Transport for London is one of the largest public transportation agencies in the world. Each day their bus network alone carries more than 6 million passengers. For those passengers, finding bus information just got a lot easier with the new “Countdown”website, powered by CloudMade. Try it out here.
The Transport for London portal uses CloudMade’s Map Tiles and Geocoding with a custom SLA and server installation inside our Amazon based cloud. The map style was created using the Style Editor and our Cartography Design services. If you like what you see, get in touch.
Another update of our App Gallery brings some new examples of impressive CloudMade-powered apps and shows how location continues to enhance user experiences for web and mobile services. The range of applications presented in our app gallery is becoming really wide, and it now includes such categories as Navigation, Travel, Business, Reference, Healthcare and Fitness, Utilities, Entertainment and Productivity. Here you can see some newly added apps that we’ve found especially interesting.
Fahrtenbuch is a must-have app for anyone who needs to track mileage for tax deduction or reimbursement. This app is the #1 choice “driver’s log” in Germany, and it is the first one to have full iCal integration. CloudMade Geocoding and Routing services have been used in it.
Choosing a restaurant or a bar for the evening? Drinktown will help you to make that choice by telling you about all the food and drink specials near you. The website is updated daily by tens of thousands of members, and it is very easy to use since it allows you to sort data by day of the week, special type or just browse the beautifully styled map to find nearby deals.
With the Next Time iPhone app using reminders has become extremely efficient, since it now takes into account your location. You can create a list of locations and set reminders for those. Next Time will run in the background to alert you of your reminders the next time you’re at the location. The app is using CloudMade Geocoding and Map Tiles.
TrackMyJourney-Mobile is a multi-function recreational navigation and mapping application for Java/J2ME and BlackBerry phones. It receives its location coordinates by communicating via Bluetooth with a separate GPS receiver, or via the phones internal GPS if supported. The data is then sent to TrackMyJourney website where you can then share your location and recorded tracks with your friends. The app uses CloudMade Geocoding, Map Tiles, Routing, StyleEditor and Web Maps API.
French cycling fans might get interested in Geovelo – a cycling route planner that uses OpenStreetMap data and takes into account not only distance, but also safety. Geovelo maps created with CloudMade Style Editor perfectly complement the impressive design of the website.
You can see more location based apps that use CloudMade services in our App Gallery. If you are interested in trying out those free tools and APIs yourself, sign up to our Developer Zone. And maybe your outstanding app will be among thoses featured in our App Gallery soon!
Our app gallery is growing fast, and with every new addition it’s clear that combining CloudMade’s tools and services with great ideas and skills from developers results in some extremely powerful, compelling products. Take a look at some of the latest updates to our gallery below:
Galileo Offline Maps is a mobile app that can be used on a daily basis or while traveling. This app allows users to import maps from a computer to an iPhone or iPad and then view them in offline mode. Being able to choose from five attractive CloudMade map styles makes the use of the app a real pleasure. CloudMade tools used to create this app include Geocoding, Routing and Style Editor.
“CloudMade provides plenty of stylish and good-looking map styles which please even the most fastidious users.” – Evgen Bodunov, galileo-app.com
Travelers who own Macs should be really excited about Knapsack 2 app. This new version of Outer Level’s personal travel planner, built with our Geocoding and Web Maps Studio, adds interactive maps with street level detail and world-wide search. Knapsack allows you to lay out your travel plans, destinations, activities, and can be even used as a trip journal.
“Our customers wanted a searchable world map with street level detail and CloudMade was the perfect solution.” – Jon Trainer, Knapsack
iGMap proves that products created with CloudMade tools are not only really cool, but can also meet the most diverse needs. iGMap iPhone app is a virtual GPS designed for use with the desktop flight simulators. It provides a wireless hand-held moving map display to aid navigation, especially useful on VFR flights, while saving valuable screen real-estate on the desktop, and uses iOS devices to display the current position of the aircraft. The app was built with CloudMade’s StyleEditor and Web Maps API.
