Page Two

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2005-02-07 Print this article Print

After looking at several vendors solutions, Meister and his team decided to deploy the Envinsa Location Platform from MapInfo Corp., of Troy, N.Y.

"We looked at just about everyone out there when we first started choosing a partner," Meister said. "Who knew what the future would hold if the product became wildly successful? We wanted to talk to [vendors] offering a solution on a variety of platforms in order to really scale, and that narrowed the field quickly."

MasterCards IT staff retooled its location applications to work with Envinsa, which uses the Java 2 platform and Web services. Each location-based capability is delivered as a Web service through WSDL (Web Services Description Language), SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) and XML.

Moving to Web services was important, Meister said, because Web services enable MasterCard to quickly deploy services to multiple platforms.

Since deploying the MapInfo Envinsa platform, Meister estimates that data accuracy has increased by more than 50 percent. Use of the ATM Locator Service has also increased and now averages about 5,000 hits per day. Currently, users who log on to the MasterCard Web site to find the location of an ATM receive the same results as a cardholder who dials the ATM Locator Service.

Click here to find out how the Bay Area Rapid Transit District is using MapInfo software to enhance its public-safety initiatives. The service generated an estimated $5 million in revenues last year, according to Meister, who said that figure is expected to continue to rise as MasterCard expands the service beyond North America.

Deploying the location-based platform has enabled MasterCard to drive traffic to new ATMs—and businesses—more effectively as well. Convenience stores and retail outlets that own ATMs, for example, can increase business by listing their location in MasterCards directory, Meister said.

"Our goal is to help customers, bank issuers and card issuers build volume at their acceptance locations or at their ATMs," Meister said. "Since the software is very easy to manage and use, as soon as a new ATM location is added, its very easy for an administrative person to update the system with that information."

Using Web services and Envinsa, MasterCard has extended its service to the wireless arena. Last year, the company partnered with Telus Corp., a cellular carrier based in Vancouver, British Columbia, to provide mobile customers with the ability to use the wireless Web to locate ATMs.

Using middleware written in-house at MasterCard, the carriers can use the companys Web services to provide location-based information. Now, by typing their location into their cell phones, Telus subscribers can receive a text message with the address of the nearest Cirrus ATM.

With cellular companies tapping GPS coordinates to pinpoint the location of a caller to within 50 feet, MasterCard hopes to be able to provide ATM location services without requiring cell phone customers to manually provide their ZIP code or street location. The company hopes to begin providing wireless services in Europe and the United States within a year, Meister said.

MasterCard also uses MapInfo software internally to conduct data scrubbing to determine, for example, how close two MasterCard client businesses are to one another.

"The platform allows us to grow, which is important because the number of customers that use the service grows faster than I realize," Meister said. "Its a great position to be in."

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in Web services.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel