As online mapping services develop over the coming years, they will become more and more accessible from mobile, GPS enabled devices (or non-GPS devices like Apple’s iPhone). They will also become the norm. People will use these services without a second thought, in the same way that many now turn to wikipedia or Google instead of the more traditional encyclopedia or directory.

As advertisers realise this they will cotton on to a, as yet relatively untapped, marketing platform; roofs.

Walk down any high street and you’ll see a whole host of signs and window dressing designed to help you identify establishments and attract you to them.

Sooner, rather than later, these same properties will have logos and marketing material displayed on their rooftops, specifically aimed at those of us who like to find maps online.

Overtime these mapping services (Google, streetmap, etc) will also become more powerful and offer functionality such as live mapping. Today you can choose between the traditional map and the more impressive aerial photo view of your chosen area. Live mapping will allow you to view live, right this second, feeds of the place you’re looking for, and eventually it may even be possible to offer video streaming aerial shots of the place in question. When this happens the opportunity for video and other moving adverts will take hold and the above mentioned logos and marketing materials could also include video and animation.

Maybe even architects will come to design with aerial photography in mind. Imagine building the new corporate headquarters for lets say Google. How tempting would it be to build a campus that spells out “G O O G L E” if looked at from above?

For those of you who are dismissing all of this speculation, it’s worth pointing out that this isn’t a new concept. Just think of the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset, or crop circles, people have been making aerial viewable imagery for centuries. Thanks to these new mapping services, there will soon be a commercial incentive.

Update – 16 July 2013

It took six years, but it happened: As predicted 6 years ago rooftop advertising is go