“CloudMade services allow a small company to deliver cutting edge mapping solutions while targeting a niche market – without the prohibitive cost.” – Fermin Fernandez, FSWidgets
Thanks to developers of Map My Tracks, outdoor sports and fitness enthusiasts have their own social network now. With this website they can easily track, review & share outdoor activities with friends & family. Map My Tracks provides a comprehensive range of tools to help better understand how your training session went and keep a central log of all your outdoor activities.
“The flexibility of CloudMade’s API mean that we can always deliver the maps we want.” – Nick Tatt, Map My Tracks
If you like Map My Tracks and plan to use it, you should really consider complementing it with this OutFront app. Not only will this app allow you to measure speed, pace, calories burned, duration, elevation gain/loss and much more for each activity you do, but it will also give you an an easy way to share information about your outdoor activities live on Map My Tracks, Facebook or Twitter. CloudMade Map Tiles, Static Maps and iPhone SDK were used to create this app.
“Using CloudMade’s iPhone SDK made it super easy to add maps to our iPhone app. That, and reliability make CloudMade our first choice map provider.” - Nick Tatt, Map My Tracks
Cycling fans will enjoy using Bike Hub, also called a ‘satnav for cyclists’. It displays clever short-cuts and bicycle-friendly routes on OpenCycleMap, cutting journey times for many users. The feature I really like is ‘bike shop finder – a simple button that can call up UK bike shops within a six mile radius of an iPhone. Map Tiles and iPhone SDK are CloudMade tools used in this app.
“Cloudmade API provides the slippy maps within the app and helps to fast-track the development of all the map interactions that users have.” – Carlton Reid, BikeHub.co.uk
Want to see more CloudMade-powered apps? Check out our Application Gallery.
Inspired by these cool examples and feel that you could create something great yourself? Sign up to our developer zone and try out our free tools and services.
Earlier on this year a smart VC, who multiple times has competed successfully against Google, told me that Google is generally willing to act as an “irrational economic player”. It’s willing to destroy value just so others can’t get at it, even if it means destroying value for itself.
Google just announced that it will offer navigation. Navigation has so far captured 70%+ of the $2 billion mapping market. The bad news for established navigation players like Tele Atlas and Navteq is that this will erode the value of navigation, just like the value of maps have been eroded. The good news for those players is that Google has now tipped its hand and shown that it’s willing to compete against the very ecosystem that it has been nurturing over the past couple of years.
Google’s strategy is to leverage maps, including navigation, to extend its current search franchise into local search. We’ve believed from day one of CloudMade that contextual search, using location data and some knowledge about the user (for example which app he/she is using) creates much more valuable CPM/CPC/CPAs. If you’re an advertiser or a merchant, you will pay more per impression if you know someone is a mountain biker and is near the bicycle mega store you own.
Google betting on one-size-fits all model
Google is betting on building a horizontal, local search franchise. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but please read on, it gets clearer. Google is building a one-size-fits-all set of services around mapping, and will serve the masses with those. Think about Google Maps, Latitude or Earth. They are horizontal one-size-fits-all web apps with little or no segmentation. Everyone uses the same app.
Meanwhile, in the process of building out end-user applications rather than sticking to being a platform player, Google is causing considerable collateral damage. Its move into the territory normally occupied by mobile operators, OEMs and small, medium and large developers is turning the marketplace against itself. The honeymoon is over and the do-no-evil days have ended. Google has declared any monetizable pocket in tech a target, including the key franchises of Apple, Microsoft, the mobile operators and now also mobile application developers. The problem with Google’s approach is, the value is not in horizontal services, but in leveraging the democratizing effect of the app stores to use the 100,000+ vertical apps as a way to divide the market into tiny segments and let them flourish and gain traction.
CloudMade believes vertical apps will inherently nano-segment the market
Most of the impressions that will hit consumers, and most searches that are contextually and location oriented, will occur through vertical apps. Take the mountain biker example. Where will I be more likely to respond if I want to a) navigate my mountain bike though a new trail and b) click on that ad from the bicycle mega store? A horizontal Google app, or a well crafted, vertical app written by a focused developer who understands my special interests? We believe the latter. We believe the mountain biking savvy, app developing expert who knows the hidden trails in his/her community will be better at providing relevance to local mountain bikers.
