Friday, November 06, 2009

Short Map Service

Short Map Service

Onze Technologies CEO Sudarshan (left) with his teammates.

Sharan PoovannaFirst Published : 06 Nov 2009 07:15:35 AM ISTLast Updated : 06 Nov 2009 11:45:02 AM IST
BANGALORE: How easy is it to lose yourself in Bangalore, and we don't mean just metophorically. The city has changed and continues to change as you are reading this article. Commuting poses a big challenge. One ways, metro construction, digging for no apparent reason, autos with camoflouged mechanical meters posing as digital ones out to dupe you make travelling difficult.
But now, you can avoid all this with a simple SMS.
Surprised? A team of four IT professionals started a company in 2007, ONZE Technologies, that helps commuters with accurate directions from point to point with their service called Latlong (latitude-longitude).
With new features like automatic language correction, ‘tag your business ’, feedback options, and continuous updates, the technology seems to feel the pulse and reputation of the tech savvy Bangalorean.
Just send an SMS to 9008890088 with your current location and the destination and instantly there is a reply with the exact distance, approximate auto fares (if there is anything that fits the term’appropriate’ when it comes to auto meters), and the best route to get there. If you still find yourself lost, then reply with the numeral 1 and another message gives landmark information whether on the right or left and also tells you which turn to take. All this can be done on your ordinary mobile phone.
In an interview, Sudarshan, CEO and co-founder of the company, said that this was a fullfledged industry in the western world called Location Based Service (LBS). He said that “People in India were quite comfortable asking others on the road for directions, but now with the changing times and a huge migrating population, not too many know exact directions”.
He added that this technology is city specific and is constantly updated to make sure the one ways and other random digging that the authorities undertake,can be avoided. The staff are constantly on the run to make sure that they have the right information to provide almost accurate directions, he said. The company relies on many sources of information which includes traffic police, BBMP, media sources and the local population and implies survey and other data gathering techniques.
With state-of-the-art technology in place and and a server based in the USA, rest assured your number will not be divulged to advertisers and others, he said. The landmarks are based on visibilty, popularity and the side of the road it is on. If you are familiar with the local bakery or hotel, then that could be the landmark given to you in the directions, he added.
Now one may wonder the price we pay for this service.
The answer is that we pay our local SMS rates with no additional cost. The company has struck deals with mobile phone service providers to ensure that the customers are not charged anything extra for this service.
The company that currently serves Bangalore and Chennai, hopes to serve other cities soon.
● Automatic language correction: Even if you type the destination name incorrectly, the service will give you proper directions
● Tag your business: If you want your business to show on someone’s map, Latlong gives you the facility


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