Marine Industry Association of South Florida partners with Google Waterway View
Tech giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is partnering with the Marine Industries Association of South Florida to create a water version of its popular Google Street View maps that would cover the region’s major waterways.
Not only will this create a detailed visual map covering 143 nautical miles along the Intracoastal Waterway and Biscayne Bay from the Palm Beach County line in Jupiter through Ocean Reef in Key Largo, it will provide the opportunity for nearby businesses to reach customers on their boats.
"This is an incredible opportunity to add another tool to the toolkit of the marine industry in South Florida, which employs 136,000 people and produces an annual economic impact of $11.5 billion,” said Phil Purcell, CEO and president of MIASF.
“Just as Google Street View is a valuable instrument and a trusted way for businesses to connect with customers, Waterway View has the potential to be the most exciting new resource for the boating lifestyle, connecting boaters with restaurants, marinas, fuel docks, service and sales centers, and all the other resources they may need.”
The Google Waterway View should launch as a mobile app by June when the mapping is completed. A web browser version will be available sooner.
Businesses will be able to buy a listing to be promoted on the map, or provide a 360-degree view inside their business.
MIASF will work with local businesses that want to utilize the new maps with Google.
Drivers on the roads can now use mapping programs to find gas stations or restaurants, so this service would provide the same aid to boaters.
That’s especially helpful because the waterways don’t have as many signs advertising the locations of businesses as roads do.
“Florida leads the country in boat registrations and its waterways are used by locals and tourists every day of the year,” said Google Virtual Reality partner, Jim Hilker.
"This will be a very useful platform for experienced boaters, newcomers, and tourists looking to access the many locations available to them by water.”
MarineMax and Boat Owners Warehouse are providing the boats that will transport the Google cameras through South Florida’s waterways.
In addition to the Intracoastal Waterway and Biscayne Bay, the map will cover some adjoining rivers, inlets and commercial canals.
“The goal of this initiative is to increase awareness on the waterways, said Chuck Cashman, chief revenue officer for MarineMax.
“Boaters can plan a day out on the water in advance through a visual familiarization of local boating hotspots and boating-friendly businesses.”