The tiled raster map solutions as used by Google and Yahoo are based on data-rich map image formats (e.g. gif) these are constructed on the server and downloaded to the handset resulting in a considerable amount of data traffic. As liquid MAPs are constructed directly within the handset with only meta-information (geometric descriptions) being sent to the handset it results in 10 times less data traffic each time the map application is used. This is especially beneficial for those users who do not have a flat rate billing for mobile data.
Furthermore panning and zooming with liquid MAPs is also 10 times faster than with tiled raster maps. This is due to the fact that the map information held in the phone covers a larger area than what the user actually sees on the screen. When panning or zooming no additional information needs to be downloaded from the server.
liquid MAPs comes as a stand-alone mobile map Java application (like Google maps on mobile) or it can be integrated in mobilePeople’s white label liquidTM mobile local search solution. liquid MAPS can also integrate aerial and satellite images within its SVG technology.
Users can search results for businesses and people and can view them on a fully realised map. Other search options include address search, reverse number search, vicinity search and directions including walking and driving routes. liquid MAPS also has enhanced user functionality, for example, a mobile user can fully interact with the maps, detailed information can be brought up on screen by clicking on objects such as roads, parks or buildings. In addition the text is scaled to fit the actual map view, so no more blurring of names when a user zooms in to a site of interest.
Jens Andersen, CEO and co-founder of mobilePeople commented: “Our SVG based mobile map solution is the most innovative mobile map technology for the mass market available today. The recent launch with Truvo in the Netherlands (formally World Directories) and further launches soon to be announced clearly mark a trend towards SVG maps. Google and Yahoo maps are first generation mobile maps. Other vector based map solutions are limited to Symbian phones only. The fact that we integrate our maps in a Java environment means that our offering is truly mobile mass market. It has a high user appeal and integrated local advertising products. The opportunities for monetisation for directory publishers are almost boundless.”
There is even the opportunity for audio advertisements in the application. The audio ad is displayed as a sound icon on the map. When the user scrolls over it a jingle is played. An advertiser can be automatically highlighted with a call-out symbol on the map. When the user clicks on it they would be immediately directed to the advertiser’s mobile landing page.