Location information app brings human dimension to planning

New channels such as social media have encouraged public participation in regional and urban development, by providing feedback to urban and real estate planners. Sadly, however, information in the shape it is received can rarely be applied directly in decisionmaking.

It was back in 2005 when the limitations of civic feedback were realised by the key personnel of Mapita, researchers in urban planning and perceived environment. The four took up the challenge of developing ways for the public to record location-based comments, so as to make them genuinely accessible to planners.

The concept advanced as a research project but it soon became clear that map-based questionnaires were needed widely throughout urban planning. The time was ripe for commercialising the innovation as Maptionnaire, a service that has now been on the market for about four years.

Within their fields of research, the Mapita team – Anna Broberg, Sakari Ellonen, Timo Hämäläinen and Maarit Kahila – are recognised experts around the world. Chief executive Anna Broberg points out that, in developing Maptionnaire, a very large amount of work has gone into improving the user experience and making the service function on all mobile devices.

What makes the Maptionnaire service superior?

“As a map-based application it conveys human experiences to planners. The customer decides what questions will provide the information required for decision-making. Maptionnaire lays the groundwork for implementing various planning processes. It speeds up the processes, increases public confidence, improves transparency and quality, and produces better results. It can even reduce the number of appeals against planning decisions.”

“Towns are not obliged to give residents a channel for feedback on urban planning, but they can reap great cost savings from a map-based questionnaire because it is so effective. Those that have seized the opportunity and begun to use a map-based application say that they could no longer imagine operating without it. Maptionnaire gives them access to sources and information about public perceptions that are not otherwise available.”

“Although customer satisfaction is already high, we listen intently to what our users want and focus our development work accordingly. Mapita is an agile company and can quickly prioritise new user needs.”

“We have tried to make our service suitable for the man in the street. As a tool it needs to be so easy that it can be used without training and with little assistance. This also promotes scalability.”

“Recently we have been actively developing Maptionnaire to incorporate the floor plans of real estate. Indoor positioning is a big thing and will open new prospects for the use of Maptionnaire by airports, shopping centres, university buildings, etc.”

What forms of international cooperation do you seek?

“The Maptionnaire service can be used everywhere so our aim is to gain international recognition for it. So far we have given the greatest emphasis to the Netherlands, but are now looking towards southern European markets, too.”

More information

Anna Broberg, chief executive, tel. +358 50 538 8809, anna.broberg(at)mapita.fi


Mapita is participating in the Smart City Expo World Congress being held on 17-19 November 2015 in Barcelona. Drop in at the Finnish pavilion and see what we can contribute to the smart cities of the world.


Mapita is participating in the Tekes Witty City programme.

Eero Lukin
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