Craigslist is Testing Maps on Listings

One of the most frustrating things about Craigslist is that you never have any idea where exactly something is located beyond a general region. Unless the person selling (or renting) a home is kind enough to list the address on the ad (which is rare), finding more information about a place’s location requires you to reach out and contact the vendor directly. This is all well and good, but how many times does this phone call and/or email end in disappointment? One person’s general idea of South Austin could be the next person’s North Austin.

Craigslist is testing an answer to this very problem on its San Francisco, CA and Portland, OR sites. By adding maps to listings in its Housing area, users can get an immediate answer to the one important question facing them as they search for the perfect home: Where is it?

In order to accomplish this, Craigslist turned to OpenStreetMap, an open source volunteer-powered street mapping database that enables users and businesses to create maps without the bothersome licensing fees or usage requirements found on some commercial mapping services.

Craigslist has had its own battles with third-party companies that use its listings data to generate maps of available housing — PadMapper being one I’m quite familiar with, having used and reviewed it myself. By putting maps on the listings themselves, it makes printing these ads and finding the location (once an appointment has been made, of course) much easier.

The implementation of OpenStreetMap on Craigslist needs a little polish, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’d love to see a map that includes all current listings as well as some extra functionality such as sending the location to your Android phone for turn-by-turn navigation, but perhaps those are yet to come. Hopefully, folks in my area will get access to this feature before my lease expires next spring. Fingers crossed!

12 comments On Craigslist is Testing Maps on Listings

  • Omg no way Noooooo!!!!!

  • I think this is great, I live in Australia so I don’t use craigslist but we have a similar website called Gum Tree and adding maps to each ad would be fantastic so the buyer or the person interested in the product would know where its possibly coming from. Great article as well 😀

  • As long as they implement it in a smart way that doesn’t violate people’s privacy I am down for this. I could see this going badly though…

  • Hopefully this feature gets rolled out to every location and area. And possibly for every kind of section, not just home.

    A neat idea would be an app that points you to where the seller is located and where you can meet him. And also, maybe being able to facilitate where the seller and buyer meet up for the transaction. I know thats probably stretching it but still it would be neat! 🙂

  • This will only be for housing?
    There have been some times where I was selling something on Craigslist and the people had no idea where to meet. But talking over the phone with the people, we can usually find a good place to meet for the transaction.

    I think this would be cool if they add this to the selling part of craigslist, so if I want to sell something, I could set a specific location where I’d be willing to meet.

  • This is a GIANT leap forward for Craigslist. It is probably the biggest thing to happen to the site. One thing that I would still like to see though is an updated look to the site. It seems as if the site is stuck in the ’90s with the way it looks right now.

  • As Chris said, any new feature like this one is a HUGE improvement for a site like Craigslist. I used that site to sell a few things and find jobs that turned out to be scams. Seriously, that site looks like it was based on a Geocities page in 1999! Much like Reddit was/is now!

  • I didn’t even know craiglist :$

  • When I see comments about how simple and so “90’s” Craigslist or a few other sites I use appear I am afraid someone will pay attention and think they must change for the sake of change. Craigslist is simple to use, looks like classifieds, and I prefer it to some slick GUI someone might dream up. I’ve seen several pieces of software over the years also go from an easy to negotiate interface to a flashy hard to understand one for no reason at all.

  • it’ll be helpful to have the maps. i sold two cars on craigslist. it may be so “90’s” but i sold the cars in 2010 and 2009. not so long ago. anyway, now, future buyers will have a better idea where i am, when searching.

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Ryan Matthew Pierson