The greatest asset of an entrepreneur is TIME! Not necessarily money. A successful entrepreneur seeks to make optimal use of his or her time. Spatial Technologies Limited has brought relief to Nigerian Entrepreneurs by providing an Interactive Street Map and Business Location Finder for Lagos, the major commercial hub of Nigeria. MapNTL, Nigeria’s foremost online mapping portal!
The tool which is based online on there website www.mapntl.com does a good job locating most of the streets in the commercial areas of Lagos. If you have ever used Google Map or MSN Live you won’t have difficulty using the interactive map.
Why a Local Interactive Map?
Someone argued that this tool is just trying to duplicate something that has already being accomplished by Google Map. Well, from a Nigerian user point of view, I know that argument is not valid. Google Map does not have as much details as MapNTL provides about the City of Lagos. Also, MapNTL is providing another feature which gives it a local advantage over Google Map.
Spatial Technologies Limited is inviting Nigerian Entrepreneurs having their offices in Lagos to advertise on the Interactive Map (I really wonder how much Google Map will charge for such service). That simply means, a total stranger can easily locate a business using the interactive map. That to me is a better idea than maintaining just a yellow page subscription.
Currently, there are several online business directories in Nigeria providing Yellow Page services. In my opinion, their services will become more effective if they collaborate with MapNTL to create more powerful directories. Imagine an online directory that provide information such as Business Address, Contact Phone Number, email address and Driving direction via an interactive map! That is what Spatial Technologies Limited is planning to offer Nigerian entrepreneurs.
The Goal of MapNTL Team
I chatted with Ireti Ajala, a UK based map expert who happens to be one of the brains behind the idea, he informed me that they already have over 50,000 businesses comprising banks, restaurants, hotels, fast food joints etc registered with MapNTL. I wanted a proof, so he gave me the name of one of the company whose several branches are mapped, FCMB, First City Monument Bank Plc. He claimed that all the branches of FCMB in Lagos are already keyed into MapNTL database.
Can MapNTL Locate FCMB Branches in Surulere?
I tried the tool by requesting for a branch of FCMB in the MainLand. I got a response that there is one situated on No. 43, Ojuelegba Road, Yaba and and another one at 33 Adeniran Ogunsanya Road, Surulere! How accurate is that result? Confirming the authenticity of the result was not difficult. I simply checked on FCMB portal where a tool FCMB ATM&Branch Locator is provided to locate the bank’s branches nationwide. FCMB portal confirmed the result as correct!
What I found really cool is that each FCMB branch is marked on MapNTL using FCMB distinctive corporate logo making it very easy for FCMB’s online customers to connect visually with each of the over 35 branches of FCMB shown on MapNTL – this is innovation at its best in the context of Nigeria. I also noticed that using the “Identify” button below the map window to click on some FCMB logos on the map revealed some very important information such as the address of branch, services and facilities available at each branch and some functional telephone numbers to call the branch.
This invariably means that wherever you are in Lagos, you can easily locate the nearest FCMB branch by using MapNTL. It is interesting to note that Several branches of UBA, Zenith, GTB, Oceanic, Bank PHB, Mr Biggs, Tantalizers, etc have also been mapped into MapNTL. Isn’t that cool.
That means, Spatial Technologies Limited is actually having a tool with great potential. Well during my chat with Ireti, he stated that their goal is to empower Nigerian consumers with the location advantage in making purchasing decisions. I love that vision.
My Verdict on MapNTL
Well, I’ll say thumbs up for MapNTL. However, I won’t be sincere if I failed to point out a few flaws that need to be corrected.
MapNTL User Interface
The current user interface provided by MapNTL makes it unattractive for potential users. I understand that the portal is a highly complicated dynamic website and should not be compared with simple websites such as Nigerian Entrepreneur which is more or less an online magazine.
Nonetheless, the interface should be made more user friendly. It should be optimized for all the major browsers. Optimizing for only Microsoft IE is not good enough. Firefox is the choice of many web users (yours sincerely inclusive).
Also, a professional graphic designer should add some little eye candy to the interface. The current graphic designs are not desirable. Remember, the portal is not meant for the geeks alone.
Finally, the interface should be optimized to adjust to user screen easily. Currently, it overflows.
Well, that is my humble opinion, I don’t know what the cost implication may be for making those amendments. I’m only making suggestion base on my own experience while using the interactive map.
Naija Brothers and Sisters, help Promote MapNTL!
Are you based in Lagos? When next you’re looking for a firm, check MapNTL first. It will save you time and money. If the company is not listed, tell the marketing department of such firm that they are giving the competitor an undue advantage. Despite the global economic crises, investing less than 5,000naira to beat the competition is still a good investment. (I know I’m beginning to sound like this is a sales copy. Hey, Ireti, we need to talk, I sure can do with some affiliate commission)
Why did I write this review about MapNTL?
The answer is simple, MapNTL is Made In Nigeria (Interactive Map and Business Locator) For Nigerians. So, I am happy to promote the service. I have always being and will continue to be Proudly Nigerian. If you use the tool and love it, drop a comment to encourage others. If you have a suggestion on how it can be improved upon, drop a comment, I will ensure it gets forwarded to Ireti. Cheers.