Although the existence of large-scale home search platforms has caused some agents to scratch IDX search functions from their list, a Phoenix-based tech platform is hoping to change agents’ minds with the launch of a 360-degree 3D mapping program aimed at providing an immersive, real-world search experience.
Currently only available in Phoenix and Tucson, AerialSphere has partnered with real estate marketing platform iFoundAgent to provide its mapping technology to more than 400 agent websites in the area.
“The world is not flat, so why should the maps we use every day be?” AerialSphere co-founder DJ Vegh said in a press release. “AerialSphere powered maps, unlike Google Maps, provide a 3D-type experience that allows you to see the world the way we should see it — as if you are there.”
In a phone call with Inman, Vegh explained the process of creating each map. AerialSphere’s team goes on a series of flights where four cameras are used to capture a 360-degree view “in an instant.” From there, Vegh and his team processes each image and applies longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates to each pixel of an image.
Those coordinates allow Vegh’s team to accurately pinpoint any listing in the Phoenix and Tucson area and overlay those listings with real-time market data pulled from the MLS, similar to pinpoints on Google Maps.
“It works exactly how a Google Map works,” Vegh told Inman. “It’s just that our map is a 360, immersive map. Their viewers can still experience a straight-down orthographic map, but we’re just adding an extra layer of information with our maps.”
iFoundAgent founder and CEO Dave Mason said he was skeptical of AerialSphere’s claims, but a single demo changed his mind.
“When I heard about it, I thought it was just like Google Maps, so who cares?” Mason said in a prepared statement. “But when I first saw it, I actually got a chill up my spine — this was something new. It was kind of like when I saw the first iPhone; I knew it was going to change everything.”
One of Mason’s clients, Sean Hahn of West USA Realty said AerialSphere’s 3D maps has become a central part of his marketing strategy. Hahn said he shares map links with potential sellers as part of his free marketing analysis, and for current buyers and sellers, he uses the maps to show the final prices on recent neighborhood home sales.
“The first thing that pops up is this giant 3D map showing homes and an indicator showing the final sales price,” Hahn explained in a statement. “These maps are interactive and allow you to fly through neighborhoods in a way that feels like you are there.”
“You can see the topography. It’s not flat like all other maps,” he added. “In Phoenix, we live in a valley, with mountain ranges surrounding us. We also are a very active community. People hike our mountains or want to ride a horse or a bike through them.”
“These maps are the most powerful way to figure out where a house is in relationship to all of our outdoor activities, from mountains to parks to schools.”
AerialSphere Vice President of Business Development Troy McCasland said the company’s technology isn’t only available to content marketing strategy companies like iFoundAgent, but can be easily integrated into multiple listing service (MLS) sites and other real estate marketplaces.
McCasland said AerialSphere’s pricing model is similar to Google Maps, where the cost is dependent on the area of coverage, website traffic and application programming interface (API) calls.
Vegh said AerialSphere is planning to expand its coverage to more than 70 metros in 2020, and his team is already in the final stages of creating their map of San Diego. The company has also done 30 projects with CB Commercial Real Estate, which has 34,000 real estate professionals across more than 200 offices nationwide.
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