|Rimman's Mapping Services|
|Monday, 23 April 2001 00:00|
Source: New Straits Times (page 26)
Kimi Raikkonen from Finland gets lost somewhere in a remote part of Kuala Lumpur on his very first trip to Malaysia. Luckily, he has brought along a mobile phone linked to the Internet.
Raikkonen surfs a site at www.streetdirectory.com which leads him to a colourful map of the capital. From there, he accesses information on the area he is now in and voila, on how to get back to his desired path.
The happy ending appears far-fetched at this point of time. But it may not be the case when the web-based mapping and locating system make it big in our shores, perhaps in the medium to long haul.
And a Singaporean IT firm, Virtual Map(S) Pte Ltd wants to make this happen.
So, it has combined its technology and know-how in digital geographical management information systems with Rimman International Sdn Bhd's skills in mapping services.
Hence was born Rimman VM (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, a 60:40 partnership in favour of the Malaysian side, to excite Malaysians and foreigners alike in search of specific destination information just a mouse click away.
To drive home the use of online destination information, Rimman VM banking on Virtual Map's www.streetdirectory.com, a portal that allows surfers to view maps of several Asian countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
Users can also get online directions on how to get to places of interest in a particular country.
The portal will soon feature maps of Malaysian cities and towns, as well as other information relating to the country, Virtual Map president and chief executive officer Firdhaus Akber said.
Rimman International's country manager Zak Karim said the intelligent digital map featuring information about directions and places in Malaysia is expected to be available by the end of April.
The online map would start with the Klang Valley before covering gradually Johor Bahru, Ipoh and Penang, eventually, other major towns.
Along with the online map that will be able to provide accurate directions to guide users to their destination of choice, users can also update on traffic and weather conditions, Zak said.
The portal will also be a source of information with regards to places such as hotels, restaurants, mosques, road and building names, said Firdhaus who disclosed that the tie-up with Rimman International was formed "after a year of courting".
Firdhaus and Zak spoke about the Malaysian-Singapore partnership and its business plans in a recent interview in Petaling Jaya.
"Once the virtual Malaysia Street Directory via streetdirectory.com is up, it will be able to provide users around the world with a tremendous amount of information about our country," Zak said.
Rimman International, formed in 1984 as the IT arm of Kumpulan AKZ Sdn Bhd, was the country's first company to provide geographical information systems, automated mapping and facilities management solutions.
The company is better known as the publisher of the Kuala Lumpur & Klang Valley Street Directory. It has launched recently the third edition of this publication after selling 53,000 copies.
Virtual Map, meanwhile, is one of the top Singaporean companies in the business of digital geographical management information systems.
It operates currently in eight countries including Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and hopes to expand the figure to 11 by year-end.
The company's business strengths are its portal services (that include map application service and web-based GPS tracking solution), consultancy services, print media services and wireless services.
Online directory is not the only thing Virtual Map and its Malaysian partner are focusing on in Malaysia.
They also want to exploit opportunities in waste management services, as well as the consolidation of the transportation system.
Firdhaus said Virtual Map is exploring the prospects of offering its technology and know-how in the bus monitoring and scheduling system based on the GPS (Global Positioning System) application.
He revealed that the company had made initial contacts with "one or two" big local bus operators.
"Such a project will take about a year or so to be implemented. The cost ranges from RM2 million or RM3 million to over RM300 million, depending on the scale of the implementation."
Firdhaus noted that Virtual Map has provided bus monitoring and scheduling services for two big bus operators across the Causeway.