There’s a story, possibly apocryphal, that goes like this: When one of Albert Einstein’s colleagues asked the eminent physicist for his telephone number one day, Einstein reached for a telephone directory.
“You don’t remember your own number?” the man asked, understandably startled.
“No,” Einstein replied with a shrug. “Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book?”
Today, I think Einstein would say, “Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a phone?”
Location is something important you can get from your phone; most small business owners want customers to have that critical bit of information. If you want to map your retail locations, or provide driving directions for your restaurant, or embed a Google map on your website, the little-known, but super-useful BatchGeo is a site you’ll want to check out.
In about five minutes, I created this cool sample map highlighting some of the Small Business Trends contributors, based on their Twitter profile location. You can see the full size, Google-powered map here.
You can reportedly do some of these same things in Google Maps, but they are not as easy to do. BatchGeo makes it easy, and even kind of fun. Some of the uses that I’ve seen for BatchGeo include mapping real estate properties (agents and brokers), coordinating with mobile workers by sending map links to field crews, showing a distance calculator from prominent locations to a specific store (probably useful for tourist towns), and mapping out sales territories by rep. The Seattle Times published a Holiday Lights 2010 feature using BatchGeo; see the map here. Finally, you can create an interactive store locator, so that when your customer uses a smartphone (which knows its own location), they will be given the nearest store location to them.
Here are a few more cool ways to use BatchGeo:
- Create an interactive map – Copy directly from a spreadsheet app like Excel, Numbers or the free Google Docs or OpenOffice Calc.
- Driving directions – Mapped addresses are linked to Google Maps for satellite photos and driving directions.
- Easily map an address list, postal/ZIP codes, cities or any geography.
- Save a map – Create a map with your locations and associated data to save to a Web page for later use.
- Create a mobile optimized store locator - Map your store properties, and then link to them from your website.
- Visualize many address data points plotted on a single map, separated into groups by color.
One of the sweetest things about this service is you can take your data from any spreadsheet, dump it into BatchGeo and it will do the heavy lifting for you. You just cut and paste your table into their entry form, and within minutes you have a map that you can embed, share or just marvel at. BatchGeo also has a big brother called Maptive, which is a premium professional level service that may fit your needs better. Find it on their home page.
Overall, I found this tool to be easy to use and practical. With more and more opportunity to market your business via Google Maps and other location-based services, having a robust map of your stores or locations, or using maps to understand your customer base for geographic targeting, BatchGeo is worth a look.
Learn more about BatchGeo.