May 25, 2009
Building a First Life with PlanetTagger
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Welcome to GISWeekly!

GISWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top News of the Week, Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances, Announcements, Financials, New Products, Around the Web and Events Calendar.

GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Building a First Life with PlanetTagger

By Susan Smith

New development from SpectrumDNA, a Park City, Utah company focuses on empowering existing communities in the real world who are not online yet, nor are using location based services to engage their audiences in real world behavior. Their PlanetTagger product is a scalable, SaaS (software-as-a-service) engine that can be white-labeled and customized for any brand, website or media property.

According to Jim Banister, CEO of SpectrumDNA, “We’re trying to help people in communities in their first life as opposed to trying to get them to build a second life.” Realizing that people are already doing adventure travel, snowboarding, rock climbing. dog ownership and other pursuits, Banister said every affinity group has a naturally occurring location based behavior. On that premise SpectrumDNA built PlanetTagger to partner with communities who are already spending the time, money and effort to engage that affinity group but do it through a mobile and location based utility method.

"While the contexts of Facebook, Flickr and Twitter are 'social networking', 'photo-sharing' and 'micro-blogging,' those are simply 'actions' without the context of community,” said Banister in a recent press release. “The context of PlanetTagger is provided by the hobby, pastime or industry it partners with. For any affinity group, PlanetTagger offers a platform that allows users to engage and interact with each other in a deeply contextual fashion -- bringing together all of the utility of traditional social media while offering significantly less 'noise' and unwanted clutter for the user-community."

“Our focus in not around primary research around GIS – our focus is more about the technique of engaging of engaging users around geospatial utilities as opposed to coming up with technologies,” explained Banister. “R&D and technologies think just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. The focus is more about what do dog owners really use and what do they really want to do associated with location based behavior? We’re built as an ‘agile adaptive shop,’ meaning that we quickly as possible engage a particular user group and then watch what they actually do as opposed to continuing to do research based on what we think they want to do. So anything we do in
primary research or licensing technology from third parties to integrate into this engine of engagement depends entirely on how the community behaves and how their behavior evolves.”

PlanetTagger’s first partnerships may appear diametrically opposed to one another, from an outside perspective, according to Banister. UCLA's Anderson School of Business Entertainment and Media Marketing Institute (EMMI) will use PlanetTagger as a next-generation "knowledge exchange" for stakeholders in the media and entertainment industries. The EMMI community, yet to be named, will be structured around people, places, events and media (including text, photos, graphics, videos, etc.). The community will also offer integrated third-party feeds like Twitter and Facebook. The engine is “basically mapping the world of entertainment media knowledge.” At the other end of the spectrum is a street soccer community, aimed primarily at an audience of 14- 34 year olds who are playing pick up soccer games like street basketball. “They seem entirely different, but the truth is the underpinnings of the PlanetTagger engine are equally applicable to both of those communities because we’ve distilled this application down to the most archetypal behavior amongst human beings, about how they behave with each other around location and people,” Banister said. “There are idiosyncrasies to both of those, and that’s we evolved the engine. Then we’ll watch what each of them do and distill out of those two communities.” There are other communities coming online as well.
“We’ve evolve the engine and add more features and change features based on what people are actually doing as opposed to what we think they’re going to do.”

While utilizing the “build it and they will come” approach, PlanetTagger still begs the question, How do you appeal to this or any niche group? You can build an application for any affinity group but then how do you market, distribute, target and gauge that market to get an audience for it?

“Our answer is, instead of spending the money and time to go buy media and spend a huge marketing budget to try and go find and aggregate that community, there are already entities out there who don’t have the expertise in building applications like we build who are spending the money, time and effort in another medium often or doing it in some way online and they already have formed a relationship, they have built in marketing, they have a email list of the million users, they have an alumni group who are installed in the media and entertainment business or where ever it might be,” said Banister. “So we partner with them and they bring the marketing and the relationship and the
credibility with the user group, we bring the technology, the application, the understanding of how to program to human beings as opposed to devices. Between that partnership and us watching what they do and listening to that audience, we evolve the engine based on that.”

By starting out with credibility in that community immediately, those previous steps are eliminated. In the case of street soccer, the partner for the street soccer community is a gear company called Calle Republic, which relies on youth to supply ideas for their product line and the website. The PlanetTagger engine has something for Calle called
Calle Underground, which is a service that allows people to sign up and find out about games going on in their area, and to network with other like-minded individuals.

Each of the partners know their demographics or cybergraphics, and know their affinities. Banister said there are infinite numbers of these social niche groups.

“There are 75 million dog owners in North America alone, right? But it’s a niche, in this case, a mega niche, for example, the demographics for dog owners goes across the demographics of the U.S.,” Banister pointed out. “It’s such a wide swath: they’re old, young, high income, low income, male, female. With street soccer it’s much more specific –younger, highly male. Our partners generally have a really good handle, like subject matter experts, they really know their market and their demographic or affinity group so we rely on them. They rely on us to know how mobile behavior and online behavior around location based services is evolving and how to react to the
market as quickly as possible.”

Banister said PlanetTagger is in a really good position right now because most companies have cut back on their internal development, technology and programming staff. They can’t afford to build the applications that SpectrumDNA are building. “We feel strongly this is the right way to approach the web 3.0 market,” he said.

Last year SpectrumDNA ran a series of tests with their 1.0 platform with ski resorts, we the local Park City dog community and the street soccer group. “Based on what we learned and what new technologies were emerging, we spent a good six months re engineering the platform,” said Banister. As a result, two communities of PlanetTagger will launch this summer: street soccer and EMMI community with UCLA.

Banister noted that a big challenge is getting the 40-50 year old audience to believe PlanetTagger is worthwhile. So many people in that age range want to do rather than talk about their interests, but hopefully PlanetTagger will appeal to the mobility of that audience. An audience must feel the need to download something to their iPhone in the area of location based information and social niche works. With PlanetTagger, “If you’re focused on a particular affinity group you can probably service them better than a general social networking engine like Facebook can,” said Banister. “We really think that’s a trend in the mobile and web space.”

1 | 2 | 3  Next Page »

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

Review Article Be the first to review this article

Featured Video
GIS Specialist for Olsson Technology at Overland park, Kansas
GIS Specialist for ERDMAN at Madison, Wisconsin
Body Structure Engineer (Entry Level) for HATCI at Superior Twp, California
Upcoming Events
The United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) at Deqing, Zhejiang Province China - Nov 19 - 21, 2018
GIS4SmartGrid 2018 at Radisson Blu Palace Hotel Amsterdam Netherlands - Nov 20 - 22, 2018
Esri WAMEA UC 2018 at Dubai World Trade Centre Dubai United Arab Emirates - Dec 11 - 13, 2018
GeoBuiz Summit 2019 at A-145, SECTOR-63 NOIDA India - Jan 14 - 15, 2019
Penn State
Teledyne Optech

Internet Business Systems © 2018 Internet Business Systems, Inc.
25 North 14th Steet, Suite 710, San Jose, CA 95112
+1 (408) 882-6554 — Contact Us, or visit our other sites:
AECCafe - Architectural Design and Engineering EDACafe - Electronic Design Automation TechJobsCafe - Technical Jobs and Resumes  MCADCafe - Mechanical Design and Engineering ShareCG - Share Computer Graphic (CG) Animation, 3D Art and 3D Models
  Privacy PolicyAdvertise