Presentation of Geographical Data Online Using an Interactive Flash Map

A clickable interactive map enables website visitors to get related information about a particular geographical location visually.

Flash interactive maps are replacing conventional image maps due to the fact that they not only offer more information, but also are highly interactive with the user.

Traditional image maps often only use static images and HTML code, are very basic and offer simple point and click function only. With flash interactive maps, users can get instantly relevant information about any part of a map he desires to see, with mouseover tooltip boxes, clickable points, regions, and also zooming functions which enable users to zoom in and out of the map to pinpoint a specific location or get further data on it.

There are various applications for flash interactive maps on the web, such as showing maps of a country, city or particular location, displaying demographic data, census data, branch office interactive maps, street maps, pretty much anything that can be mapped out.

As Flash is getting more and more popular and supported by most browsers on different OS platforms, webmasters have started embracing this technology more often, particularly due to the highly interactive nature and its ease of use.

For webmasters who do not have Adobe Flash programming, there are also interactive map software and creation tools available, for generating and presenting data graphically using interactive maps, with extremely simple learning curve.

Before you start creating an interactive map, you should firstly decide what kind of maps you want to create.

Many map making software come with pre-designed map templates for major countries of the world, as well as states maps (e.g. the 50 states in the US), postcode maps and county maps. If the map you are going to create is very geographically specific (e.g. your local town, suburb, floor plan of a local hospital, or shopping mall), it is unlikely to find a pre-designed template. In such case you could import a standard image file (in jpg/png or gif format) of your custom map, and convert it into your very own customized interactive flash map.

As most websites attract visitors globally and might have geographical specific information for different parts of the world, flash maps are truly a helpful navigation and data presentation tool not to be missed or disregarded.

Having such a flash map on a website is modern and presents a professional image to the visitor. Imagine that a visitor from Europe is landing to your website and is interested in getting additional information about your location in the United States. He will not only be able to see the state you are in, but also the city, within the city he can pinpoint with accuracy your exact location, and if you have created maps of your actual office with hotspots around interesting places, he will have a truly unique online virtual experience that will ensure his return over and over again!

OSRAM – The Five Components of an Effective Presentation – Part 1 of 5 – The Objective

How do you give an Effective Presentation? What makes the difference between an average presentation and an effective presentation? This is Part 1 of 5 in a series of articles.

There are five main components of an effective business presentation. The acronym OSRAM should help you to remember them and help you to light up your audience. The five components are:

  • The Objective
  • The Speaker
  • The Room
  • The Audience
  • The Message

You should consider each of these components in turn to maximize the effectiveness of your presentation. Neglecting any individual component can ruin an otherwise successful presentation. Put them together correctly and you will turn on a light in people’s heads; brighten up their lives; get your audience to see and understand things, about which they were previously in the dark.

This series of articles looks at each of these components in turn and discover what needs to be done to ensure the success of that component.

The Objective

What do you want the audience to do as a result of your presentation?

To create an effective presentation the first thing you need to decide is what the objective of the presentation is. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

But there may be more to that simple statement than you first perceive. You could say that for a product presentation the objective is for the audience to learn about the product, but that would be a very poor objective, as there is no action associated with it and no way of measuring how successfully it has been accomplished. The question you should ask yourself is ‘Okay, after my presentation they will know more about our product, but what do I want them to do next?’.

If your answer is ‘I want them to buy it’ then maybe you have gone to the other extreme. This objective may be fine if you work on a market stall and sell a vegetable chopper that cuts, slices and dices everything from tomatoes to pineapples. In that case, it may be realistic that after you have presented how easy it is to use and what a lovely job it makes, some people will want to buy one. For a market stall presentation, “selling the product” is a very good and plausible objective, which is measured by the thickness of your wallet at the end of the day.

However, for most business-to-business sales, it is unlikely that the presentation will lead directly to the sale. The sale may happen months later by which time you will have forgotten how well the presentation went.

