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HotPads gets revamped, predicts mapping trend

Not only has HotPads added viewing and favorite histories for users, their maps got a major overhaul. The company predicts that others will follow in their footsteps of using open source maps in real estate search.

HotPads’ makeover

Real estate search site, HotPads.com has made several updates to their technology, design and features in an effort to help consumers better organize their search for their next home for rent or purchase.

The San Francisco-based company has added a “Favorites Tab” which they liken to a “personal search history map,” helping consumers to visualize which listings have been viewed, favorited, contacted, or even hidden from search results. They also revamped their email alert system to allow users to save as many searches they want to for new properties, offering customization of frequency of alerts, the missing ingredient to many real estate email alert offerings.

Major map upgrades

HotPads’ maps have also just gotten a major upgrade with more details, sharper images and improved speed. “We spent a lot of time trying to determine the best color scheme for the new map,” the company told AGBeat. “The goal was to make the map easier to navigate, quickly spot listings, and generally make the whole search experience more visually appealing.”

One of the largest components of the mapping upgrade was to the speed. The company figured out how to compress each of the billion new map tiles so that the maps render much more quickly. The maps are also updated to reflect new information like bike paths, park trails, streams, and “more micro level details. For those not familiar with OpenStreetMap, it is essentially the trusted ‘Wikipedia’ of maps, generated by crowdsourcing detailed map data from passionate ‘do-it-yourself’ cartographers.”

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HotPads has been using the OpenStreetMap API for years, and made all mapping changes through the API this go around as well. The company notes that they are “happy to be ahead of the curve as more online services start switching over to open source maps.” They expect the trend will speed up as Google has announced a fee for map API access.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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