GeoSYS: developing a location-based community map for a bustling Malta
Created in 2011, GeoSYS is a Maltese SME specialised in geospatial technology solutions for a variety of applications such as finding route emergency vehicles, promising new sites for companies, target markets for commerce, urban and land planning, studying behavioural habits of wildlife species, locating outages for utilities, and many others. GeoSYSis the ESRI – an international supplier of Geographic Information System (GIS) software – distributor in Malta, and a leader in GIS in the country, delivering data, applications and integrated WebGIS systems.
In an ever more connected world, mobile users today depend on their smartphones to make their lives easier — whether to look for the nearest coffee shop, to attend an event, or to discovering the best deal from a nearby retailer. But this information is not easily centralised. GeoSYS was therefore looking for a way to provide Maltese inhabitants with precise information on what is happening next to them by employing their know-how in gathering and making visible large amounts of data and information.
The satellite solution
Mappa, a geoinformation portal, was first launched in 2013, freely available to all online. By selecting different options, the inhabitants can access updated maps on retail and entertainment, weather forecast, but also geology and census demographics.
Additionally, Mappa has a mobile extension since 2014: Mappa Mobile. While most of themes from the web platform are available in the app, Mappa Mobile also operates as a crowdsourcing tool for traffic hotspots and jellyfish forecast. Citizens can share updates on traffic jams or the state of beaches in real-time by tagging their position in the app.
Mappa Mobile also uses geo-fencing solutions, coupling location-based information for both user and places of interest. This feature enables retailers to send ads on potential customers’ phone, when they are near their shop.
During the Maltese elections of 2013, the national newspaper The Times of Malta, in partnership with GeoSys, used the Mappa platform to display the voting results in real-time. This resulted in 80 000 hits on the Mappa portal in three days.
In the future, Mappa will include additional features to further engage its users. From civil society initiatives to raising awareness on matters of public concern, GeoSys aims to better connect citizens with governmental institutions in real time.
“Coupled with crowdsourcing and location, the mobile becomes an effective tool for a two way dialogue between users and data providers, resulting in a constantly updated scenario, a unique situation” Tim Camilleri, GeoSYS CEO