Wayfaring brings mapping to the masses

Wayfaring is a great site I've been playing alot with lately. I love its simple, clean interface and the depth of its feature set. The more time that I spend with it, the more I'm convinced that this is a great site for real estate – either for the FSBO/DIYers out there or for a more mainstream site (Redfin?) to adopt some of its innovations.

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At its core, Wayfaring is a simple interface for anyone to create and share Google map mashups. In the past, maps have always been static documents that show us geographic features. Even on the Internet, most of the current maps show us satellite or overhead imagery of terrain, but little else.

Using Wayfaring, your concept of what a web-based map can be changes. You can add your own points of interest, waypoints and route directions using color coded "pins" – each of which you can also tag for others to discover. All of a sudden, your map begins to take on a life of its own.

One way to take advantage of this dynamism is to create an in-depth profile of your neighborhood. Dustin, over at Rain City Guide, was recently looking for new ways to market a home on the Internet, I think Wayfaring is a fantastic way to go beyond just a simple listing description and get into the meat of what makes your home a great place to live. Let's face it, the house itself is only part of the equation, your community is a big factor here as well.

Here's a quick map I threw together of my own neighborhood. I highlighted just a few of its selling features – things that you might not otherwise be able to tell from a Thomas Guide or printed map. These are all things that could potentially push a prospective buyer over the top. I also plotted the quickest routes from the freeway, something I've learned only through trial and error – but is also valuable information.

Where Wayfaring really shines through though, is the ease at which you can share this map with others. Wayfaring will automatically email your map to a list of recipients and members of the site can 'track' updates to your map. You can also embed the map in your own blog using the HTML code Wayfaring provides you. WordPress.com does not allow me to post code on this site, so you can see this in action over on my personal blog. Check out my neighborhood on Wayfaring.

By allowing us to annotate the physical world, mapping sites like Wayfaring can be used to impart a great deal of accumulated knowledege that otherwise may be underrepresented in the purchase decision or in the final transaction. And while it may not impact the bottom line directly, it goes a great way towards sharing information and ultimately humanizing the decision-making process.

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