Top 20 BCIC-New Ventures Competition: Regional finalist Map Jungle of Prince George was highlighted in the Prince George Citizen last week as the only local company still in the competition.

Map Jungle, an Internet-based business that helps users find, organize and share geographic information, has made it to the third and final round of a New Ventures B.C. contest that will award seed money to the winners.

Simmons, a 41-year-old Prince George resident, will stand before a panel of judges today in Kelowna and present the Map Jungle concept. Presentations will also be made in Victoria, and the top three finishers in a group of about 17 will be handed cheques. The contest winner will receive $30,000. Second prize is $20,000 and third prize is $10,000.

Obviously, Simmons would put any cash winnings to good use. But, he’s more interested in the business knowledge he has already gained — and can continue to gain — through this process.

“The goal, really, is to get some first-hand advice from people that have gone through the process of starting up a high-tech company,” Simmons said.

“That’s the great value of this competition — it puts you in touch with people who have had the experience and can give you proper guidance, because that’s one of the great gaps I face when I’m starting a new venture. There are a lot of blinders and there’s not a lot of experience — especially in Prince George — in terms of this type of technology.”

Spawned from their existing business, the Angler’s Atlas, Map Jungle emerged as a new business opportunity and a solution to the challenges of working with large databases of lakes, maps and other geographic data. To make searching and organizing geographic data easier, Map Jungle is an online search platform that captures geographic information using the company’s innovative cataloging technology. Map Jungle allows clients to organize and share maps, GPS points, GIS Data and geo-tagged photos, creating an easy-to-manage catalog of geographic information.

Winners of the BCIC-NVC: Regional will be announced on February 24, 2011 in Kelowna.