Multimap Launch Free Mapping for Small Businesses

At Earthware, we have believed for some time that Microsoft/Multimap has been disadvantaged vs. Google API which offers embedded maps with free transactions to small mapping clients. With this in mind, we thought we would draw your attention to Multimap’s recently launched embedded mapping product which sees them fighting back Google in offering mapping for free to low volume commercial users.

This new version of the Multimap API allows website owners to embed a customised map into their site taking advantage of Microsoft Virtual Earth’s aerial imagery: all it takes is a single line of HTML code.

The key features are as follows:

· Designed for use by small businesses, personal websites and hobbyists.

· Includes up to 50,000 transactions per year (which Multimap track).

· It takes just as single line of HTML code to embed the map.

· Choice of map styles (TeleAtlas, Ordance Survey, and Barts) and map views (road view or aerial view, including coverage of the US using Microsoft Virtual Earth).

· The HTML code includes four hyperlinks back to Multimap allowing the user to see the location on Multimap with a bigger map, POI’s and business listings; view the location in Bird’s Eye; get directions to the location; get directions from the location.

To embed a map in your site simply:

1. Go to Multimap.

2. Search for your location on Find a Map.

3. Click on “link” on the top right of the map.

4. A box opens; click to accept T’s and C’s.

5. Select to “customise the map” (select the size of the map and move the red circle).

6. Copy and paste the line of HTML code.

Here’s an example of what the map will look like in your site as well as the links back to Multimap for POI’s, Bird’s eye etc:

We believe that Multimap have seen a rapid uptake in these maps into client’s websites. For a list of a few examples please click here.

Before you think this is the panacea of mapping we ought to mention that there are some downsides to the ‘embedded maps’ compared to a licensing for full commercial usage. These being:

  • Branding – when using the free mapping, the user leaves the client site to view the data and information within a clearly Multimap branded site. This may mean the user will associate the experience as much with the Multimap brand as they do with your brand.
  • Advertising – In the Terms and Conditions, Multimap reserve the right to add advertising to the embedded maps which is controlled solely by them and cannot be removed in the free version. There is always the possibility that the advertising will not fit well with your own site branding or content.
  • Usage - the maps cannot be embedded in internal business applications such as BI or CRM systems.

After all, it wouldn’t be reasonable to release an all singing and dancing version with unlimited transations for free – Microsoft and Multimap are businesses after all.

If you want our view, we think this is great news for clients who now have more choices in mapping technologies for low volume usage, or where they want to test out user experiences before dipping into their pockets for significant licence fees for wider usage. A thumbs up from us for Multimap!