Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Louisville Courier-Journal Writes First Full Article About Metro Mapper

Louisville's newspaper, the Courier-Journal, wrote their first full article about Metro Mapper on the front page of the Business section. It's a great distillation of about three hours of interview with the reporter, Bill Wolfe.

It's great to finally get some local coverage for the site. The first map launched over 2 years ago, and the site officially launched a year ago. No news coverage, except for some excellent local blogs (Forge Louisville and Consuming Louisville), until now. I think I got coverage because of doing something outside of Louisville, namely the NetSquared contest.

I talked to a local friend of mine who said the same thing about his company: 2 years of great stuff, no coverage, one national blurb, then the C-J covers it, then after that Leo and other smaller news outlets and TV.

It's great that the Courier (at least anecdotally) seems to cover a good local company first, but strange that other publications wait for that to happen.

Anyway, Metro Mapper is grateful for the coverage and hope there will be more to report in the future! Thanks Bill!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Google Shows Historic Traffic on Maps

Google just added the ability to look at typical traffic on a particular day and time, in addition to live traffic. It's really an incredible feature. You can zoom into the city you want to look at, then choose any day of the week, and any time from 5am to 9pm to see what the historic traffic pattern has been.

Here's an animated image I put together that shows the traffic around Louisville for a typical Wednesday:

It's like magic!

Looks like traffic delays start around 6:30am, clear up, then there are issues from lunch till about 6:30pm, at which point it clears up. Try it out for yourself!

Twitter and the Illinois Earthquake - Local Louisville Reports

It’s interesting the progression of how news and information got out right after the earthquake.

Twitter users were first to have confirmed details and links, even beating the blogs.

Blogs came next, some with concrete details even before local news stations would confirm it.

Radio seemed to have confirmed things next, notably NPR and WAMZ.

Local TV stations were next, confirming the quake and then showing images from links that bloggers and Twitter users posted 30 minutes prior.

National stations were last to pick it up. CNN even showed a map of the epicenter about the “Illinois Earthquake,” but then showed it alongside video footage of the fallen bricks at 309 W Kentucky St in Louisville, KY.

Of course live TV and radio showed the earthquake first, but it’s odd that it took so long to confirm it, considering that info is made available in real-time on the USGS website.

At the risk of being Spammy, here's some highlights from my own Twitter Stream for all to peruse. In order from oldest to newest.

Todd Earwood - @saftetyguy1656 I was thinking earthquake too - from web

Patrickometry - Just experienced a slight earthquake in Shepherdsville, Kentucky?!? .. we are on the New Madrid Fault!! local news also reporting same. - from twhirl

Thomas - @earwood What the hell was that? Just woke up everybody in the house. Creepy. My first thought was earthquake as well. - from web in reply to tlosbo

Todd Earwood - @tlosbo I can't find anywhere online that confirms it, but it woke us up too - from web in reply to tlosbo

Metro Mapper - Earthquake!! About 10 minutes ago. - from ThinCloud

JasonFalls - @tlosbo @earwood Yeah, I'm thinking an earthquake just hit. My whole house was chattering. - from web in reply to tlosbo

Todd Earwood - WHAS TV says it's an earthquake - from web

JasonFalls - @metromapper Is that an earthquake confirmation? - from im in reply to metromapper

JasonFalls - @MikeG1 And @earwood says local ABC affilate is reporting it. - from im in reply to MikeG1

Todd Earwood - WAVE3 said it was felt further North from us, everyone ok? - from web

Todd Earwood - AP from Indy confirmed it's an earthquake. Holy cow WAVE3 just rolled footage of the camera and lights shaking - from web

Metro Mapper - Looks like about a 5.4 earthquake at 5:37 EST http://tinyurl.com/yubuxx - from Netvibes

JasonFalls - Here's a map - http://tinyurl.com/yubuxx (thanks @metromapper) - from im

Todd Earwood - @davejohnston yes, there are 8+ of us awake in Louisville, KY and AP confirmed it's an earthquake - from web in reply to davejohnston

JasonFalls - @metromapper says 5.4 earthquake at 5:37 a.m. ET - from im in reply to metromapper

Todd Earwood - @davejohnston retweet from @metromapper Looks like about a 5.4 earthquake at 5:37 EST http://tinyurl.com/yubuxx - from web in reply to davejohnston

Todd Earwood - @toddand did you feel that too? We did in Louisville, KY. A 5.4 earthquake at 5:37 EST http://tinyurl.com/yubuxx - from web in reply to toddand

Metro Mapper - Exact location of earthquake on a map: http://snurl.com/24v3u - from Netvibes

Todd Earwood - @tannerhobin yep, we felt it in Louisville, KY Looks like about a 5.4 earthquake at 5:37 EST http://tinyurl.com/yubuxx - from web in reply to TannerHobin

Todd Earwood - @sheigl yes. check this out from @metromapper A 5.4 earthquake at 5:37 EST http://tinyurl.com/yubuxx - from web in reply to sheigl

JasonFalls - @toddand http://tinyurl.com/yubuxx 5.4 - from im in reply to toddand

Todd Earwood - man, if there ever was a time for TwitterLocal it's now. Man, there are a lot of people on here locally - from web

JasonFalls - I"m watching CNN.com to see when they actually have it. Almost 30 minutes now and nothing. - from im

JasonFalls - For those just logging on after 6 a.m. wake ups, a 5.4 earthquake between Louisville and St. Louis. No news covering it online yet. Twit ... ... - from im

