August 23, 2006

Real estate, GIS, mashups and the spatially challenged

there's no doubting that maps, imagery, and most recently, mashups are ideally suitable for the real estate industry. So whay the hell are most realtors so technologically challenged and spatially clueless?? It never ceases to amaze me how few of the "professionals" in the real estate biz have adopted or even looked into what technology is available. The clincher for me was hearing from my realtor today how he hates computers, isn't into maps, and doesn't have a clue what "zillow" is... oh, this guy has a degree in Geography too... ohmygod!! For examples of some GIS-centric solutions developed for the real estate bizness see the likes of pretty much any county property appraser website,, (mashing craigslist & google maps), , (a cool UK mashup), (see info about neighbors) and even this cool app at where anyone can build their own mashup! With tools like Craigslist, (for listing) mapbuilder (for building the mashup) flickr (for posting photos) who the heck needs a realtor these days?? To get an idea of just a few of the companies providing GIS-centric solutions for the real estate industry see this archive of news items --


Anonymous said... allows you to build Real Estate mashups in a shot - see
PS: do not forget to checkout 'live demo' to see mashup which can be build using Real Estate MapBuilder.

C.C. Miller said...

It's uncanny, then. I've worked with 7 realtors in the last, say, 6 years and not one of them exhibited any understanding at all what they could be doing. Only one of them even used their office's own system to generate maps of potential properties (not routes, mind you, just their locations). The rest of them brought along lousy MapQuest printouts, and the only one whose process I was privy to hand-entered those addresses.

I don't get it. Shoe salesmen don't tie spent cardboard squares to their feet when they go to work, why would an expert on their city, its property, its demographics, and almost everything that has anything to do with place...not use GIS? I'm not saying they should be compiling their own GRASS binaries, but...come on.

C.C. Miller said...

...but maybe there's hope? Josh Been is a fellow GIS Librarian who teaches GIS to real estate students (or at least people interested in it enough to enroll in a course). As per here: