I mentioned back in January that geo-targeting would be a hot topic for 2012. What with Facebook places and foursquare taking off last year it was only a matter of time before interactive maps started to merge with social media activity. If you haven’t yet heard – the latest tech jargon to hit the streets is SoLoMo. Definition: the blend of social, local and mobile (ask me and this is taking the humble acronym a step too far – even in adland).
Anyway, as a result of SoLoMo (cringe), we now have CityMaps to gawk at. Officially launched last week (the Beta version of the site has been around since 2010), this new digital mapping system will aggregate not just location & social data, but also local business data & deals data creating a truly interactive map experience online.
So how does this translate to a user experience? Well imagine you’re walking down the street, you consult CityMap on your i-phone (they released an iOS app last week) and see that there’s a coffee shop across the road. You notice their last tweet detailing a 2 for 1 offer on blueberry muffins. You have a secret penchant for blueberry muffins and feel the urge to go in and take advantage of that offer!
The key difference between this & Google maps is that local business social media activity will also feature on the map, allowing a deeper layer of interactivity. Citymaps describe it as a ‘maps gone social’. It’s obvious that retailers will be the ones to capitalize on this service – albeit at a national level (unless Twitter enable localized targeting in the future).
It fascinates me how the world has gone image-crazy over the last decade or so. Gone are the logical, methodical list eras where information was displayed systematically without so much as a thought for the visual! These days unless you’re online solution is visually engaging you won’t get a look in! What’s next? Visual Search Tools perhaps…?
Citymaps is currently only available in New York, San Francisco & Austin. I wonder if it will make it to Australia one day.