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Maponics Buys Long-Time Geo-Data Rival Urban Mapping

The deal-making of companies that gather contextual details about neighborhoods, from weather to real estate, is heating up.

Map with a polygon boundary
Map with a polygon boundary

After nearly 10 years of charting the contours and context of neighborhoods block-by-block, Urban Mapping Inc. has sold its database and brand to older competitor Maponics for an undisclosed sum. (Read the release.)

While the geo-data from both San Francisco’s Urban Mapping and Vermont’s Maponics tended to overlap, the deal solidifies Maponics lead as a provider of detailed information about neighborhoods on a block-by-block level. Since 2001, Maponics has served companies in the real estate and marketing industries real-time statistics about everything that goes on in a neighborhood, from weather to home sales.

Urban Mapping’s primary offering is Mapfluence, an online platform that includes real-time hyperlocal analytics, data visualization, and basic maps for the development and deployment of online mapping apps. It has provided support for Apple Maps, Google Maps, Yahoo, and Microsoft’s Bing; enterprises such as CoreLogic and CoStar Group have also relied on its geospatial reporting tools.

Greater Social Relevance

Maponics has its own wide array of big name clients such as Foursquare, NinthDecimal (formerly JiWire), Verve Mobile, DEXMedia (under RH Donnelley), Zillow, Trulia, White Pages, The Weather Channel, Fannie Mae, eHarmony, among others.

“Through the acquisition we expect to have the ability to accelerate the expansion of coverage and completeness of neighborhood data by combining the content of the two products into one integrated database,” Dan Adams, who joined Maponics in July 2013 as COO and was promoted to CEO in March 2014, told GeoMarketing. “Urban Mapping’s social relevance score and naming, in addition to the international focus of the Urban Mapping product, are great additions to the Maponics portfolio.”

Dan Adams, Maponics CEO
Maponics’ Dan Adams

Greater Demands For Geo-Data

The race to be as the ultimate hyperlocal data supplier comes as other analytic cartographers get turn to meet marketers’ and retailers’ increased demand for location-based advertising, as in the case of geo-analyst, Esri, which began partnering with Millennial Media last year. Esri is also supporting San Francisco startup Mapjam, whose service lets local businesses customize and design their own branded maps.

Maponics can bring clients a wealth of location-specific elements about places around the world. It all starts with the map and drawing definitions and creating a sense of contextual information around geography. That information is then presented in the form of polygons and geo-fences — or, plainly speaking, different shaped boxes that are filled in with shades and raised objects to highlight particular places and structures, such as a hospital, a park, an office tower, a business, or a home.

Maponics’ main product is called Neighborhood Boundaries, which has data on more than 198,637 neighborhoods spanning 81 countries

Under Adams’s tenure, Maponics has worked to embed additional analytics layers across Neighborhood Boundaries. The purchase of Urban Mapping follows the recent launch of Maponics Communities, which is intended “to go beyond traditional boundaries to see and understand the world and the people Maponics’ customers serve more precisely,” according to the company’s product notes.

The acquisition of Urban Mapping’s trademarked brand, products, and database, gives Maponics a decade-old portfolio that covers over 100,000 neighborhood boundaries spanning 40 countries.

“For hyperlocal marketers and agencies, we are making strides to help add priceless insights to marketing campaigns for every location in every market,” Adams said. “The acquisition of the neighborhood data is a piece of our plan to offer increasing coverage and depth of local spatial information.”

In the past year alone, Maponics has “brought to market over 275,000 new residential boundaries, boundaries for every acute care hospital in the US and we will be announcing more products of similar nature in the course of 2015,” Adams said. “We are now releasing ZIP code boundaries every month. Maponics is committed to delivering increasingly detailed information which describe the landscape in which people live, work and socialize with most up-to-date boundaries on the market.”

Urban Mapping's Ian White
Urban Mapping’s Ian White

New Prospects And/Or Partners

Given Urban Mapping’s reputation and long-standing relationships across a number of industries, the brand is something Maponics still sees value in. So at least for the time being, the Urban Mapping name will remain alive, though a visit to its old web address now redirects to Maponics.

“Placing Urban Mapping Neighborhoods within Maponics’ product offering and layering it into their Communities product roadmap is a logical and exciting step,” said a statement from Ian White, who is stepping down as CEO of Urban Mapping. “I know Maponics’ commitment to building Communities data will mean a great enhancement for users of Neighborhood data. As I pursue new business endeavors, I am excited to leave the data in Maponics’ very capable and proven hands.”

News of the acquisition came just a day after two other erstwhile rivals in the geomarketing space came together: on Monday, online business listings manager UBL Interactive agreed to merge with local search specialist agency Advice Interactive Group as the two sought found they could complement their own respective international footprints around their various Digital Presence Management technologies.

That deal was seen as a response to the competitive pressures that have become more heightened in the past two years, as the value of place-based analytics has fueled advertising across mobile, social media, search, and video channels.

This is the first sizable acquisition Maponics has done in some time, Adams said. He declined to say whether any other properties were on the dealbook horizon, Adams said Maponics is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to grow its product portfolio, though the prospect for new strategic partnerships was also an ongoing focus.

“Maponics’ entrance into neighborhood data started with an acquisition in 2007,” Adams said, referring to purchase of online real estate analytics provider HomeGain. “Since then, we have committed to growing the product mainly ourselves, though there has been some smaller datasets purchased and integrated over the years.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.