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The future of the map
The leap from physical to digital maps was game-changing for marketers and consumers alike, but what's next on the horizon? Columnist Brian Smith explores some possibilities for the future of mapping.
We’ve come a long way since the days of unfolding a paper map across a dashboard just to plot the next move on our road trips. Though it’s unlikely maps will soon make another leap so dramatic as going from inhabiting our glove compartments to inhabiting our cell phones, digital maps continue to evolve at an astonishing pace.
Here’s a look at the direction future maps are heading — and its implications for local marketing.
Going beyond and below the pin
Today, the digital map is dominated by the pin. That’s not likely to change. Pins simply make it easy to find locations on a map — too easy to ever fall out of use. However, that doesn’t mean the area around the pin will remain static. In fact, we’re seeing the buildings the pins represent undergoing a radical transformation in their clickability.
If you open Google Maps and zoom in on your current location, you’ll notice that the walls of the buildings around you have become much more distinct and “3-D” — so much so that they cast tiny digital shadows. The buildings themselves have become so visually enticing recently it’s almost as if Google wants you to click on them… which of course is precisely what Google wants you to do.
As of right now, only the largest, the most iconic and the most frequently visited buildings are getting this clickable treatment. For example, take a look at Rio’s Olympic soccer stadium, the Maracanã.
By zooming in and clicking on it, Google literally blows the roof right off the building by allowing you to toggle through its various floors, making it easy to find things like bathrooms and stairs.
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