As I speak to mobile operators and handset manufacturers about the CloudMade business, it’s clear that most of the players understand the value of their immense reach, and want to pick long-term partners with whom they can build a franchise in local search, local advertising and local geo services.
It’s clear that Google’s latest move has served as a lighting rod for clarity in the value chain. Over the past days I have spoken to people throughout the ecosystem. So far, the uncertainty about what Google was doing has actually caused a lot of mobile operators, handset manufacturers and app developers to take a wait-and-see attitude. Now, with Google showing their hand, and making it clear that it’s willing to compete directly with substantial parts of the eco system to get at the local search market, we’re seeing that the wait-and-see is over. With Google choosing to go it alone rather than cooperate with the ecosystem, the ground rules have been laid down, and the competitive landscape is clear.
So what are we doing at CloudMade?
We’re building out our traction in the vertical mobile application area, signing developers within key categories that we believe will drive massive volume. This is a real micro-segmented approach, aimed at driving traffic to thousands of narrow verticals. We’re already seeing this scale.
Local, relevant ads: We’re jumping the learning curve on Location Based Advertising and Sponsored POIs. We’ll shortly be offering developers, mobile operators and handset manufacturers a revenue share on Sponsored POIs and ads that they include in their apps. This is big news to developers, who so far have had to depend on the modest revenues from selling apps at $0.99, $1.99 etc.
Data Marketplace: We’re building a massive marketplace for geo data. In fact, in a few weeks we have our “opening day” at the CloudMade Data Marketplace, the Turkish Bazar from which developers can choose a variety of content that they can mash into their maps. This will result in more app diversity, deeper functionality and even completely new types of vertical apps.
Offering for operators and handset manufacturers: CloudMade has created a super interesting set of propositions for mobile operators and handset manufacturers. We’re doing rev share deals with them where we work side-by-side to build franchises in the local geo spatial arena. We offer them onboard maps (built into their devices) and offboard maps (loaded from our servers), we offer them navigation jointly with our navigation partners and we offer up relationships with our many vertical app developers. For Tier 1, 2 and 3 operators and handset manufacturers this is turning out to be very compelling. The big differentiator is that the operators get to decide what the services look like, they get to brand them and they get to make money from them. That is as opposed to the alternative, which is to take someone else’s services, accept that they are all branded by someone else, who also pockets the ad revenues from them.
We’re focusing on making maps look the way the merchants and developers want them to look. Through CloudMade’s Style Editor anyone, even non-technical people, can produce advanced, custom maps that reflect the brand and identity of their company or their customers company. We’ve found that many, especially those with no yellow in their corporate identity, prefer this to a one-size-fits-all yellow map.
Navigation: We’re continuing to ramp up our work with key players in the turn-by-turn navigation field to increase the scope for navigation solutions. We are building assets to help drive the verticalization of the field, so we see custom navigation for different verticals. Again, CloudMade doesn’t believe in one-size-fits-all. We think different types of navigation will require different types of apps. For example, if I’m hiking in the mountains I don’t care about roads. I want to navigate hiking trails, be directed to places where I can fill my water bottle, and I want to know where the vista points are.
Last, but not least, the most important component of CloudMade’ approach.
Tools, tools, tools: CloudMade is focusing a lot of effort on the tools side. We believe that the best way we can serve the community of mappers and developers is to put all the control in their hands. We’ve demonstrated this through our efforts already, for example with our iPhone libraries. We’re similarly putting the control of Location Based Ads and Sponsored POIs into the hands of developers. Put yourself in the shoes of the vertical app developer. You know better than anyone else how your constituents want to be advertised to, what ads they want (and don’t want) to see and how to place those apps in your app.
Similarly, we’re readying a suite of tools that makes mapping easier, faster and more powerful.
CloudMade’s web based Mapzen tool, and Mapzen POI Collector for iPhone will be available shortly. This suite of tools enables us to further serve the 180,000 person large OpenStreetMap community that is building the most detailed, finely textured and accurate map of the world. The community was founded by the founders of CloudMade, and most members of the CloudMade team are active members of the OpenStreetMap community. The map we’re building in the community is stunning in it’s detail. It’s essentially the Wikipedia of maps. After all, who knows better how to map a community than people who live in the community.
