Online Maps: Plotting the Direction of Local Search

Dec 4, 2007 - 6:00 pm 2 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2007


  • Jeremy Kreitler, Director of Product Management, Yahoo! Maps
  • Ian White, CEO, Urban Mapping
  • Jim Schoonmaker, CEO, Everyscape
  • Ziya Genceren, LiveSearch Maps Product Manager, Microsoft
  • Gary Price, Director of Online Information Resources,


Gary Price – (This presentation was taken directly from a url provided at the conference)


Defining local is key

  • Local is more than maps and business listings 
  • Local is not always where you live, drive, "hang out"
  • In fact, local is potentially more important other places, away from home turf
  • Think about "local" and Chicago for those attending the conference


Will they be used by the masses or are we in a "geek only" mindset

  • Is the user able to get more (better, more specific answer)
  • User friendly
  • Value proposition (will they save the user time, effort, aggravation) 


A Historical Perspective 


What We're Up to at

  • Ask Mobile GPS (with Sprint)
  • Lifestyle application combining Evite, CitySearch, Directions (spoken directions), etc. 
  • Search geo-location


Ask Maps

  • Walking and driving directions
  • Aerial imagery
  • Drag and move with dynamic recalculation
  • Highlight new locations to map with simple one-click--no typing necessary


Ask Mobile

  • No downloads necessary with all features
  • Maps with visual cues
  • Driving AND walking directions
  • Satellite imagery 



  • Local search, buy tickets, movie info, reviews, restaurant reservations
  • "Search inside" or "search along" a specific area with map mark-up features, save and share
  • Neighborhood other sugggestions suggestions often listed in left rail


Ziya Genceren


When many think about local search they think of YellowPages but that’s a very limited way of thinking.  You should define local search as any query that involves location or geographic property.  For example what is the name of the Fountain across the street from the Chicago Hilton.


Local search has basically 2 touch points to mapping.  A map is a canvas and a rich mapping platform is important.  It can be done on the fly or in a custom way.  An advanced mapping platform allows the users to get much more information out of you like what Microsoft has done with 3d mapping.  He also gave us an example of how he brought up the fountain from across the street here at the Chicago Hilton and how that was the fountain that was used in the tv show “Married with Children” Microsoft has the ability to go out and pull geo information from the web which is then tied back to the photo.


Ian White


To API or to not API?


Ajax, tiles, rendering factory.  Their then cached and made available on demand.


How free is free though?  Free API’s virtually have no cost like with Google and its free up to 15,000 geocodes per day.  With paid solutions however you get additional functionality that is baked in as well.


Service-based businesses

No (meaningful) business address: cellphone + automobile – I come to you (nanny, plumber etc)


Defining multiple service area

Multiple ‘offices’

‘We serve Colorado’

A cold ware service-based business search

How to deescalate from MAD


For local search Ian says that IP targeting sucks.  For national targeting it works pretty accurately.


Jeremy Kreitler


Online maps are a central part of how users search today.  Over 60% of the internet audience is performing local specific queries.  41% of local searches are within a user’s home location.  Maps have a 88% reach on the internet in the US 3rd after search and email.


Maps offer a geographic and visual way to organize different information.  It allows you to organize information from across the web into a visual format.  Local searches are growing as a portion of overall web searches.  Local is extending beyond business lookup including social media, local news and more.


Jim Schoonmaker


Map platform lack benefits to advertisers


Many features to the user experience

Street Imagery

Satellite Imagery




And Adwords do not meet their needs.  While the new search environment may suit some of the needs its not meeting the advertisers needs, particularly the smaller ones.


Now small businesses want people to be the interiors of their stores, restaurants, museums, dentists etc with Everyscape offers.

Contributed by: Justin Davy is a search engine marketing specialist for the E.W. Scripps Company and a guest writer for SER.


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