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WebMap, Worldspan to Offer Internet Travel Site Navigation

ATLANTA - Worldspan announced an agreement with WebMap Technologies Inc of Tel Aviv, a developer of visual Web navigation software, to develop and launch a customized Web solution designed to help travel agents and other users locate specific Internet travel sites and content useful in travel planning. WebMap will license its Web navigation technology to Worldspan of Atlanta.

Worldspan will evaluate the new travel resource, which will be showcased initially on the Worldspan Web site (worldspan.com) later this year, for integration into other Worldspan products and for additional strategic opportunities.

The deal represents WebMap's first significant and long-term contract for its capabilities within any industry, the companies said.

WebMap uses traditional navigation, browsing and searching in a single visual interaction-zooming. It is designed to provide a user-friendly visual guide to information embedded in Web sites, intranets and extranets.

In addition, by representing links visually, WebMap saves screen space, which is designed to be an important feature for small-screen wireless devices. WebMap functions also have the ability to be touch driven, enabling non-keyboard platforms.

Worldspan and WebMap have agreed to co-develop a customized version of the Web zooming technology focusing exclusively on travel-related websites.

The companies said that with a selection of easy-to-find Internet travel sites at their fingertips, users will be able to plan trips and purchase travel-related merchandise faster and more effectively.

Upon development of a successful proof of concept, the agreement enables Worldspan to integrate the solution into applicable Worldspan e-commerce products and to market it within the travel industry.

"Our partnership with WebMap Technologies marks a milestone in Worldspan's development of e-commerce solutions for the travel market, allowing us to bring a key product to market faster than ever before," said Jesse Liebman, senior vice president and general manager of worldwide travel supplier services for Worldspan.

"This unique new way to retrieve web-based information is easier and more convenient than current methods and leaves users satisfied, rather than frustrated, when navigating the Internet," said WebMap chief executive Michael Irons Technologies.

WebMap has raised $6 million in financing from IRR, Technorov and private investors.

One of the company's initial seed investors is Shlomo Kramer, co-founder of Check Point Software. The company's advisory board includes Daniel Kleitman, former Mathematics Department chairman at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nobel Prize winner Sheldon Glashow and Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow.

Worldspan provides global electronic distribution of travel information, Internet products and connectivity and electronic commerce capabilities for travel agencies, travel service providers and corporations worldwide.

The company's three lines of business are travel supplier services, e-commerce, and global distribution systems for the worldwide travel industry.

The Worldspan reservations system provides nearly 21,000 travel agencies and other users worldwide with travel data and booking capabilities for hundreds of the world's leading travel supplier services. Worldspan processes more than 50 percent of all online travel bookings.

Worldspan is owned by affiliates of Delta Air Lines Inc, Northwest Airlines and Trans World Airlines.

Worldspan recently joined the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce-Southeast Region, banding together with such diverse companies as BellSouth, The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Nortel and others.