bigmaps-logoReliance ADA Group company BIGMaps, which is yet to open doors to its online interface, has launched a facebook app and opened access to its mobile interface beyond RCOM. (via anonymous tip-off )

BIGMaps is the ADA Groups most important digital initiatives yet: it’s a backbone play that will provide significant locational context across BIG Entertainment and Reliance Communications. BIGAdda should have played a similar role, providing a behavioral and personalization context.

BIGMaps on Mobile: Directions, Movies

The BIGMaps interface available on the mobile at http://m.bigmaps.com is without maps. It has a search interface, giving access to data from Bangalore, Delhi, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Mysore, Panaji, Pune, Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad as key locations. The All India data disappoints: I didn’t get a result for the Ice Skating Rink in Shimla, nor did I get alternate suggestions, while it worked well with Google Maps. I also tried directions between two specific addresses in Delhi as well, and that didn’t yield a result either, nor were there any useful suggestions, though the addresses were accurate.

The movie search for Delhi worked well: a search for Kurbaan, CP yielded the right results. However, a change in the spelling, and it didn’t quite work out: on searching for Kurban, CP, I was offered Kundan as an alternate suggestion. Search is key for BIGMaps

BIGMaps on Facebook

On BIGMaps on Facebook, zooming into the area where I stay, I was shocked at the level of detail available: My house is clearly demarcated, and the names of the owners of each block are clearly visible and searchable on BIGMaps. At some level, too much detail is dangerous: At what point does this become invasion of privacy? In the image below, the name of the person staying in the area is correct, though the location is off by about 10 meters.

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For some locations, while BIGMaps appears to have significantly more detail that Google Maps (3D modelling of structures, and building names on mouse-over) it just isn’t showcasing it well enough. The problem for BIGMaps is that the level of detail is only visible when one explores further, but there isn’t much incentive to explore further. On the initial zoomed-out first look, the map looks rather bland, and there’s little or no indication of the level of detail. The problem is that once you’re put off by a particular maps product, it’s unlikely that you’ll go back to it when there are competitive products in the market. That happened to me in case of Nokia Maps, in comparison with Google Maps.

In comparison, Google Maps, at least for Delhi, looks a lot more detailed and welcoming, and the recent integration of Wikipedia, shared favorites (helps identify places worth visiting in a city) have made it much for useful, particularly while travelling. The metro train lines are even marked out according to official colors (example: Red for the Red Metro Line)

BIGMaps is competing with both MapMyIndia, NAVTEQ/Nokia, Google, SatNav, among others.

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