• http://www.stingraysocial.com David Foertsch

    Hi Chris, any insights yet on the changeover from Navteq to Nokia maps for Bing’s local listings? I was having a terrible time with bad pin locations for a bulk upload done months ago. Spent considerable time working with Bing Business Portal support, was told to make updates directly with Navteq, only to find that the Navteq interface was migrated to the new Nokia interface.

    Needless to say, if the maps ultimately display bad locations for businesses, it may do more damage than good.

  • http://silvery.com Chris Silver Smith

    I haven’t done a comparison yet between the Navteq and Nokia maps, although I’m interested following the recent announcements of expanded partnership between Nokia and Microsoft (http://searchengineland.com/nokia-now-powering-bing-maps-108598 ).

    I will say from a technical perspective that pinpoint coordinates from one provider should generally transfer to another provider pretty closely. Usually the technicians overseeing the transfer might have to make an adjustment to how the requests are communicated to a new system (such as changing a minus sign across all latitude values). For instance, I can often take a lat/long pair (such as: 30.584,-96.281583) and view it in multiple mapping systems, and the pinpoint will fall in virtually the same place across the board.

    There are exceptions to the rule-of-thumb (see my article from some years ago explaining mapping errors http://searchengineland.com/top-causes-of-errors-in-online-mapping-systems-13715 ), but usually the magnitude of difference is pretty light — such as moving a pinpoint across a narrow street, or shifting it to the business next door. With those light shifts in pinpointing, there’s essentially going to be zero effect on a local business, because the map achieved its goal: it brought the consumer to the location, and they have to carry about navigating their way on the final steps to the storefront and entrance.

    The more serious exceptions to the rule could possibly involve instances where the listing database may have only been supplied with less precise coordinate pairs — fewer degrees of accuracy. The shift could be greater in those cases, but I would expect them to be rare.

    I’m assuming you may be supplying coordinates with your bulk upload. That would be the best option, since it reduces chances for error. If you’re only supplying street addresses, then whatever mapping system is in use will automatically geocode the addresses, which can introduce many more chances for error — which can’t be completely blamed upon the mapping system. If street addresses are not normalized properly, or if an address is newer and not mapped in the current database of a system it will result in improper geocoding. If you have the option of supplying coordinates with your listings you should use it to reduce problems.

    I may be misunderstanding what you’re referring to in your last statement — if you’re saying that it would be better not to have listings in Bing at all because the mapped locations might shift a little following their migration to a new system, I can’t really agree. I’d rather consumers would have a chance of finding my listing among my competitors, even if the locations are displayed a little bit off on the map.

  • http://www.stingraysocial.com David Foertsch

    Thanks for your reply. I’l have to go back & do a comparison on the Lat/Long for the misplaced pins. Some of them were set as much as one mile away from the correct location. The attempts to fix pin locations via their Bing’s user interface didn’t go live. It’s possible those changes got pre-empted by the cutover from Navteq to Nokia.

    If I find anything particularly interesting I’ll report back. Hopefully though this is just a case of operator error.

  • http://www.stingraysocial.com David Foertsch

    Hi again Chris, I had some time this week to dig back into my Bing problems. First clarification – the bulk upload template does not have fields for Latitude & Longitude. So their map provider must be geocoding themselves. Guess that explains why 13 of the 26 listings came up with bad pin positioning.

    My experience with the Bing Business Portal has gone from bad to worse since our last exchange. It seems Bing has removed the ability of “enterprise” BBP accounts to make records changes in the portal. Everything must be provided via spreadsheet bulk upload. I wrote about it today on my blog, and included a timeline. Hoping somehow I can catch the attention of someone from Bing. If you have any Bing Local contacts I’d love a chance to share my experience with them.. At this point I just want to get the maps correct.

    Blog can be read at http://www.stingraysocial.com/1/post/2012/02/i-lament-ever-meeting-the-bing-business-portal.html