had a truncated Kashmir depending on cartographers free will. Some maps had no North East of India, and most had no Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands.

That’s not what we were taught India looks like. It was full Kashmir a defined North East and the islands, all had to be there. It remained a thought. When I started Compare Infobase and we started working on our first website IndiaProfile.com the thought got translated to a web presence. We created a section in IndiaProfile.com called Maps of India. India had the correct face on the Internet. I was happy. But the page won’t show on Yahoo!

Why Sun rises from the east?

Why the date line is where it is?

Why England is in the center of the world?

Why Dollar is the currency of many countries?

Why English despite so few “English Men & English Women” is the most widely spoken language? Why? Why?

Many questions, one answer?

Dominance. Britishers dominated the world during those centuries and they made everyone see, believe, follow and accept what was right for them or as per them.

So, as Sun “rose” from East of the England, it bacame Sun rises from the East. The biggest Universal lie in the world. It remains a tough challenge till date to explain that the Sun never rises and the Sun never sets, it only appears and disappears from those directions.

Dominance. Dominance. Dominance.  Quality dominance. Universal domainance. Consistent dominance. Omnipresent dominance.  Taking a leaf out of the World History, Indiaprofile created a folder http://www.Indiapofile.com/Maps and titled it Maps of India. The folder which started with 5 maps became a website in less than three months as http://www.mapsofindia.com and had 50 maps to begin with. With the correct map on the net every one started logging on to Maps of India. The maps were: Quality Maps; in multiple subjects; they were always present in terms of zero downtime, you could get them when you wanted them. Number 50 became 250 and 250 became 500 and 500 became 1000 all in less than one year.

The Face of India was born. Mapsofindia.com was established as the site which displayed the face of India, the correct face of India. The quest continued. Mapsofindia.com became the place to get The Map of India, any time every time.

Usha Vidyasagar who currently heads the Maps of India project within Compare Infobase and Ajay Saxena our ex-colleague played a significant role. Usha with her Masters in Business Economics background started marrying data to maps. Demographic, Economic, Industrial, Political the list just won’t stop. I remember in one of those meetings in our second floor 125 sq. ft. office, I showed Usha my Readers Digest  -The Great World Atlas, I also shared with Usha an India Atlas bought by my father in 1948. The dream Mapsofindia.com should have Maps of such high quality with data of such high credibility. Ajay was Masters in Geography, he became the corner stone for quality and consistency of Maps. Ajay led the cartographic initiative, Usha the Atlas initiative and your’s truly kept on coming up with “we need”.

Mapsofindia.com started growing. It grew steadily initially and slowly started picking up speed. Number of users which were 7 the first day the site went live, went up to 1,000 a day by the time site completed one year. At 100,000 users a day for a thematic mapping site, I am pleased. The steady climb of Mapsofindia.com would ensure that the site starts hitting a million users a day  in next five years. For a thematic mapping site on a specific geography it is a great aspirational figure. Mapsofindia.com remains the best mapping site on India despite numerous challenges to its dominance. Interestingly the next three  most popular mapping sites on India are all stable mates of Mapsofindia.com; http://www.maps-india.com (Maps India) focuses on maps for travel and travel information; http://www.indiamapstore.com (India Map Store) is an estore for focuses on sale of printed maps and travel books; http://www.Mapsofworld.com (Maps of World) now a legend in its own right has a detailed India section which is growing steadily.

Much More to come…