Maporama International’s Dominique Grillet on the Company’s Products, Alliances and Strategy

By Luc Vaillancourt

Ed. note: This article originally appeared in Directions Magazine français and was translated from French into English.

Maporama International, a Paris-based company, has recently issued important announcements involving some of the geospatial industry's major players. During a recent interview with Directions Magazine français (DMF), Maporama International's CEO, Dominique Grillet, gave us some insights on his company, its development strategy and its recent alliances.

Maporama's CEO, Dominique Grillet
Listed on the Paris Euronext Free Market since 2005, Maporama was founded in 2000. The company defines itself as "a global player in the geocentric localization services market. Its hosted (ASP) services include store locator, fleet management and GPS navigation services, as well as an API integration and development platform."

In France, Maporama is well known for its website aimed at the general public. Anyone who visits this website, which is available in more than 25 languages, can instantly notice the broad mapping and routing services for international use. Moreover, for the Paris area, visitors can obtain traffic information.

The website allows you to access more than 635,000 cities around the world and provides street level details for hundreds of thousands of cities in more than 50 countries. Maporama's solutions rely on geospatial data from more than 30 providers such as NAVTEQ and Tele Atlas and, for Canada, DMTI Spatial.
Although Maporama has a highly recognized brand name among the users of the site, the revenue from advertisers only accounts for 5% of the company's business. While the website represents a typical B2C (business to consumer) activity, which is and has always been a good promotion tool and technological showcase, Maporama makes 95% of its revenue with the services it offers directly to businesses and organizations.

"As a B2B2C, which means that our main offer consists of helping other organizations to better serve their clients, Maporama can somewhat be viewed as a backstage player. People do not realize that Maporama is used, for example, at L'Oréal or Renault," said Grillet. Maporama does offer a few ready-to-use applications, ready to be deployed and integrated in the client's environment. A good example is the Maporama Intelligent Dealer Locator, which offers all the necessary functionalities (geocoding, map displaying, routing) for users (clients, partners and employees) to locate service locations and points of sales.

But by making its ASP (Application Service Provider) technological platform, called Maporama Geocentric Services Framework (MGSF), available to its clients, Maporama really proves its know-how. The use of Web services and the MGSF API allows the integration of location-based capabilities in the client's website (self-service mode), or in Intranet/Internet corporate applications.

Maporama Geocentric Services Framework (MGSF) technological platform.
Maporama Geocentric Services Framework (MGSF) technological platform
The platform's success and performance are guaranteed by:
  1. Map creation, geocoding and routing engines
  2. Cartographic content and location/positioning information management tools
  3. Access to multiple well-documented Web services, based on the standard approach of SOAP/XML
  4. Administration and activity monitoring tools
  5. Result production and dissemination on different terminals (PC, mobile phones, PDA, MP3)
  6. A robust hosting, security and Internet access infrastructure
This one-stop approach for aspects such as content, technology and services is truly appreciated by Maporama's clients.

Maporama and Microsoft
Last June, Maporama announced that its clients could now take advantage of the possibilities and innovations offered by Microsoft Virtual Earth's platform, through its Web services solutions. This agreement allows Maporama to speed up and improve its visualization capabilities by integrating value added data such as satellite and aerial imagery, bird's-eye view and 3D. This agreement marks a new era for the French company. "The demand for multidimensional visualization is continuously growing. By integrating the Maporama platform (MGSF) and the Virtual Earth platform in a completely transparent way, our users will benefit from a richer experience," said Grillet.

Maporama and ESRI
On October 15, 2007, Maporama announced a second important partnership, this time with ESRI France and its subsidiary, Cartosphere. This partnership allows Cartosphere to offer its wide range of cartographic content in a Web services approach to ESRI France customers. In this context, Maporama brings its ASP experience and know-how in terms of hosting and managing a highly available Web services platform.

According to Grillet, this co-edited offer provides more affordable access to Cartosphere data to agencies and local communities while maximizing their investment in ESRI GIS technologies.

These Web services are offered using two different types of content access and billing. In the first, the user purchases a certain number of hits, and a meter counts each access until the account has a zero balance. The second, better suited to the needs of government agencies and local governments, provides unlimited content consultation for a given number of users.

Maporama and North America
With a client base established in more than 20 countries, Maporama makes more than 70% of its sales revenue outside France. Presently, 20% of its international sales are realized in North America.

Maporama announced on October 30th the establishment of a sales representation agreement in the North American market with Tellus International. "Maporama will intensify its activities in North America, in order to increase its market share. To do so, we rely on Tellus's know-how and perfect knowledge of the actors and the North American control levers of growth," said Grillet.

"Tellus's mission will be to boost Maporama's commercial capabilities by marketing directly our mobility offer and Maporama Geocentric Services Framework on American and Canadian markets," declared Grillet. Tellus is an American company which has a presence in Canada and the U.S. Tellus specializes in market development and commercialization of software solutions.

Actually, 15% of Maporama's business is generated by value-added resellers (VARs), but the company is taking actions to gradually increase its sales through a network of business partners.

Published Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Written by Luc Vaillancourt

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