So what is your objective? And how can you measure your success? The best objectives are SMART objectives.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

In the above examples objectives “getting the audience to know more about my products” is not easily measurable or very specific, and buying the product is not very timely.

A reasonable objective, when the presentation is the first real contact that members of the audience have had with your company, may be for 40% to arrange follow up meetings with your sales force.

When you are presenting at a conference on a subject, in which your company specializes, you may measure the success by the number of people who come up to talk to you after you have finished. You can set yourself a target of say 10 people. If only two people want to talk to you afterward, then it may be because your presentation did not stir up enough interest. If over 20 people come to talk you, you will have exceeded your expectations.

As every presentation has an objective it is important that the presentation concludes with a call to action that informs, encourages and directs people to meet your objective. If you want them to arrange a meeting with your sales force, you need to tell them to arrange that meeting and make it as easy as possible for them to do it. Consider having the sales force join you after the presentation so they can talk to their prospective clients, there and then.

With an objective of having people to talk with you after a conference presentation, you need to tell the audience where you will be and that you would welcome the opportunity to discuss any aspect of the subject in more depth, on an individual basis, or answer any more specific questions that your presentation has raised in their minds.

As you can see, by objective, what I am really talking about is what action you want the delegates to take following the presentation.

Of course, yours is not the only objective you need to consider. What are the audience’s objectives likely to be? What do they want to get from your presentation? Understanding your audience and their objectives is the key to an effective presentation and is discussed in the section entitled ‘The Audience’.

Your OSRAM objective should be SMART and remember to use a call to action at the end of you presentation to reinforce your objective.

How To Engage A Presentation Audience – Use A Theme To Your Presentation

When we think about about a presentation we typically consider the presentation itself, its preparation, planning and rehearsal. But it’s also critical to consider how we engage our audience — how we actively encourage their listening, understanding and belief in us. Just standing on the podium and speaking won’t do the trick.

Fortunately there are some techniques that we can use. And a major technique is the presentation theme. There are 5 things to bear in mind, though, when we use a theme in our presentation.

  1. Make it memorable. Themes help our audience to remember our presentation. And when our audience only retains some 10% of our speech that’s important. Themes are remembered by an audience because they can be. They work in much the same way as logos, slogans or catch phrases. They are typically creative, clever and appropriate for the task.
  2. Keep it simple. Our theme should be both simple and consistent. The simplicity is critical for memory — we don’t want our audience struggling with complexity at this stage of the event. Consistency is all important. We should neither deviate from the theme during the presentation nor be tempted to make adjustments as we go along.
  3. Be practical. Our theme should evoke practicality and purpose. If it has these qualities it will be familiar to our audience and prove more meaningful. Practicality suggests utility and benefit — both are of interest to our audience. When our audience can sense practical benefits attributed to listening and engaging their engagement increases.
  4. Be thorough. There is no need to struggle for ideas when thinking of a theme for our presentation. There are many workable approaches to getting it right. We can talk to the conference organizers. We can establish whether the conference itself has a theme. Or we could identify if our particular day has a theme to it. In either case we should aim to use this theme — or tweak it slightly to our own purpose. Using something that has resonance elsewhere will be productive. As an alternative we can look at all the other presentations on the agenda and establish whether there is a theme that runs through all of them. If there is, then use it. We could also think about some of the pressing issues that our audience will recognize from their work or professional interests. Issues such as: competition, globalization, outsourcing, innovation or quality. Such issues might be both relevant and familiar. Therefore, they could prove useful in building a theme that is practical, consistent and simple.
  5. Consider the objective. As we finalize our theme we should recall the purpose or mission for our presentation. We are looking to achieve something with our audience. Change their ideas. Change their opinions. Or, change something that they do. Our theme should help us in this mission. Both our purpose and our theme should be aligned.

Our audience will only recall some 10% of our presentation. Our task as speakers is to increase that percentage or, at least, ensure the right 10% is retained. A practical and memorable theme will boost an audience’s memory retention and assist their engagement.