When we set out to start Proxi (formerly Map Your Idea), we wanted to provide users with a quick way to set up a crowdsourced map. There are a few other products out there, but we think ours is better for a variety of use cases. This blog outlines things you might want to consider when you are picking the right crowdsourcing map software for you.
Google My Maps
Google My Maps is undeniably the most popular custom map software out there. It is free and easy to integrate into your existing website. Though it is easy to use for map viewers, it can lead to hours of headaches for map admins. To use it as a crowdsourcing software, admins must use a combination of Google Forms, Google Sheets, and Google Maps to import locations. Additionally, there is no such way to automatically update the map when a new submission has been added, or do address verification within the Google Forms interface. Google My Maps is better for static maps that will rarely be updated and when you are doing mapping in a well-mapped area or country.
Mapme is a powerful software to make custom maps. Though crowdsourced mapping isn't their main offering, they do offer the capability via an integration with Google Sheets. Similar to Map Your Idea, they offer advanced customizability and allow for attaching large files to map points. Map Me is great for enterprise-level maps, advanced customization, and personalized support. The downside is that MyMaps is not as quick to set up as Map Your Idea, is a paid service, and the number of options may be overwhelming to users who are trying to move fast.
Proxi is focused on crowdsourcing and speed. Proxi is ideal for quick map setup, admin ease of use, constantly changing maps (like people adding resources quickly or food trucks that are in a different location every day). Here are a few of our differentiating features:
Map Admins can:
- Monitor and edit anything map-related on one page; no switching between Google Sheets and browser, etc.
- Create their custom map in less than three minutes and start collecting points immediately
- Create and edit map point categories as needed
- View all map points both on the map and in list form
- Enable the option to approve map points before displaying them publicly
- Embed the map into their website with an iFrame or share the direct link with your friends and fans.
Map Contributors can:
- Add a point quickly and simply; no account creation is needed.
- Edit their point as needed by associating their email address with a point.
- See their point appear on the map in a few seconds, if approval is turned off.
- Map points are very digestible via our visually appealing user interface
Map Points are:
- Dynamic: Points appear automatically and can appear and disappear based on user-specified dates.
- Verified: We do address verification upon submittal, relieving admins of this hassle.
- Latitude and Longitude Based: Users can double click on an area of the map to add a point, even if it is not mapped by Google. A use case might be tagging a spot for potential infrastructure improvements, like a pothole, or even for a use case like marking a bird sighting
We hope this blog helps decide what is best for your use case. Because Map Your Idea is quick and easy to use, we encourage you to go ahead and Make a Map (it takes less than three minutes!) and see if it will work for you! If you’re already on Google My Maps, don't worry! We make it quick and easy to transfer your existing Google My Maps points to Map Your Idea (blog forthcoming). The following table summarizes the differences between the mapping options.