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Internet TripTik Provides Travel Information Quickly and Easily-A New Location-Based Service

AAA Develops Routing Online Service Using ArcIMS

It's more than just roadside assistance. AAA is a full-service company that offers travel, financial, home and automotive insurance, and other services to its millions of customers across the globe. And it's no slouch in the map-making department either, generating more than 45 million maps annually. And like so many other Businesses that keep offering newer and better services for consumers, AAA is jumping on the Web-wagon.

AAA recently began using GIS to provide a new, groundbreaking service where consumers can generate a map and access bucket loads of information to help plan vacations. Named Internet TripTik, the system allows any AAA member to go online, type in the origin and AAA's Internet TripTik web pagedestination, and up comes a map with a direct route to the location, and travel information not only for the destination, but for all along the route itself. And it's the geography that starts it all off.

"Internet TripTik provides a wealth of information such as scenic roads, gas, food, lodging, detour and construction information, and bridge and ferry information in an easy-to-follow, tiled maps format," says Ramin Kalhor, director of GIS Development and Support, AAA. "ArcIMS is used to manage requests and draw maps. The route is broken down into a series of tiles with related information for each tile represented alongside each map image."

AAA is an experienced GIS shop. Having used GIS for years to produce maps, AAA maintains a true enterprise, client/server GIS that leverages its GIS database and gives Business users throughout AAA access to valuable spatial information.

Now the company is taking advantage of Web-based GIS.

AAA has long provided travel information and routing to its members. The Web site development came after AAA recognized the many advantages of offering travel-related services over the Web. And with the advent of ArcIMS and its ability to be customizable and extensible to meet specific user needs, AAA quickly began development of an ArcIMS-based Web application. To meet the challenges of building such an advanced mapping engine, AAA again went with Esri, which had served AAA's digital map-making needs since 1997.

The site takes advantage of Java for advanced functionality, including the ability to pan, zoom, and drill down through digital map information, and provides optimized routes to locations. The new system augments traditional delivery methods and is designed to provide travel information to members in the comfort of their own homes.

The TripTik Solution

For many years, AAA has been producing TourBook guides that list AAA-rated hotels, restaurants, resorts, and other attractions. AAA has also been printing city, state, regional, and specialty maps, everything centered around the vacation spot a consumer would like to learn about. In a short time, all of this data will be integrated with AAA's Internet mapping products including the Internet TripTik. What was once exclusively a collection of paper-based book and map products is now available from the Web, and the information is generated in a fraction of the time.

"With this system, the member can get everything from their home," says Kalhor. "There will be significant benefits and opportunities resulting from the use of the Internet TripTik. AAA employees can spend more time with consumers, meeting their needs face to face rather than spending time at a computer or going over files to find data. This is a way to provide additional service to the member while improving how the AAA clubs operate."

According to AAA, one of the most profound benefits of its GIS is the ability to quickly provide the latest information to consumers. Updates are made continuously to the GIS database stored in ArcSDE for Informix. ArcIMS can then draw from this database when performing queries over the Web for consumers.

For more information, contact Ramin Kalhor (tel.: 407-444-8177, e-mail:

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