When we started No Code Map App, the most common reaction I got from people was "doesn't Google do that?".
Yes, you can create custom interactive maps with Google, but you would need a developer because you need to build those custom maps with Google Map API. In fact, what we are using Google API's to build our tool (the templates and the builder). Mapbox is also used by developers and designers to build custom interactive maps. This is where no code comes in - no code means no developer is needed.
On the point of Google Maps, I also want to use this blog post to discuss content mapping - the segment we are trying to address and betting on with No Code Map App. What is "content mapping"? How is it differentiated from Google Maps?
First, a little history on Google Maps. I actually found this very interested Acquired episode that talked about the history of Google Maps, starting from "the series of three 2004 Google acquisitions that formed the core of the Google Maps we know and love today: Where 2 Technologies, Keyhole and ZipDash." Google Maps first launched in Feb 2005. From then, it just kept on getting better and better - more comprehensive and more accurate. I still remember when I built the first demo of my trip planning app back in 2016, Ritz in Tokyo was not on the Google - crazy right?
So here comes the differentiation - what Google Maps did and did amazingly is data mapping - i.e. raw information on locations and geographies, and what we want to do is content mapping - i.e. a curated set of locations on a given topic, geography or business interest, e.g. restaurant listings, real estate search, historical timeline etc.
We believe now that we have accurate and comprehensive mapping data and infrastructure, thanks to Google, it is time take this powerful technology to beyond just finding A or getting from A to B. It is time we enable create and commercial content mapping.
As it has been with every major technological development, it always starts with the more technical applications, then the well-resourced businesses, and lastly the mass market. Once it goes into mass market, that is when it really explodes.
We saw this with telephone, internet, computer, airplane and many many others. We believe we will see the same with mapping. Because content mapping involves a set of locations, there is essentially an infinite number of combinations and permutations of locations we can map. We can finally elevate mapping technology from raw data to human creativity.
It took Google Maps a solid 10 years to get us a really robust foundation and now it makes US$4-5bn in revenue. At the same time, we also saw the growth in GIS software like Esri (which makes over US$1bn in annual revenue); and navigation and geolocation software like TomTom and HERE with a combined annual revenue close to US$1bn. These software are predominately targeting large enterprises and technical use-cases.
On a consumer level, with the likes of Airbnb and Zillow, adoption of mapping technology is no longer a foreign concept. Imagine both of them without their map view and what would happen to their user engagement and conversion rate. The only way for mapping technology to really go mass market is with no code, and not just any no code builder but a really state-of-the-art, intelligent platform that can create agency-quality custom maps comparable to those you see on large company websites.
We are only a few days until our MVP release, so it is getting very exciting!
Until next time.