I remember when Google Maps was released and which huge impact it had on the possibilities to create new services. It was more or less a small revolution for developers, entrepreneurs, academics, students, companies and actually everyone of us, even though a very few ones of us realized it back then. However some of them who did created their whole new business on the new tools that Google made available for us. What previously would have needed either a lot of money or the amount of effort that made most of us postponing such projects were now within reach.
Ted Valentin was one of the entrepreneurs who understood the possibilities and made reality of his ideas; to create a whole network of web pages were maps the actual baseline of the service it provided to its users. To name a few badkartan shows and lists different bath spots around in Sweden, with sushikartan it is easy to find a rate local sushi restaurants and with wifikartan it is a breeze to find a wifi hot-spot.
Lately some of the above services has met a lot competition from social media as well as particular apps and new web sites. My belief is though that there is a new tool available that might have the power to become the new revolution of map services; dynamic data visualized on maps. When we previously were limited to (roughly) add coordinates and display different kind of pins with information, we now have a whole new set of amazing tools to visualize dynamic data on maps thanks to the great service of CartoDB. If you have not taken a glance on this yet you better do. Carto enables you to visualize hardly any kind of data on a map and illustrate your concept in a way that previously required a huge amount of skills as well as effort. Their own provided examples gives a good introduction to what is possible: Climate changes and how it affects different areas, the US election result in real time divided per state and more odd ones such as a presentation of naval ships during world war II.
Additional to create entertaining maps I see a lot of opportunities of how this could evolve different business needs; such as illustrating sales in real time, display and plan routes within supply chain and visualize market analysis for different regions. National Geographic and The Guardian has already realized the greatness of these tools, I suggest you to do the same as soon as possible. Well prepared and with a good business insight it should be a rather smooth thing to sell in this kind of custom developed dynamic data driven maps to customers. According to me, showing our customers how their business can be enhanced with technology is one of our main parts as a consultant – and therefore everyone of us who are within the consultant business should definitely evaluate how these tools can provide such enhancements (and add new business) at our customers.
The next generation maps are here, for sure. Remember were you read it.