Beyond The Map Explains Why You Can’t Ignore Website Mapping

Five Reasons Not to Ignore Mapping, Even in a Tough Economy

Posted by Jim Skurzynski

As housing markets across the United States start to recover, it’s important for real estate companies to stay on top of the constantly changing and improving array of mapping technology available. Most companies realize they can’t afford to ignore location data tools completely, but it’s possible that by embracing them, they canactually gain an advantage in the competitive real estate marketplace. There are several reasons companies that have not updated theirmapping technology lately should reevaluate that decision.


Consumers are demanding ever-more-sophisticated mapping tools. There was once a time when home buyers went into an office and looked at pictures of homes in a binder, butthat day is long gone. Buyers today want to start their real estatesearch at home on a computer or at a coffee shop on their iPad – on the web. At the same time, the proliferation of touch screens and tablet-based apps have put a premium on visual displays of information. Consumers like being able to do their own research, focus in on some interesting potential homes, and then contact a real estate agent. That means the real estate companies with the most advanced and helpful maps have an immediateadvantage with consumers.


Spatial technology sets you apart from your competitors. With the explosion of maps on real estate sites, how does a company set itself apart? We find that consumers want several things. They want local data: information about neighborhood boundaries, crime rates and school districts. That means spatial technology tools that allow you to add additional layers of data will help you stand out from your competitors. Some sites now offer heat maps that show the noise level of a neighborhood. Consumers also like features like being able to draw the boundaries of their search area and see all the listing within the boundaries. We see the companies with the best location data attracting buyers’ interest.


New technology lets you extract more value from your existing data and IT system investments. Displaying your company’s institutional wisdom in a mapping format allows you to more quickly spot trends and analyze information. A decade ago, it was nearly impossible for a real estate company without a GIS department to take full advantage of all its in-house location data, with bits of information spread across various systems andno common platform to bring it all together. But now that cloud computing has made mapping much easier to implement, more and more data sets can easily fit together, allowing companies toaccess their data in a map-based format. And, you no longer have to have a GIS department to make it all work. Smart companies are moving quickly toward getting all of their data sets consolidated,linked to one another and displayed on maps. Those who do this, find they have a new, more valuableperspective on their existing data.


Mapping and location data are more affordable than ever.Cloud computing has completely transformed the locationtechnology marketplace. Developers are seeing a market for specialized APIs such as walkability scores, school rankings and other data that once cost a fortune to gather. These data sets are increasingly available at a low cost or even for free. This is great news for real estate companies who want to find cost-effective ways to keep their location data fresh and innovative.


Spatial technology is here to stay. A little over a year ago,Google announced it was taking its real estate listings off of Google maps, citing the “proliferation of excellent property-based search tools on real estate websites.” Google was acknowledging that the competitive market for proving ever-more-innovative maps is well established and here to stay. It’s unfortunate that the voracious demand for spatial technology came at a time when some real estate companies were struggling. But we’ve also seen companies who have been able to leverage the new possibilities of cloud computing to leap ahead during this period. In any case, spatial technology is moving and changing quickly, and those who lag behind may never catch up.

Get more information:

Watch our webinar The Mapping Advantage: Know Your Market Better with Mapping

Watch our webinar Real Estate Market Analysis & Mapping: What You Need To Know

Watch our webinar Digital Map Products’ Webinar: 
What’s Next For Online Real Estate & Mapping?

Keywords: real estate, mapping, location data, GIS, spatial technology