Allesklar.com, part of Axel Springer, wanted a high-quality mapping technology to support its city information portal. It first deployed Bing Maps instead of Google Maps in 2008 to replace a mapping solution that was no longer state of the art.
It remains loyal to Bing Maps due to the superior quality of images—and components such as Bird’s Eye view, satellite images, panning, and zooming—and the consistent 30 per cent saving achieved in portal processes.
Axel Springer is one of Europe’s leading publishing and integrated multimedia companies, with a broad range of print and digital offerings. The firm’s long-term strategy—to generate greater revenues that are evenly balanced between print and media channels—has
been successful. In 2012, Axel Springer achieved a revenue split of 60.9 per cent from print and 35.5 per cent from digital business. It has around 10,000 employees worldwide with annual revenue of €3 billion (US$3.9 billion) in 2012. Mapping is a key delivery
model for several digital publishing offerings by the Axel Springer Group, including Allesklar.com, which was acquired by Axel Springer in October 2012. Armin Gellweiler, Senior Product Manager at Allesklar.com, says: “We’re one of Germany’s leading Internet
media companies. With the city portal meinestadt.de, we operate the largest portal for all cities and towns in Germany, and are leaders in the area of local search. The content includes information about jobs, events, and cinemas, providing users with phone
numbers and addresses as well as advertisements for motor vehicles, real estate, and contacts for everyday life.”
Underlying the business strategy for Allesklar.com is the need for high-quality map and routing services for customers, who make 2 million visits to the website a month, sampling 10 to 15 million pages. Gellweiler says: “Our objectives include increasing
page views and visits, which are the main values for Internet-based publishing services. We needed a mapping solution that would reduce our costs and boost IT efficiency by using a high-resolution standardised mapping service.”
In 2008, Allesklar.com—then under different ownership—chose Bing Maps over Google Maps as the mapping technology for the meinestadt.de city portal. The company has remained with Bing Maps because of its confidence in the Microsoft roadmap to develop the
Gellweiler says: “Price was a factor in choosing Bing Maps instead of Google Maps, but the main consideration was quality. Bing Maps has dramatically improved the clarity and accuracy of its aerial mapping data and we don’t have to pay more for better images.
Bing Maps upgraded images are clearer and easier to understand. I can see greater detail on Bing Maps compared with Google Maps.”
Focused on local services, maps are essential for the meinestadt.de city portal in Germany. Gellweiler says: “Displaying information on maps is one of our core features. But it’s not just about points of interest. The background services such as autocompletion
or geocoding in both directions—getting an address from coordinates or getting coordinates from an address—are important to our product.”
The technical challenge in deploying Bing Maps involved separating the mapping services—such as zooming and panning—from the company’s access and business logic layers. Gellweiler says: “We use more than 30 million points of interest located in Germany in
different use cases, so we had to find a solution to categorise and arrange all this data. The second issue was finding an algorithm for clustering points of interest, for which a solution is under review.”
Performance and availability are the principal benefits of Bing Maps for the meinestadt.de city portal, resulting in a saving of 30 per cent in portal processes. The ease of use and integration with other Microsoft technologies mean that Allesklar.com has
no need to worry about map service performance or quality. The company profits from the Microsoft commitment to the roadmap for Bing Maps and cost-effective pricing results in predictable operating expenditure.
Allesklar.com saves 30 per cent on portal processes with Bing Maps. Gellweiler says: “With Bing Maps, we have no need to worry about map server performance or map quality. That means staff can focus on managing our data, which has helped
us save 30 per cent on our portal processes.”
Microsoft commitment to Bing Maps results in constant upgrades. Gellweiler adds: “We also benefit from Bird’s Eye view or three-dimensional models with Bing Maps at no extra cost. These features give a better user experience and more coverage.”
Bing Maps offers value for money for a competitive mapping solution. Gellweiler says: “We value the cost-effective pricing of Bing Maps. With predictable expenditure, we can more accurately plan our budget over the next two years.”
Microsoft technologies integrate easily. Allesklar.com is taking full advantage of the easy integration between Bing Maps and other Microsoft technologies. Gellweiler says: “We’re benefiting from maps, satellite images,
Bird’s Eye view, panning, and zooming in Bing Maps.”
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