by Tom Isler | August 01, 2007

Computer screen with mapFor planners who haven’t yet made the leap from printed maps to online interactive maps for trade shows or conventions, here’s a peek at what you’re missing.

MapYourShow (, a company based in Cincinnati, offers an innovative search engine of exhibitors linked to their booth locations on a trade show floor map. Organizers can charge exhibitors to upgrade their online listings with photos, videos and extra text. Attendees can even use the map to generate an agenda of appointments with exhibitors based on booth location.

The Map Network (, based in Washington, D.C., allows planners to pinpoint everything associated with a convention (i.e., hotels, shuttle routes, parking lots, event venues) and other local hot spots (Starbucks, top restaurants, 24-hour pharmacies) on a single customized city map.

Some of the country’s biggest trade shows -- and more than 100 convention and visitor bureaus -- have enthusiastically embraced interactive maps in the past few years in an ongoing effort to improve the attendee and visitor experience.

Shane Green, president and CEO of The Map Network, which was acquired last December by Chicago-based map giant Navteq, says that as more cities upload venues and areas of interest to city maps, and as more hotels and convention centers add their floor plans to the mix, the easier the job will be for planners to customize event maps online. The Map Network is working to make its maps accessible via mobile devices by year’s end, adds Green.