Mapspread.com is a custom online professional mapping service. Users can import data from spreadsheets and common mapping formats to build custom maps. Data is imported in layers, and each layer has different markers on the map. Data can be in the form of street addresses and zip codes, and the application will calculate the latitude and longitude and place the markers in the correct places. Users can collaborate on maps, with admin control over which layers a given user can access. Each user can work on a different layer of the map and then the layers can be combined at publishing time. The site provides a custom chat application so that users can discuss the mapping while the project is in progress.
At publication time, the text shown with the map is fully customizable using a RTF (Rich Text Format) file, and the layers to be published can be specified. Markers are chosen for each layer at publication, and the user has full control over the controls shown on the map. Users can work with the mapping data at any time in spreadsheet form, and publish changes and updates to the map. Once a map is published, it can be embedded on any website, blog, forum, etc. and the Mapspread site takes care of hosting.
Mapspread.com was created by Quebec-based Poly9 Group. Poly9 group was founded in August 2005 by Denis Laprise.
Competition to Mapspread.com comes from sites such as Google Maps and Mapquest. Both of these sites offer their API for use on websites, but neither provides the flexibility in adding data offered by Mapspread. Mapspread’s layering capability makes it easier to show a variety of locations on one map. On the other hand, Google Maps and Mapquest offer features such as driving directions, walking directions and satellite view.
The application is entirely browser-based, and the user interface is quite intuitive. The site is very responsive, and uploading spreadsheet data is a simple task. The tools provided for constructing maps work quite well, and the map-making process has a smooth workflow. Embedding the maps on websites and blogs is easy – just copy and paste the code for the map. There is no advertising displayed on the Mapspread.com site.
Registration to the Mapspread.com site is free and is required to use the mapping application. The registration process asks for organization name, first and last name, email address and password. Validation of the email address is required.
The site is still in public beta, and is free throughout the beta period. Planned pricing after the beta period is complete was not available.
The Mapspread site is recommended to any individual or company who has a need to construct a map with a variety of locations shown on it. The ability to import the data in spreadsheet format is very useful, and the concept of working with layers makes it easy to show different types of locations with different symbols. The application is very easy to use and should pose no problems for the average computer user.