In this post, we are going to do a more detailed look into the world of "map making tools".
A quick Google search on "the best map making tools", you will find this article https://www.mappr.co/best-map-making-software/.
This is a pretty good list of tools for making custom maps. Out of the few "realistic" custom map makers, these few names came up a lot in my research: Visme, Map Chart, Infogram, Maptive, Scribble Maps, and Mapme.
In addition to these names, there are also a number of other noteworthy names including two older players Batchgeo and Zeemaps, and a relatively new one Atlist.
Whenever I read one of those blog posts on "the best of x", it usually just a list of names with a standard (i.e. non-differentiating) description. Personally, I like to get to the crux of things and pin down product differentiation with just a couple of words.
So, if I were to group these custom map makers, this would be how I understand to be their differences:
1. "Infographics" or "data display" type of map maker
Infogram (the name itself is actually very spot on)
If you are looking for a better way to show your data or stats, these would be the right tools for you.
2. "Data analytics" type of map maker
These two take on a different path and are more designed for analysing location-based information and data which can be very valuable especially when it comes to understanding your market, business planning and decision making.
3. More "an interactive tool" type of map creator
These two are starting to head down the direction of being possible front-end map tools. I must note that I am only grouping these two together because they are the only two who can make go beyond just interactive display of location data, the two products themselves are actually quite different.
4. The "original" custom map maker
These two are probably the OG in custom mapping, especially bulk location mapping. I want to make special mentions because they started in mid-2000's which was quite amazing because Google Maps only launched in Feb 2005 (here is a good video on how far Google Maps has come since then https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvetuLwJIkA&t=38s).
For our purposes, Group 3 is definitely the closest to the problem we are trying to solve. So then how are we different to Mapme and Atlist:
No Code Map App vs Mapme - while Mapme has a section on a range of live examples, they don't actually offer any templates meaning you still need to figure out the design yourself which takes a lot more time. We have a library of tailored designed, ready-to-use templates which means professional quality results right out of the box. You don't need to figure out the right UI for your use-case or industry because we have taken care of it all for you.
No Code Map App vs Atlist - Atlist is very user-friendly, it helps that it is the only tool on this whole list that is built post mid-2010 so it is much more aligned with the latest UX/UI design standards. It is also very reasonably price. However, they haven't shown users what else they could do with Atlist beyond a custom store locator or a map of POI's. It is still new so I am looking forward to what else they will introduce over time.
Besides the lack of templates, Mapme and Atlist both don't allow custom filters which is quite crucial if we want to turn "custom maps" into map "tools".
Now that we have mapped out our "competitive" landscape, we definitely need to deliver what we have promised and carve out our own little domain :)
Until next time.