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Mapping Faux Pas #6 – Treating Your Map as a Store Locator!

December 7, 2011
Points Of Interest
By: Jason Holte
Adding a map to your real estate site is now easier than ever, so easy in fact that it is rare to come across a site without one. But a common Mapping Faux Pas that many fall into is adding a location, showing the street view, and calling it a day.

Here at Digital Map Products we love maps (as you can probably tell) and are always elated to see a map on any site but when a website stops at the property location and treats their map as a store locator we are always a little crestfallen.

Property Data on Your Real Estate Site Creates a Better User Experience

A map is a perfect medium to tell the local story of a location. There is so much information around a location that can be presented on the map that it is a shame to ignore it. And it’s not just the map-savvy consumers that want more, the lion share of your users now expect a rich mapping experience and limiting them to the store locator style map is the fastest way to lose a user that was so difficult to capture in the first place.

Take a look at your competitors, if they are presenting a simple point on the map then here’s your chance to one-up them. If they have gone beyond that simple point then they are the one-upper and you need to do something to catch up. Keep in mind that your competitors are just a click away, so dive in head first and take your map to the next level.

Real Estate Mapping Tools for Digital Maps that Help You Win

There are a whole host of cloud-based companies out there, including Digital Map Products, to help you create a map that stands out and gives your consumers what they are looking.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Add data that helps tell your spatial story, examples of this data include points of interest, parks, public transportation, schools, and churches
  • Add demographic data to help create a mental picture of the people that live in and around the property of interest
  • Display boundaries that make sense to your end users, such as neighborhood and city boundaries. Don’t add information that you don’t know yourself, for example, do you know where your postal code ends? If you don’t know neither will your users.
  • If you are adding thematic maps to display trends in the areas, make sure to display the data in the familiar boundaries your users know.
  • Add local reviews to your site to give your end user an idea of what people are saying about the local establishments.
  • Only add data to the map that helps the user. Adding data and features just to add them can detract from your application and cause confusion for the end user.

Offer Maps with Data and Functionality

With so many options in the market, it can be difficult to attract users to your site but once you do you want to keep them coming back. Don’t fall into the Store Locator Faux Pas; go beyond the simple point on the map. Elevate your map by adding data and functionality that WOWs your end user and keeps them engaged with your application. Your end users will thank you!

Click here for the final installment – Mapping Faux Pas #7!

If you like this post have a look at the entire series.
Mapping Faux Pas #5: Bad Data Visualization
Mapping Faux Pas #4: Loading Map Syndrome
Mapping Faux Pas #3: Dumbd Maps
Mapping Faux Pas #2: Street-Level Geocoding
Mapping Faux Pas #1: Where’s the Map?

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