Looking for some heavy duty equipment? Caterpillar just launched their new global dealer locator leveraging Microsoft’s Virtual Earth platform. The dealer locator application allows users to search by address, dealer name or latitude/longitude pair. Within each search type, there is a number of attributes to choose from to filter your search down to the exact location and type of dealer you’re looking for. You can specify the type of product you’re looking to purchase – Machine; Truck Engine; Marine Engine; Electrical Power Generator; or Industrial, Oil & Gas Rail Engines (some serious iron they’re pumping here). You can search based on the type of product you’re looking to rent – Machine or Tool; or Electrical Power Generator. And, you can search based on the type of product you’re looking to service – Machine, Truck Engine, Marine Engine, Electric Power Generator, or Industrial, Oil & Gas, Rail Engines. These values become a part of the search when the query is sent off to determine the best location to fit your needs.
Results are presented back in a list format highlighting the dealer in your area (in yellow) and additional dealers outside your area in case you’re up for the drive. If you click for more information on the dealer, you’ll get contact information, services offered, hours of operation, product models serviced and OEM affiliates. And, of course, a Virtual Earth map with a custom CAT icon which hovering over gives you the name of the dealer.
Caterpillar also provides links off to the dealer’s respective web site and a link for driving directions, using Virtual Earth’s routing algorithms. From the driving directions page you can change the original input address for searching and get step-by-step directions and a map with a route highlight on it. I really need to find a reason to buy a rail engine – such power should not be left untouched!