Rooftops and Google Maps

I was flying into Atlanta yesterday and as the plane descended to the runway, I noticed that one of the buildings on the ground with a giant bullseye on it – Target. Next to it, there was a building with a giant BJs and another with a big Lowe’s logo.

A few years ago, I saw the Northwest logo painted on the roof of Northwest Airlines headquarters near Minneapolis. It was a novelty back then.

Google Map with Target image

With the increasing use of aerial images in local search applications such as Google Maps, the rooftops take on new importance. On this map of the area near O’Hare, there’s no question where Target is. (If you’re going to Target, pick up their slick MP3 gift card.)

Last year, when aol.com launched, they painted a giant logo on the grass in the center of campus. Now, you have to know what you’re looking for.

This brings up a couple of questions:

  • How long until Google, Mapquest etc. allow you to digitally “paint” your rooftop? This would save on maintenance costs and make it so you don’t have to wait for the image to be updated. (The Northwest logo is an old logo. It could be an outdated image or maybe they haven’t repainted the roof.)
  • Will competitors be able to buy your rooftop?
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About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is CEO of redesign | mobile. Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. His personal blog is at http://blog.agrawals.org and tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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