Web 2008 Expo - Day 2 - Yahoo! Japan announces new experimental mapping service

As part of the Geo-media session, Murata-san from Yahoo announced the release of "Pochi" a new mapping service from LatLongLab - a Yahoo! Japan unit whose stated goal is to "revolutionise online use of maps and location data".

Murata-san rightly questioned the usability of maps covered with icons, and unveiled a new, but somehow familiar interface - for Japanese users. The maps simply have text links on each of the properties - and clicking on these brings up various results in a panel on the left of the page. The resulting interface is similar to the Japanese local maps painted onto tin that can be found in neighbourhoods nation-wide.

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Web 2008 Expo - Day 2 - Web Innovation & Creative Day - Geomedia-fying the Web

Geomedia-fying the Web

The Panel discussion on Geomedia on the Web was moderated by Naoyuki Seki from the GeoMedia Summit organising committee, and the panelists were Takehiko Murata from Yahoo Regional Services (ex. president of Mapion), and Gen Miyazawa, president of Cirius Technologies.

First they went through the history of maps and online and mobile mapping:

Ancient Prehistory - maps are used for communication - perhaps even before language
1997 - first free maps online - Mapion
1999 - mobile web begins - imode, ezweb, jsky
2002 - mobiles with GPS - gps sites and games
2005 - Google maps - free to use API

Murata-san said he considered the most significant recent milestones in the mapping industry were in 1997, where Mapion made maps free to use online, and 2005, when Google made maps free to "re-use" online. This has obviously changed the came in the mapmaking industry, and he recalled being berated by an analogue map producer at an industry party in the early days for giving his product away online.

The discussion covered the market for location aware media services, and Murata-san noted that while the current market for such services online is about 5 trillion yen, the paper based advertising market for local services (flyers, newspaper inserts, etc.) is 145 trillion yen, so there is still a huge amont of market that could potentially be changed to digital.

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