The Mapzen suite enables us to bridge the needs of app developers, who serve as a proxy for consumers in a given vertical segment, and the mappers, who are members of local communities or specialists in a certain type of mapping (e.g. mountain biking trails). Bridging the consumers needs for maps and the mappers’ desire to create maps that truly reflect their local community will result in mobile and web applications that both feature better maps and be more attractive to users.
So what’s the bottom line?
Over the next twelve months, we will see hundreds of thousands of vertical apps use maps and location services to better serve consumers with data about where they are, where they are going, how they get there and what is surrounding them at their location. We will see mappers collect map data that is highly relevant to local, narrow communities. We will see owners of diverse datasets make their data available though the Data Marketplace. In turn, we will see app developers jump on the opportunity and leverage the map data and Data Marketplace datasets into highly targeted, compelling and enchanting apps. Many will choose to monetize the apps through a combination of app store revenues as well as carefully selected Location Based Advertising and Sponsored POIs.
If you are with a larger company with a need for a mapping provider that does not compete with you email me at email@example.com.
Great news for Style Editor users: we’ve launched an updated version of Style Editor (v1.1) that makes discovering, sharing and creating new map styles even easier!
Style Editor is CloudMade‘s online cartography tool for creating customized map styles. Application developers can use Style Editor to quickly create their own map styles that give applications a unique look & feel. Style Editor gives you complete control over which objects are displayed on the map, and how they will appear on your map at each zoom level. Developers use CloudMade’s Style Editor to design customized maps built for a particular use. For example, if you were building a cycling application that helps users get from point A to point B by bicycle, you’d want to highlight the cycle paths and roads better suited for cyclists while de-emphasising main roads and motorways.
The most important improvements in Style Editor 1.1 is the addition of the style gallery. Style gallery will allow you to quickly discover public map styles created by CloudMade and our community. Style Editor also allows for private styles available only to the author, which you can view by pressing the My Styles tab on the Style Editor toolbar. By default the map styles are sorted by popularity. You may also chose to look for CloudMade styles which were created by professional cartographers including some by Stamen Design by clicking on the CloudMade tab. Or you can browse the featured styles (Featured tab) which showcase a mix of CloudMade and community styles that our cartographers deem fantanstic!
Another cool new feature in style gallery is the ability to sort map styles based on color. To the top of the Style Editor toolbar is a Color Filter control. This control will filter map styles in the gallery based on where you drag the Color Filter bar. The default setting on the far left shows all colors. By dragging the Color Bar towards the right, you can select only the map styles with a particular shade of yellow, for example. In this way you can find map styles that suit the look and feel of your website or application. Don’t forget to reset the Color Bar back to the far left when your done so that you can see all the styles again.
Each map style in the style gallery shows the style name, author and style ID. The style ID comes in handy when coding with CloudMade’s API libraries. You can quickly change the Style ID and see a completely different map in your app! The search bar in the far right of the tool bar allows for style searches based on style name, author or style ID.
The last new feature we wanted to talk about is the Style RSS feed. You can now subscribe to all new style updates via RSS. This is a super easy way to get all the latest updates to Style Gallery via RSS.
- Style Editor is open to the public and available to use as a free service. So go ahead and start creating your own new map styles and publish them to Style Gallery so the world can see and use them!
Style Editor Team @CloudMade
Nick blogged previously regarding three of our signature map styles – “Pale Dawn”, “Midnight Commander” and “Fresh” – that we launched along with our Developer Programme last month. Today we’re pleased to announce that all three styles are now available for customization in our Style Editor.
Our Style Editor lets you tweak, change and configure the cartography of our maps to suit your needs. Perhaps you, as I do, love the Pale Dawn style as originally created by Stamen Design, but want to see if it looks better with a bit more emphasis on parks and public transport? So I fired up the Style Editor, and a few clicks later had this attempt – “Fair Sunrise”:
We’re always interested in what creative things you can make with our tools, so if you’ve made a style that you’re proud of please share a link in our comments. I’ll let you decide for yourself whether you think “Fair Sunrise” is an improvement!