Canadian location-based data company sold to French firm

In a way, it’s a marriage of a Canadian electronic data specialist and a European company that focuses on snail mail.

DMTI Spatial, a Toronto-based provider of Canadian location-based data to governments and businesses and digital map companies like TomTom across the country, has been bought by Neopost Group, which provides mailroom solutions.

DMTI will fit well with three of Neopost’s digital data-related subsidiaries, John Fisher, the Canadian company’s chief executive officer and co-founder, said in an interview, and should lead to them making combined product offerings.

“We’ve been wanting to go global for a long time,” he added. “We feel is a really good mix that helps us take our technology to the world.”

This year DMTI products will be launched in France and another country, he said, and two more in Europe next year.

Neosoft divisions that DMTI would work with include GMC Software of Switzerland (which it bought last year), a maker of software for managing marking and billing information; Human Inference (also bought last year), a Dutch data quality solution provider; and

Neopost recently reported first half net income of 80 million euros on sales of 533 million euros.

His company could have got funding for expansion, he said, but with some 800,000 customers around the world Neopost “has tremendous market presence, which is going to help in getting our technology into the field.”

Traditionally DMTI has focused on selling to large companies, Fisher said. But Neopost, which has a Canadian division, has a sales staff which will allow it to pitch service to small and mid-sized companies.

One benefit of the deal is that DMTI will be adding to its staff of 50, he said.

Founded in 1994 by Fisher and his partner, chief operating officer Glenor Pitters, DMTI buys data from some 7,000 sources including GPs and satellite imagery that pinpoint the location of property, buildings and roads across Canada.

You’d think that a street address would be enough for some purposes. Not so, says Fisher.

“Address data is the dirtiest information in the world because everybody thinks they know what their address is. But they’re constantly making mistakes.”

DMTI (which stands for Digital Mapping Technologies Inc.) cleans and standardizes data before selling it.

For some organizations — like financial institutions underwriting mortgages — location data is essential. While most people know a property by a street address, provinces describe property by a legal address through a land title.

Once the address has been nailed down the financial institution can link it to other pieces of information it has like assessment data, environmental risks on the property and so on.

Marketers can use DMTI’s data to segment customers by address, governments can use it for emergency planning as well as to detect fraud, and telecommunications companies can use it to enhance network design.

Customers include Apple Inc., Rogers Communications, Bell Canada, Telus Corp., Shopper’s Drug Mart, Manulife, Purolator, the RCMP and Canadian Tire.

The data is sold as a software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Fisher got the idea for starting DMTI working for the Ontario ministry of health to solve the problem of ambulance dispatchers having to find the precise location of people who called for help. He created a mapping and database solution and has been in related businesses since.

Before starting DMTI he headed a geographic information systems company.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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