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Darrin Clement Tells Maponics' Story to Geoweb Forum

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Geoweb Forum, a community platform for pioneers in the emerging geoweb industry, is interested in organizations that connect the digital space to physical location. As a leader in location-based data, Maponics fits right in to this niche. Geoweb Forum recently sat down with Darrin Clement, founder and CEO of Maponics, to talk about what the company brings to the geoweb world. GEOWEB FORUM: What does Maponics do in the geoweb arena? DARRIN: Maponics is a company that, after research, compiles boundary information - so things like neighborhood boundaries, shopping boundaries, college campus boundaries. We use a lot of methods in order to define where those start and stop, and then we compile those into a database and license them out to our customers so that they can build applications ranging from search, to analytics, to display.

 

GEOWEB FORUM: How did the idea for Maponics come to you? DARRIN: I’m very proud of Maponics, but I wouldn’t call it an amazing idea. It wasn’t an epiphany moment that suddenly I figured out how to do something nobody else had ever done before. But it was certainly what I think every entrepreneur has to do, which is, you look around and say, "What are the problems? What are the needs? Do I have the tools to be able to solve it?" GEOWEB FORUM: What types of businesses do you serve? DARRIN: Some of our customers are in the real estate world,  customers like Century 21, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia. We also have a lot of customers in the social/mobile space, companies like Foursquare and Twitter. In the advertising space, companies like JiWire are using our boundaries more as a geofence in order to determine when someone’s crossed it and promote whatever kind of activity - social or advertising - that they want to promote. GEOWEB FORUM: How has the industry changed over the years? DARRIN: When we started in 2001, in direct marketing, there was a gap between what we used to call macro-targeting, which is, "I’m going to mail to everybody in a ZIP Code," and what mailers really wanted, which was, "I want to target specific areas within a neighborhood." They really wanted neighborhoods. In terms of SoLoMoCo [Social/Local/Mobile/Commerce], it's an industry that is continually evolving. Probably about the past three to four years we’ve seen a real uptick on how they’re using location. More than just as a point, more than just tracking the location of the user, more than just tracking POIs - they’re doing more sophisticated analytics that involve the area the person was in. [For more on characteristic data, see our Context™ product page.]

 

GEOWEB FORUM: Which GIS products did you develop first? DARRIN: The first product out of the gate for Maponics was Carrier Route Boundaries [which we developed for the direct mail industry] - dividing a ZIP Code into the individual routes that a postal carrier serves. That’s where we started, and then over time, we got more sophisticated - we started serving different markets. And here we are today. GEOWEB FORUM: When did you start providing geofences? DARRIN: A geofence is just a virtual perimeter. The earliest geofences that I know of were defined by the Census Bureau, things like Census Tracts and Block Groups. So in that sense, geofences are not really new, but as a term and as a use case, it’s come to mean, "a mobile geofence." So, yes, it’s a newer area for us, but it’s really just what we’ve been doing for years. When we defined ZIP Code boundaries and neighborhood boundaries [our earliest products], those were geofences. People just didn’t call them that. GEOWEB FORUM: What's one of your newer products? DARRIN: Pretty much every couple quarters we release a new major product. More recently, we released what we call Destination & Venue Boundaries. These are things like, outlines of airports. When we talk about them, we try to capture access roads, any of the parking areas. Because anytime anyone’s inside the core area of the airport, not just the terminals, they might be interested in some kind of marketing opportunity. Airports, golf courses, major sports stadiums, casinos, ski areas - all these things that represent areas where many people congregate for a day. It may not be where they work, or where they live, but it’s a massive congregation of people. Defining those geofences is very valuable for our customers.

 

Watch Darrin's full interview with Geoweb Forum here.