If you’ve attended the SND annual workshop in recent years, you’ve likely met Christian Erades and checked out Maps4News. Erades is the sales manager for the cartographic company based in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. Their fast-maps software solution has a strong foothold in the European market and a growing footprint in the U.S. At SND Frankfurt Christian mentioned a new MapCreator software release was coming soon. It was released in October, and I caught up with Christian again recently:
What’s different in the latest release?
It’s a web-based solution with all capabilities needed to produce content-rich maps to communicate stories for all media platforms. From satellite imagery to maps with routes and added POI data. Our main strength is that we can create beautiful style templates for customers to match their visual identity and publications. Users can create maps in their own design and export in raster or vector. In comparison with other mapping tools we really are a service reachable for the entire newsroom. Our main goal is to help graphic specialists in the field with a service that creates their base maps in seconds in their own look and feel so they can focus more on their magic. Other editors can create simple maps based on the graphic requirements on deadline without the need of a graphics team.
What’s the history of MapCreator?
Our parent company is Falk, which is a large cartographic company in the Netherlands and Germany. Falk Netherlands is based in Eindhoven. Almost 15 years ago they needed a workflow tool to automate their production environment for the rapid definition and automatic generation of high-quality cartographic output from a geographical database environment. Cartographic production software was developed in-house and proved itself immediately. It gave them the opportunity to win the biggest part of the cartographic market in their area and also reducing a lot in manpower and costs. In 2007 MapCreator was founded as a new company to help other companies with this mapping solution. After a couple of years we founded Maps4News as the map service to the news media industry. More than 250 companies are using this tool now, ranging from national newspapers and publishers to directory publishers and direct marketing companies.
Where are most of your clients?
At this time more than 120 titles are working with the Maps4News map service. Most companies are based in western Europe (Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France, UK, Ireland, Spain & Italy) and the United States. Around 20 publications (small and larger titles) in the U.S. are using the tool.
You have become a regular attendee at our workshops. What feedback do you get from graphic artists and editors?
I’ve known Jeff Goertzen for years now and he introduced me to SND years ago. SND is like a family and the audience gives that kind of feeling. Besides this the majority of the SND audience are potential Maps4News users so it couldn’t be better for us. We always look forward coming to the SND workshops!
Based on what you hear at SND and elsewhere, what is the state of maps and graphics in newsrooms?
We are aware of the print-to-digital movement. We know maps and graphics in newspapers are often overlooked by the editors and journalists. But how a paper is designed graphically can make a huge difference to the reader. Maps and graphics are important to keep a reader’s attention. Also the Maps4News tool is very easy to use for every editor and journalist.