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Interview: Nimbus Maps – “Like Google Maps On Steroids!”

POSTED BY   james
September 16, 2016

The world of PropTech is, as we all know, growing at an unprecedented rate. New emergent innovators are popping up all the time, but several do catch my attention from time to time. Nimbus Maps is an online platform designed to give property professionals instant access to data about properties and land.

Interview with Nimbus Maps | James Dearsley Tech Blog

Collating multiple data sources, and using Google as its base, Nimbus offers reports on more than 24 million registered titles across England and Wales. I am fascinated. So I sought out David Thomson, Head of Marketing at Nimbus Maps, to find out more about the work they’re doing in the PropTech space.

  1. What is Nimbus Maps, who is your ideal client, and why do we need to know about you?

Nimbus Maps allows property professionals to pull information about their desired sites in seconds, rather than hours. Using Google as its base brings a level of familiarity to the tool. Our main aim is to give very detailed local knowledge, nationally.

Our subscriber list speaks for itself, with over 250 active licences and over 200 companies currently using the tool on a daily basis. Being developed with its sister business, Assured Property Group, we have a unique position of having a foot in both camps and the tool was originally  created to save time effort and money.

We are not a start-up company. One of the main concerns seems to be the question of “will you still be here tomorrow?” if I change my processes. Nimbus Maps was a by-product of listening to our customers wants and needs, combined with our passion of technology and autonomous processes to create an interface that has grown into what we have today. We still work in the industry, we are equally a property company as well as a tech company.

  1. PropTech is growing and so what role do you play in this?

We feel that PropTech is a constantly changing industry; many new ideas and innovations are revealed on an almost daily basis. What’s great is that there is a lot of open data out there, we wanted to expand on this and create our own databases.

Current datasets are disjointed, incomplete and in their raw state fairly useless so we see a key role of ours is creating a really useful and meaningful live database for the whole industry to benefit from.  It is by no means easy, and we are funding PhD Graduates from Warwick University to make this happen, using some of the very latest statistical and machine learning techniques.

Being ahead of the curve is crucial in technology. If a company is constantly following the trend then they will forever be left behind. Because we are in such great contact with the industry we have mapped out the next 6 months of innovation, with some features we can’t wait to release. The property industry has so many specialisms and sectors, there is so much scope for improvement and innovation.

  1. What sort of data can we extract from Nimbus Maps, and why is this important?

Currently within Nimbus Maps, a user can find multiple pieces of important information, including some key items below:

  • Ownership information
  • Full address details
  • Boundary lines
  • Site areas and building sizes
  • Listed building information
  • Flooding risks
  • Demographics
  • Estimated property values
  • Traffic flow

This is just a small selection of information available to us, but we want to develop the tool gradually to give the industry time to catch up.

You can also use the tool for client lead generation by searching a company number to locate all the sites a company owns. Each site will have the information that a standard search will return and give you the option to download a Excel CSV of your search in its entirety

The relevance of this information allows property professionals who deal with a wide range of clients to instantly find information on sites all over the country, without having to leave their desk.

We wanted to bring local knowledge on a national scale. Having a clear knowledge of, not only the potential site they want to view, but also knowledge of the surrounding area, gives a clearer picture of whether this is the right location.

  1. How did your journey start?

Our journey began when a client asked if we could build a bespoke report for a pub chain with over 7,000 sites back in 2013. We began by contacting the Land Registry and learning about the different data products they provided.

Realising what was available to us, we began exploring how we could automate finding this information quickly and efficiently for our client. The results were incredible, and quickly developed a platform that the staff within the Assured Property Group could use as a lead generation tool.

This continued to grow by including more datasets, to the point that our in-house tool became something we felt was simply too powerful to not be released to the wider industry. We decided to take this tool to the market place and went the traditional route. We picked up the phone.

To this day our efforts are placed massively in contacting as many people who would benefit from the tool as possible, and discussing whether Nimbus Maps would be a product that could benefit them. We quickly learnt that the property industry had been waiting for a tool that could streamline their searches. We continuously get feedback, which enables us to create a tool that works perfectly for our subscribers.

  1. So, what’s next for Nimbus Maps? What is your product road map looking like?

There are some key pieces of information that we feel our tool would massively benefit from. Allowing users to find everything they need, without having to use another service, is crucial in our plans for the future.

Recently, we have been negotiating partnerships with property industry leaders and other PropTech champions, to enrich our data and our coverage.

Collaboration and partnerships within an industry as new as PropTech is essential, in our opinion; allowing companies to innovate and elevate, to spread the uses and benefits of changing the processes within the industry.

Also, with the groundbreaking release of Pokemon Go, our ambitious ideas have been confirmed. We once had a subscriber say to us “It’s like Google Maps on steroids for the property industry”. That really piqued our interest, and brought us to where we plan out innovation.

Instead of just Google Maps, we want Google Street View… Being able to walk down the street and select a property using your camera, and instantly find out the information would be incredible.

I’m really excited about the innovative development that Nimbus Maps promises to offer the PropTech sector. I’m really looking forward to taking a look at the platform myself, and will be updating this post shortly with a bit of insight into my own experiences with it. So stay tuned!

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