March 4, 2008

Navigon FreshMaps - Quarterly Updates to Your Maps


In a pretty innovative move here, Navigon answers the age old question "When can I get Updated Maps?"; they've announce the "FreshMaps" solution. Map makers get millions of updates each year, and it's a tough road to get from the new street getting paved to getting it on your GPS device. There has been a lot of movement in this area recently: TomTom has MapShare, the ability to send in minor map and POI changes to share with other users, Dash Navigation is gathering map and road data sent back by its (beta) users learning about new roads as you drive over them, and of course TomTom is trying to buy map maker TeleAtlas.

Navigon's move sends fully verified map updates to your unit; touting the NAVTEQ capabilities to generate accurate changes and quarterly releases. There is a process to get NAVTEQ data formatted into GPS unit data and sent out to users; not an easy task and clearly Navigon has figured out how to make this cost effective.

Navigon ups the bar on the map race here, as they essentially set up a subscription model that has you paying $79 for 3 year's worth of quarterly map updates. This is pretty good considering that some GPS makers charge that much each year. My sense is that the map area is ripe for cost savings and efficiency moves. A year ago, I talked with a brand manager who indicated that the cost of a map license was a major part of the cost of the device, upwards to $50. A big hinderance in trying to get to a $100 price point. With recent holiday prices on units in the $100 - $140 range, and this move by Navigon with FreshMaps, my hope is that things have changed in that area.

Press Release below...

NAVIGON, the fastest growing brand in GPS navigation in North America, today announced a bold solution to a conundrum that is as old as the consumer GPS category itself: how to provide consumers regular, easy access to quality map updates.

NAVIGON's convincing response to the dilemma is FreshMaps, a new service that ensures NAVIGON GPS devices stay accurate and viable over the long haul by allowing users to download up to 12 map updates in three years. NAVIGON FreshMaps is available for all NAVIGON 7100, 5100, and 2100/2120 series devices and can be purchased online and at major North American retail outlets for $79.99 (MSRP).

In the GPS category, where devices are only as accurate as the data that drives them, the question of providing consumers with map updates has long been an issue. Where some GPS device makers sell ad hoc single map updates and others offer more frequent--but unverified--maps that are updated by user communities, NAVIGON's FreshMaps uses trusted, field-verified, and quality-controlled map and POI updates. The service is designed to balance quality with quantity.

"Industry figures suggest the road network changes 15 to 20 percent annually. POI data is even more turbulent. FreshMaps is designed to provide users peace of mind by giving them regular access to quality map and POI updates," said Andreas Hecht, NAVIGON's President for the Americas. "FreshMap updates are field-verified, road-tested, and quality-controlled at the source. NAVIGON's solution is to provide our customers what they want: regular, quality map updates that are easy to access."

NAVIGON's FreshMaps is based on data from NAVTEQ, the GPS industry's leading digital map data provider. NAVTEQ field geographers painstakingly profile each road link with 262 attributes to ensure data reflects real world conditions. NAVTEQ implements more than 600,000 changes to its digital maps every day--and more than 150 million changes a year. NAVTEQ maps are used more than 100 million times every day by consumers using online map, wireless automotive, consumer device, fleet, and governmental GPS systems.

Activating NAVIGON's FreshMaps is easy and only takes a few minutes. Customers simply can go to to download a new map onto their NAVIGON GPS navigator every three months. FreshMaps is set to hit shelves in April 2008.

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Posted by Scott Martin at March 4, 2008 9:10 AM

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