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Placebase Plots Course Past Google Maps

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-03-31

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The needs of commercial developers for mapping applications goes beyond even what the mighty Google can offer, and Placebase believes they have a better solution available.

Don't take Placebase's word for what it can do. CEO Jaron Waldman thinks prospective clients should look at their work, like that completed for the Fannie Mae Foundation's DataPlace.org project. Or UCLA.

During our phone discussion, Waldman mentioned several good aspects of the very well-known Google Maps project. The open API model used by Google led to its adoption for numerous non-commercial purposes.

Then he ticked off a list of issues commercial developers faced with Google Maps. Unwelcome branding. No support. A lack of customization. The potential for ad inclusions. A ban on commercial or subscription use. No service-level agreements.

Placebase has chosen to target the professional developer market with the release of Pushpin LE. Said Waldman, "Pushpin LE offers them Google Maps capabilities without legal gotchas and brand pollution."

To attract the developers who know and love the Google Maps API, Placebase embraced that API standard for Pushpin LE. Maps created with Pushpin LE can be viewed in web browsers without needing additional plugins or applications.

Pricing for Pushpin LE starts at an introductory tier of $1,600 for 150,000 transactions per month. Placebase plans to extend the Pushpin LE model with advanced GIS features like data-driven map shading. The company also offers another solution, Pushpin CX, with more advanced features as well.

Waldman observed how Placebase has drawn interest from several vertical market sectors. Features like the map shading he mentioned should be a key selling point to industries with substantial sales forces.

The map-shading and on-the-fly geocoding of addresses impress me as desirable for organizations that have to manage teams of salespeople. Management could designate territories and changes to them as business needs change, publish the map, and have it instantly available to the sales forces.

Instead of a lengthy meeting with PowerPoint presentations and lots of paper-map printing, Placebase could help the business manage those assignments much more effectively.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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