The Architect Map
The Architect Map is using popular platforms such as Google Maps and Twitter to plot architects in the UK (and around the world) – it provides them with a means of meeting other professionals in the building industry but also enables those searching for an architect to find one close to home.
“I started looking for architects and other construction professionals using Twitter way back in 2008,” says Su Butcher, whose consulting business Just Practising offers marketing advice to architects and construction companies. She set up The Architect Map with Mark Schumann, Director at Davis Langdon, an AECOM Company and now knows more than 1,900 architects using Twitter globally. “The mapping idea began a few months later when I realised the benefits of knowing about where people are based.”
It has certainly taken off. Current map views are around 110,000 and rising daily. There is now an iPhone app which has been downloaded 400 times – an Android version is being considered – and there are plans to experiment with augmented reality. But how useful is it for people simply looking for an architect?
“That can be quite a difficult process,” admits Su. “Most people find architects via word of mouth which is fine if you happen to know the right people. With at least seven million people in the UK on Twitter, you’d expect some of them to ask for information about architects and many of them come to me. The idea of the map is that they can find local architects who use Twitter and check them out before they make an approach. Twitter is great for this because following someone there can show you what they are really like and if you’re going to employ them on a building project it’s just the sort of information you need. Most users will also link to their website, but their presence on Twitter, who they talk to and what they talk about, will probably tell you much more than their website will.”
The map is split into architects and other construction consultants (structural engineers, project managers, kitchen designers, etc), product manufacturers and suppliers, and construction contractors. There are over 1,000 users and as the map grows Mark and Su have been splitting the map into regions, but kept architects and other consultants together. This has the advantage that visitors can see a community of construction consultants in their locality and if there are no architects nearby yet, they can speak to the other consultants for local recommendations.
“People love seeing themselves on a map, and this is part of the motivation to be added,” says Su. “People who use Twitter are naturally helpful and like to be involved in things, so the architects and other construction people you find on the Architect Map will be that type of people.”
And best of all it’s entirely independent. “The Architect Map is entirely not-for-profit,” says Mark. “We just wanted to build something that helps people.”
Below are some links to websites and tools with mapping elements:
- Independent Property Search Engine
- Independent House & Home section
- Property Wizza
- Where Can I Live
- Sustrans map of neighbourhood facilities
- Architects Twitter League
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