JasonFalls - Again, the map from the USGS (thanks @metromapper) http://tinyurl.com/yubuxx - from im

Ben Thomas - I'm loving the twitter coverage. - from twitterrific

Joe Hayden, Realtor - @earwood Interesting possibilities for emergency preparedness / disaster coordination w/Twitter. - from web in reply to JoeHayden

Metro Mapper - Mark your location and earthquake description on this map! http://snurl.com/24v5j Pass it around. - from Netvibes

JasonFalls - Stat map from self-reporters (thanks @Finucane) #earthquake http://tinyurl.com/58s38c - from im

JasonFalls - Approximately 40 minutes after #earthquake, CNN.com still nothing. - from im

Ben Thomas - @jasonfalls NPR has had some coverage. - from twitterrific

Ben Thomas - 309 W. Kentucky, partial building collapse. - from twitterrific

JasonFalls - CNN.com's banner - "An earthquake of magnitude 5.4 rattles Illinois" - no links. Way to be, journalists! Heh. - from im

Ben Thomas - 309 W. Kentucky, not a collapse but debris fell onto street. - from twitterrific

Metro Mapper - Blog post about #earthquake http://tinyurl.com/5owpes - from Netvibes

Metro Mapper - From @bdthomas "309 W. Kentucky, not a collapse but debris fell onto street." Added to map: http://snurl.com/24v5j - from Netvibes

Metro Mapper - Some Louisville #earthquake Reports by ZIP: http://tinyurl.com/5nu6vy - from Netvibes

JasonFalls - Before I go. Need to publicly out CNN. Their story says "updated 24 minutes ago" at 6:45 a.m. Bullshit. See my Twitter stream. Now they' ... ... - from im

Todd Earwood - local client just called me geeky for turning to Twitter for earthquake info. I tried to explain how it beat the TV station - from web

Earthquake Map - Mapping the Illinois Earthquake from Louisville Kentucky

At around 5:37am EST Louisville Kentucky was hit by a mild earthquake, a 5.4, with the epicenter about 117 miles west of Louisville in Illinois.

Here's a map of the location, which you can contribute to. Do a search for your address, add a marker, and type a description of what it was like for you!

Metro Mapper Collaborative Map

Official USGS map

USGS Full Details

Report your experience to USGS

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Louisville PVA Uses Metro Mapper for Their First Featured Link

The Louisville PVA (Property Valuation Administrator) has put Metro Mapper on its homepage as the first Featured Link. The site gets millions of hits per month and will increase Metro Mapper's exposure in Kentucky and the Jefferson County area. Scroll down to see it.


Their site is run by Leap Frog Interactive and the current PVA is Tony Lindauer. Thanks Tony!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Twitter's Impact on the NetSquared Contest - $5 Well Spent

I believe that Twitter played a significant role in my success in NetSquared's mashup contest. For the uninitiated, Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows you to send out short messages to whoever wants to hear them. People the follow Metro Mapper on Twitter get updates on what I am doing on a professional and personal level, and have access to links and ideas that don't make it into this blog.

One way I got the word out about the contest was by using Twitter to post lots of announcements about the voting. And people who followed me on Twitter posted about the contest, which got their own group of users on the case.

NetSquared has not released the voting numbers, but based on the difficulty of the voting process, I wouldn't be surprised if I won with less than 200 votes total. Twitter is likely a large percentage of that number.

But the tipping point might have been Jason Fall's 2000th tweet about voting for Metro Mapper in the contest. He jokingly proposed pimping out his 2000th tweet for $5, and I took him up on the experiment!

Here's a list of all the ways I got the word out about the contest. Each method got some number of eyes on the contest, and each propagated the word, somewhat virally, to people outside of the initial contact method.

Email, Phone, or In Person:
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Colleagues

Fully Digital Announcements:

And, the only paid form of getting the word out, $5 to Jason Falls for his 2000th Tweet:
  • Jason Fall's Twitter followers

Since Jason had about 700 followers, even if a only a small percentage voted, it would have made a big difference. He posted a detailed blog entry about the process, and sparked a great debate on the monetization of Twitter and the potential for paid advertising and sponsorship.

Thanks to the Twitter community for helping out Metro Mapper.

If you followed Jason or I on Twitter, and voted, please leave a short comment here so I can track and thank you. Jason's post generated a number of great comments.

I've also posted this same article on my NetSquared Project Blog so other projects can see the impact of Twitter and other ways I got the word out.

Monday, April 07, 2008

New Customer: Joe Hayden, Realtor

Joe Hayden just launched one of our free embedded maps in his real estate site. He's starting of with the restaurant map as a service to his visitors, generating site traffic and interest, and he set it all up himself using our online toolset.

Joe's Restaurant Map

Joe's been doing some terrific things on the internet, improving his current site, and creating a well thought out and informative companion blog. He also has a good handle on the power of a good blog, rss feeds, relevant keywords and SEO, and a great MLS search tool, not to mention terrific knowledge of real estate and the market!

Joe has had a number of great suggestions for Metro Mapper's embedded map service, and we are looking into implementing them. He also has an interesting career background, from flying planes to recording engineer on everything from George Jones to the Muppets!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Metro Mapper Turns Two

Happy Birthday to Metro Mapper! We've been live for 2 years now, after launching on March 30, 2006. Here's a link back to some of our first posts after the launch:


We've come a long way since those days, and I hope this year brings about all the big changes and expansion that everyone is looking forward to since we won the NetSquared contest.

Looks like another Louisville startup has a birthday too, Consuming Louisville. Happy Birthday!