Pushing the Envelope with the Pushpin Collections

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Industry News
Pushing the Envelope with the Pushpin Collections
by Susan Smith

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“Better maps for online apps” is the slogan for Placebase’s new Pushpin Collections, a massive library of mappable datasets packaged with the Pushpin online mapping service. Taking advantage of reseller agreements penned with NAVTEQ, ESRI and Claritas, Placebase extends its Pushpin hosted web mapping service by adding rich, extensive datasets from these companies and making them accessible on the fly through a map service programming interface.

Readers may recall that Pushpin is a hosted web service that works similarly to the Google Maps API, but according to CEO and president of Placebase, Pushpin “goes deeper in terms of what types of GIS functionalities you can support and the customization possible.” There is more advanced functionality for street maps, property parcel maps, the ability to control the layers of the map and turn them on and off. This functionality is supported through the API and
Pushpin’s programming interface, and the new data from Claritas, ESRI and NAVTEQ will be packaged right into the Pushpin service and running locally.

Waldman said that “The theme for us and continues to be making GIS accessible and easy, where as in the past this has required a good deal of expertise. We want to make it as easy as possible for developers to build online mapping applications that give the power and control and relevant, timely data that traditional GIS can provide.”

The reseller agreement with ESRI, Claritas and NAVTEQ packaged with Pushpin enables a developer of a smaller company to have access to those datasets immediately without having to negotiate those complex deals with the data vendors themselves, which can be an expensive, time consuming process. “We’re offering it a la carte so they can come into our catalog and pick different demographic variables and points of interest that you might see in a map and very quickly add those layers. It’s like a single line of code.”

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Within the catalog, you can go and drill down and see all the datasets offered from NAVTEQ, such as community service centers. In the demonstration, you can see 531 service centers from the NAVTEQ catalog in the Los Angeles area, filter them and say you just want to see police stations and the map will redraw it. Then you’ll see 212 police stations. “It has all characteristics you would expect from a mashup,” noted Waldman. “I can drill down, I can click on pan around. A developer can pick places from maps with a couple of lines of code and categorize them. When you’re building an application you want a lot of control over what goes in your maps.”

With the ESRI and Claritas datasets, you can add themes on the map, which come in over 10,000 variables. The example given was a 2006 median income dataset, and the map was redrawn very quickly. “This data’s available all the way to down to the block group level nationwide. You can get this to see what’s available in the region [using ESRI demographic data] and we also have ESRI’s consumer expenditure data, which is data on the hundreds of categories of what consumers spend money on. Money spent on food at home, bread excluding white bread, this is an index of what people spend on bread, excluding white bread, where 100 would be the nationwide average. So if you’re in marketing and you want to see where consumer purchasing power is in one of these many categories, you can quickly get a local or national picture at the county or zip code level, block group level, fact level of consumer expenditures, and demographics.

ESRI’s tapestry life style segments the market into 60 different household types. This is useful for marketing application. The demographic category information goes all the way up to 2011.

Placebase has some clients who want Claritas demographic data. Claritas is well known in private sector and marketing applications, whereas ESRI has a lot of customers in the government space. The datasets are similar with similar types of information. Also offered are some free data sets such as TIGER files from the U.S. Census. Although these can be obtained free elsewhere, the idea is to have them readily available to Pushpin customers who can then mix and match data to build the applications they need.

Data is priced by transaction or by seat, and depends on data licensor. Many Collections data layers are included at no cost, while some range from $0.02 per view with discounts for higher volumes.

Placebase is looking at other sources that create datasets to add to the Pushpin Collections.

Top News of the Week

Trimble launched the first multimedia layer of GPS-based adventure details for Google Earth. The layer incorporates interactive information from the Trimble Outdoors(TM) catalog of GPS-on-cellular applications, as well as premium content from contributors to BACKPACKER, Bicycling and Mountain Bike magazines.

Premium GPS-based information from Trimble Outdoors and leading national publications is now available as a Google Earth Featured Content Layer. Users can access a wide variety of multimedia data on fitness and outdoor adventures, including routes, points of interest, pictures, video and audio. This information is designed to support the outdoor enthusiast community with new opportunities to explore the earth and share stories of their adventures.


Orion Technology Inc. is pleased to announce a partnership with Sky-Shine Corporation (M) Sdn. Bhd., a firm specializing in GIS Development and Mapping Services, Surveying & Mapping System, and Environmental & Laboratory Instrumentation in Malaysia.
Sky-Shine offers a full range of Geospatial Information Technology services from data conversion to application development and implementation. They serve both public and private sector agencies and provide services in GIS system development & implementation, digital mapping & data acquisition, data conversion, and remote sensing.

Intalio, Inc., The Open Source BPMS Company, announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with Sistemas de Informacion Geografica S.A. de C.V. (SIGSA) in Mexico. This new partnership will develop the presence of Intalio in several vertical markets in Mexico, including petroleum and gas, electricity and water utilities, as well as federal and state government agencies.

Proxix Solutions, Inc., a location intelligence company, and CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business and a leading provider of tax and accounting information, software and services, announced that they have entered into a partnership agreement. Under the multi-part agreement, Proxix will provide tax jurisdiction geographic boundary data for CCH's sales and use tax compliance solutions and CCH will become a reseller of Proxix Site-US Tax software and tax databases as an added value to their tax management systems.

Blue Marble Geographics is pleased to announce that it has joined ESRI's Business Partner Program. Blue Marble Geographics will develop applications to enhance and expand the geodetic conversion tools of ArcGIS and other ESRI products as well as resell ArcWeb Services. In support of this, Blue Marble intends to provide geodetic consulting and training services for ESRI users in the Oil and Gas, Government, Surveying and Software industries.

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