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[aprssig] Re: FindU Maps Quirky

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Wed Feb 9 04:46:11 UTC 2005


On 2/8/05 at 5:07 PM KC2MMi <kc2mmi at verizon.net> sent:

>The cost of one "real server" is so damn cheap compared to any 4-color ad
>they buy....And I'd say Kenwood is the prime party who damn well should be
>interested in sponsoring a resource that would sell their radios! If not,
>who knows. Another vendor might want to take that prominent role. For a
>marketing cost, it is PEANUTS.
>
First, a new server makes maps appear faster, and would allow Jim to turn on a
more detailed coastline, but does not address the major shortcoming, that it
only serves US users. More than a third of findU's users are outside the US.
This isn't meant to be critical of Jim in any way, this is completely beyond his
control.

Commercial services that could provide worldwide maps of the quality of the old
MapBlast service are EXPENSIVE. The last quote I got, a couple years ago, was
$250,000 a year. Likely that would be lower now because findU uses fewer maps
with the new page design, and hardware/bandwidth costs are always dropping, but
I doubt the figure would be much under $100,000 a year.

Sure, even in the US the commercial maps are prettier, have a bit better US
data, but Jim's maps are really good enough. So why is there such a huge
difference in cost to go international?

The reason is the expense of obtaining the data. Only the US gives this data
away. I think someone recently mentioned Canada's dataset equivalent to the US
TIGER data sells for something like $80,000. Multiply that by another 100
contries, and add the man-hours to convert all these different datasets into a
common format, and it is easy to see why a worldwide solution is expensive.

Will Kenwood front a bill of $100k a year to supply international maps? Of
course not. Would they pay $4k to serve the maps for just the US? Seems unlikely
an international corporation would do that. Besides, it sounds like someone has
offered Jim the use of a server that will meet his needs, the limiting factor
now is his time to get the new server running.

Then there is the issue of advertising. If I were to implement the plan you
suggest, I'd have to drop the Google ads findU presently runs because of
Google's requirements. This isn't generating a huge amount of money, Google does
not allow me to disclose the amount of reimbursement, suffice it to say that it
will be a couple years before it would amount to enough to fund the next findU
server. I've already spent aound $20,000 from my own pocket to buy the machines
that have run aprs.net and findu.com over the last 6 years, and with my plans to
retire next year, I have decided I will not be spending any more of my own money
for servers. Hopefully the current machine will suffice until enough accumulates
to pay for the next server. However, I'm not going to stop saving for the new
server so that a fraction of findU's users can have a better looking coastline.

So bottom line, findU cannot offer ad space to support this suggestion, and it
really wouldn't improve the experience of the majority of findU users (those
outside the US, or in the US away from the coast.

Steve K4HG




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