Mapping software company Digital Map Products Inc. today launches SpatialStream, a geospatial platform that will give Web site developers an easy way to visualize what might otherwise be hundreds of data points on a spreadsheet, make databases interact, and manipulate how they display data on online maps.
"SpatialStream is more than just putting points on a map; it’s about what you do with those points," said Jim Skurzynski, the company’s CEO and founder. "2009 was the year when companies said, ‘Look at all the data we can show.’ 2010 will be about ‘What are you going to do with that data?’ "
While many real estate sites offer consumers various statistics about a particular area — crime patterns, school scores, neighborhood boundaries, sale prices — those data often don’t interact. SpatialStream allows developers to "make maps do things," said Annie Schwab, the company’s marketing director.
In a featured video on its site, the company animated a map to show how sales prices in Southern California changed in different ZIP codes over a period of three years — in effect, visualizing the impact of the housing crisis.
"As human beings we’re visual creatures, and the visualization of data adds a whole other element of meaning," Skurzynski said.
The power of SpatialStream lies in its ability to provide interactivity between layers of information, the CEO said. Users could search for areas with a low crime rate and great schools, for example, or layer flood zone data over business data. Users would also be able to correct data, adjusting a neighborhood’s boundaries, for example.
Sample code and videos of practical applications for SpatialStream will be available on the company’s site after today’s launch.
The product took two years and millions of dollars to develop, Skurzynski said. It is essentially a code that developers would be able to cut and paste. The company tested the market for this type of product with ParcelStream, a mapping application that hosts parcel data. For the developer, ParcelStream "is just seven lines of code," the CEO said.
SpatialStream would make comparisons that normally require months or years of software development and thousands of lines of code easy, the company said. …CONTINUED
"Instead of having to invest their time, [with SpatialStream] they can jump right into it and keep their development staff mainly focused on their business," said Skip Cody, the company’s senior applications programmer. "They don’t have to re-invent the wheel," he added.
In 2005, the company launched LandVision, a finished product sold directly to users. SpatialStream on the other hand, will be sold to Web developers who will then be able to configure it according to their own needs and what they want to provide to the end users, whether real estate agents or consumers.
"Developers can take it to make it their own, and then you provide it to your customers in your flavor," Skurzynski said.
The company will offer monthly or yearly subscriptions to SpatialStream. Yearly, the cost depends on the amount of traffic a site anticipates for the year, with a typical real estate application running anywhere from $30,000 to a $200,000, Skurzynski said.
Developers will be able to manipulate data provided by the company, or use the technology to display their own data. The platform can deal with thousands of data points on a Google or Bing map, but data loads instantly.
"Everything on the Web is about performance. You could put [hundreds of data points in such a map now], but it would take 30 seconds or a minute to include results," Schwab said.
At least one other company will also launch a similar product soon. Data company Home Junction Inc. plans to launch its own geospatial platform sometime in the first quarter, according to the platform’s site. SpatialMatch will be geared specifically toward real estate professionals for use on their sites and will allow users to filter property searches by various criteria, including lifestyle factors such as nearby restaurants and transportation options. The platform also layers data through the use of circles — areas where the circles overlap on a map match the user’s criteria.
"It has been designed from the ground up to feature maps not as a static picture for displaying output, but rather as the canvas on which the search takes place dynamically," the company said on its Web site.
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