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www.spotomatic.com Planning to visit Chennai and you are not sure about the road maps in the city. Don’t worry. Just log on to www.spotomatic.com and find out the location of the place that you wish to visit. The maps are simple and visually attractive. The maps are displayed in the form of images. The site provides provision for zooming the maps upto street level details. The search capability of the site is good. If you are aware of the name of the locality, you can directly display the map showing the locality by placing a search for that locality. However, if you are not sure of the name of the locality, there is a provision for displaying all the locality names in the form of an index arranged alphabetically. The provision is not restricted to only the locality, but the street names and important landmarks in the city can also be displayed in this manner. The site also has plans to host detailed city maps of several other cities in future.

Another good thing about the site is that it allows users to view the site in two different languages i.e. English and Tamil.

As mentioned earlier, the maps provide detailed views of localities in the city. But the major drawback with the maps is that none of the maps are presented according to scale. The user while using the site will never get an idea about the distance between two points in the map. The zoom level in the site has been divided into: streets, inner city, suburb, state, country and world. But there is no need to get excited as only the street and the inner city zoom levels are operating while the rest have been shaded. It seems that the site wants their viewers to tickle their grey cells before they can actually realise that those zoom levels do not actually work. It can therefore be assumed that the site has really big plans to incorporate worldwide data along with street level data. But isn’t it strange that the site is spilling out all its beans so that its competitor can plan out strategies to tackle them. The site seems to confine itself to users of Chennai only. This is because not even a single map of India is present where the location of Chennai is shown with respect to India. Thus the web site fails to attract a viewer who is not aware of Chennai and loses the opportunity to popularise the city.

Although the site has the technology to provide road directions to users, it does not do so in the web site. Instead it rents out this service to users who require this service. Here also they miss out a large chunk of the population interested in having the knowledge about routes in the city.

The site has good business proposals for people wishing to include the site in their web page. Web sites can include Spotomatic contents for free if they can put up advertisements of Spotomatic in the pages served. There are several other good proposals in store for the users details of which can be seen in the web site.The maps in the web site are also available in the form of a CD which can be obtained from Spotomatic. The CD is priced at Rs. 1000/-. But the user has to sign an agreement first and then order the CD. Ordering can be done online also.

The site can be summed up as a useful site for displaying maps of Chennai. However, it lacks in content as it fails to attract viewers outside Chennai because of the limited information it has in store. It has great plans for future and if they succeed www.spotomatic.com will AUTOmatically come under the SPOTlight.

Tamal Pal