BERRIMA man Alex McNaught is in the business of telling people where to go.
Mr McNaught, of FindMap.com.au, is providing people with all the information they need to locate items and sites of interest on their personal computers and through websites.
And he is soon to put himself on the map in the digital world of iPhones.
Mr McNaught’s fascination with geographical locations is something that stems from his childhood.
“When I was 16 I would go into school early each morning and spend time in the geography room to study maps,” he said.
He said he also had an interest in maths and physics as an inquisitive teenager.
It was an interest that saw him go on to study a geophysics degree.
“Part of the requirement for my degree was to also study computer science,” he said.
“I originally did it because I had to but quickly found that I loved what I was doing so I went on to complete a four year course in the subject.”
It was a decision that has served Mr McNaught well in his career.
He said the analytical requirements of geophysics, the technological components of computer science and his lifelong fascination with geography and maps had resulted in a career path that had forged ahead in the cyber world.
Mr McNaught said he spent several years working for a major mining company creating and finetuning their computer systems to give them a business edge.
“I started with a company based in Circular Quay and would travel around the country to set up computer systems for this company in mining regions,” he said.
“I later took on a job with a software company based in the Southern Highlands which had mining connections around the world.
“My role was to create mining and exploration software for the company’s clients around the world.
“It was in the 1980s at a time where big computer systems were common - I helped this company develop a more powerful computer at a desktop level.”
It was Mr McNaught first entry into PC technology, but it wasn’t to be his last.
Mr McNaught said he was inspired by the opportunity to the move towards stronger programs in smaller, more accessible systems.
It is an inspiration that has seen him continue on the path of developing more programs and applications with a focus on spatial concepts.
Mr McNaught branched out in his own business in 1994.
He said he started writing software programs for PC maps to fund his business but his analytical mind soon saw him expanding his interests.
“Computer technology evolved from 1995-2000 with the first generation of reasonably smart phones coming on the market,” he said.
“I had an idea to bring together technology and information to identify locations of towns, suburbs and points of interest in an easily accessible mapping form.
“I won a contract with Optus in 2000 to create a mobile search system between computers and phones.
“It is something we now take for granted, but back then it was new and innovative.”
The contract was short lived and was dropped when Optus was bought out by SingTel, but Mr McNaught didn’t give up hope on the concept since it proved so popular.
He continued to develop programs to be used on PCs and websites.
These have been picked up by major companies eager to keep track of their broad-reaching operations, smaller businesses stay well-informed to move forward and individuals wanting to finetune their busy schedules.
The common goal with all is that they are striving to maintain a competitive edge in business and life in general.
Applications developed by Mr McNaught are also used on many well-known websites including eBay.
He said it was his applications that enabled people to identify the area in which they wanted to purchase an item in an effort to reduce extensive travel for pick-up and excessive delivery expenses.
Another client, Dan Murphy’s, uses applications developed by Mr McNaught that enable people to identify the nearest store without moving away from their computer.
However, Mr McNaught’s greatest achievement is just around the corner with two of his applications to be available on iPhone within weeks and several more applications in the pipeline.
He said he had spent much of his life working to create smart technology that could be delivered in smaller systems.
“To develop information that can be accessed with the touch of a finger on someone’s phone is a lifelong goal realised,” he said.
The first application to be released by Mr McNaught later this month is “Where is that?”
The program will enable people to identify places and related information including post codes, nearest towns and distance to major cities.
It will provide details of more than 17,000 suburbs around Australia.
The second application due out in November is “On the Fly”.
This will provide a range of family friendly information for people on their travels include the location of food outlets, shopping centres, parks, public toilets, petrol stations and much more.
Mr McNaught said his greatest focus was on accuracy of information and he had travelled extensively to collect information provided through his programs.
“My intention is to develop quality programs that people can know and trust,” he said.
“I’ve done the hard work in research so that people can be smarter and more efficient in what they do.
“This is helping people save time and money in their day to day life and I have several other add-ons and programs in the pipeline.”
Details: 0413 483 159 or www.findmap.com.au