Work REA Group

Allows property hunters to pick a suburb and identify their investment priorities on a user-friendly map.

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The invest section of realestate.com.au was very well received by consumers and investers.

Using maps to sell houses

The new invest section of realestate.com.au uses a highly visual map­-based search function to allow property hunters to pick a suburb and identify their investment priorities—be it cash flow, long term growth or a balance of both—and provides unique market information to help potential property investors.

We have worked together with REA teams in Melbourne, Australia and Xian, China, to deliver an immersive map experience which complements the rich data presented by the site.

Open source library

The team developed a lightweight and open source library that allowed us to automate the publication of spatial information to CartoDB.

It’s important to ensure the map reflects the most current information because the rich data that underpins the invest site is constantly changing.

The library allows us to automatically do operations usually made manually in the CartoDB dashboard, such as data importing.

Custom map tiles

Because realestate.com.au operates one of the most popular websites in Australia, it was important we had confidence that the solution could deliver custom map tiles, on demand and quickly. The team assessed technology and selected CartoDB as the preferred platform.

CartoDB is a solution that helps visualise and analyse Geospatial data. The joint team designed performance and load tests to assure REA that CartoDB would cope with anticipated load.

Interactive user experience

Users can roll over a suburb on the map and quickly see the suburb highlighted together with the summarised data that provides useful investment information for that suburb.

The feature was important because it engaged the user on the site, providing relevant and meaningful data to help them in their decision making when looking for investment properties.

We wanted to be careful not to sacrifice performance of the map with so much data and carefully chose a tool we that could manage the data points effectively without affecting site performance.

It was a challenge to balance the site performance with the interactivity. Using a technology called UTFGrid we were able to control the amount of map data being displayed by the browser, without reducing the rich interactive experience.

Result

The invest section of realestate.com.au was very well received by consumers and investers.

Luke Douglas, Product Manager at REA Group, told us the project, “elped us to greatly improve the functionality and performance of our mapping experience.”

It demonstrated how important it is to work closely with client teams and ensure the right solution is delivered for the business need.