The reliance on digital maps by both businesses and web users is growing. Both parties are using the maps with greater frequency as technology is continually progressing. Consumers are using the map search for local businesses and other localized information while companies look to widen their exposure through establishing a map presence.  Having such a map presence is important in search engine optimization in order to optimize for local search and add pertinent information to related properties for local search. Now in recent days, the journey of one fortunate Indian man, Sanroo Brierly, has brought to light the inherently dynamic nature of digital maps and the kinds of possibilities it creates for the end-user experience.

In 1987, Sanroo Brierly was a small child lost in an unfamiliar part of India. He had boarded a train with his brother but after falling asleep onboard the two missed their stop and ended up hours away from home without any idea of how to get back. After months of searching, Brierly was declared a lost child and adopted by an Australian family where he has lived ever since. Now, college- educated and a shop owner in Tasmania, Brierly kept his search going for his birth family. He eventually looked to the internet for assistance trying to find information and imagery matching his loose recollections from his childhood. Eventually, in Google Earth he found his answer.

iven the high quality, realistic imagery that Google Earth delivers, Brierly was able to piece together the scenes he had in his head with those he found via the platform. In the end, it is a charming story of how technology was used to reunite a lost son with his family years later, but it also clearly represents an innovative application of the mapping technology. Organizations and businesses can utilize maps to greater degrees to engage with visitors to their sites for a more improved user experience. Realtors and property developers, for example, could use innovative features on maps for their customers to be able to experience a site location. Such applications of digital maps can work in tandem with SEO as once users are driven to the site, they are engaged, remain on the site, and come back regularly. Thus, this story serves as an example of how digital maps, given their dynamic nature, can be leveraged to further the value a specific web property has.