Interview: Multimap’s Sean Phelan on the Company’s Latest API Release

By Directions Staff

Directions Magazine asked questions of Sean Phelan, founder of Multimap, about the company's latest version of its API.

Directions Magazine (DM): In Multimap's May 2 press release, you make the claim that "The Multimap API v. 1.2 breaks new ground in bringing together searching, routing, mapping, geocoding, and Points of Interest (POI) data and imagery into a single one-stop service." Can you address exactly what's new in this version, and specifically describe the "new ground"?

Sean Phelan (SP):
Multimap's API v. 1.2 introduced comprehensive support for routing, spatial searching and local information, as well as major enhancements to our existing mapping and geocoding functionality.

The Multimap API gives developers access to all our "best-of-breed" mapping and location services, and highly interactive end-user functionality including maps that are fully draggable, enabling users to navigate maps without waiting for their page to refresh. The functionality enhances both the user experience and the appearance of customers' sites.

DM: What's the business model for the API? How do you make money with it?

The Multimap API is available for free trial, and is backed up by our customer support to help customers build their solutions, even during this trial period. Once a customer decides to make his solution available, the Multimap API is available at a very competitive price that we believe offers genuine value.

We very much welcome the arrival of free APIs to the world of location. They have helped raise awareness of the business that we have all been a part of, and rekindled people's interest in mapping. Rather than lose business to the free APIs, Multimap has actually benefited.

DM: What kinds of organizations are accessing the service and what kinds of apps are being built?

There's a real variety of customers using our technology around the world. Multimap has always been very strong in retail, property, travel, automotive, directories and local government sectors, and these organizations are building some highly innovative solutions such as store locators and property finders. There are also some fascinating solutions that we never imagined our technology would be used for, such as a hand-held traffic incident system for the police force in Malaysia, and an exciting community-based local history project we're involved with in Great Britain.

DM: Is Multimap providing the service of creating applications using the API?

Absolutely. Many customers use our Professional Services team either as an alternative to, or a complement to, their existing development teams. We've been proud to be involved in some very high profile projects, such as the mapping services on, and our continuing relationship with clients such as these illustrates the high regard with which we are held.

DM: You're also offering services based on Microsoft's MapPoint Web Service. (From the Multimap site: "The MapPoint services complement Multimap's own services, and provide customers who are already working with MapPoint with a straightforward path to integrating Microsoft's mapping with Multimap's industry-leading customer service and support.") How does that work out with offering your API?

A fundamental part of the Multimap philosophy is that the solution must always come first, and the technology comes after. This agnostic approach is an important part of how we put our products together, combining best-of-breed services from partners such as Microsoft with Multimap's own technology. This approach allows us to source content and functionality that are appropriate to customer requirements, and make the solution available to customers through a single, integrated API.

Published Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Written by Directions Staff

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