Type of site
|Web Map Service|
|Available in||Chinese, English|
|Owner||Centaline Property Agency|
|Launched||19 November 1999|
Centamap was developed by Centaline Property Agency at a cost of HK$6 million. The website was launched on 19 November 1999; within its first four days it had attracted 100,000 page views per day. At the time, it was one of two digital maps of Hong Kong that had been developed using map data from the government, the other being PCCW's YPmap. Centaline had intended to make money from the website using banner advertising, expecting revenue of $1–1.5 million a year.
The website shows a single, seamless map of Hong Kong, the Community Map on Internet. The data for the Community Map is obtained from the Survey and Mapping Office of the Hong Kong Government's Lands Department, and it is jointly built by Cable & Wireless HKT's Telecom Directories Limited (TDL), Centaline Property Agency, and a Canadian software house. The website shows the locations of various landmarks, places of interest, and property listings. Standard digital map functions are provided, such as searching by address, building name, street intersection and geographic co-ordinates, as well as panning and zooming the map. The map can be zoomed to an aspect ratio as low as 1:500 or as high as 1:10,000. The search function utilised data from the Geographic Information System (GIS). The website also showed census data and photographs of scenic places.
An April 2000 review of several digital maps of Hong Kong and Macau in The Asian Wall Street Journal complimented Centamap for having a search facility that allowed users to display, for example, a map showing a hotel by typing the hotel's name. The service was the only one that allowed maps to be easily copied and pasted into other documents. However, the reviewer lamented that the map lacked transport information and displayed only "the income and educational levels of the residents in [an] area", which was probably not useful to a visitor of Hong Kong. Another review in the South China Morning Post that month noted that Centamap's website had a "no-frills" design, worked better in Netscape Navigator than Internet Explorer, and had less features than TDL's HKCityMap, which used the same Community Map data. By July 2001, Centamap had added links to government air pollution indexes across the city, the meteorological department's weather predictions and the government department responsible for selling aerial photographs; a review in the International Herald Tribune commented that the site was a good example of how online maps can provide information that is impossible to present on printed maps.
From the website's launch in 1999 to 2003, the average number of monthly page views for its maps increased from 0.1 million to 4 million. In November 2003, Centamap was the first mapping service licensed by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department to disseminate census data at the building group level in addition to other GIS functions. In March 2007, Centamap was the top website in Hong Kong's online travel market, capturing 16.5% of all website visits in the tourism industry.
- "Sites deliver geographical data in accessible format". South China Morning Post. 19 December 2003.
- Amy Tse (9 November 1999). "Centaline spends $6m to make Internet digital map, HONGKONG STANDARD". Hong Kong iMail.
- Sandy Li (24 November 1999). "Home pages become focus for spending and saving in hi-tech effort to attract customers - Agents step up pace of Web property wars". South China Morning Post.
- "HK Develops Web Sites on Community Facilities". Xinhua News Agency. 19 November 1999.
- "Net maps offer clearer view of Hong Kong". South China Morning Post. 25 April 2000.
- "Web maps set to give true picture, HONGKONG STANDARD". Hong Kong iMail. 14 February 2000.
- 三大電子地圖置業盲公竹 (in Chinese). 星島日報. 16 November 2000.
- "全球地理資訊獨家嚮導 用GIS方圓萬里盡掌握" (in Chinese). 星島日報. 21 September 2000.
- Gren Manuel (24 April 2000). "Technology Journal --- Asian Technology: Lost in Macau? Skip the E-Maps". The Asian Wall Street Journal. p. T8.
- Thomas Crampton (16 July 2001). "Uncharted Asia: Interactive Maps Are Few". International Herald Tribune. p. Finance/Business 13.
- Winnie Shiu (May 2004). "Internet Maps for the Community in Hong Kong" (PDF). International Federation of Surveyors. Retrieved 2007-06-02.
- "Statistics Advisory Board reviews government statistical work". Census and Statistics Department, Government of Hong Kong SAR. 25 November 2003. Retrieved 2007-06-02.
- "Markets By Country - Hong Kong". European Travel Commission. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-02.