Mapping News

January 6, 2011

NAVTEQ Demos the New "Natural Guidance" Navigation System


Some may think that map making is boring work, but NAVTEQ has something up their sleeve that could revolutionize and humanize the navigation industry in ways that we hadn't imagined. Not since text to speech has a feature offered so much potential for helping people recognize the directions they get from their navigator.

NAVTEQ has teamed with NNG (formerly Nav n Go) on the iGO My Way app using data from around Las Vegas to give attendees of CES a way to experience the new navigation method. The Natural Guidance system offers directions like, "turn right before the tall white tower," or "turn left before the Circle K," which is a significant improvement to the "turn left in 300 feet" commands provided by current navigation systems.

The only hesitation I have is that you will still had the same graphics on the screen of the GPS, and not a full color representation of the road ahead. Will the audio be enough as you are looking forward out of your car to cognitively recognize your turn better than today's navigation systems? I think 20 minutes using one of these will answer this question.

Press release follows....

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

December 8, 2010

OpenStreetMaps - Its Effect Moving Forward

OpenStreetMaps is a six year old effort to map the streets around the world as an open source database that allows developers to utilize the maps and citizen mappers add to the accuracy of the map set.

That openness and eventually the accuracy may hurt TeleAtlas and NAVTEQ sales if the maps become accurate enough to support some current business applications. However, while the crowd is busy sourcing maps, NAVTEQ and TeleAtlas are busy not only mapping, but measuring lanes, speed limits, and a lot of advanced features of the roads that are becoming the true value in map sets and valuable features of end-user products.

Could OpenStreetMaps replace paid maps from the two biggie suppliers? Is Google going to become a third player in the global map supplier race?

The Wall St Journal takes a look at the powerful business implications that come with "Good Enough" supplanting "Top Notch" and how OpenStreeMaps may change the current mapping business.

At WSJ - OpenStreetmap as an Alternative to Commercial Vendors

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 11, 2010

Magellan/Mitac Move to TeleAtlas Maps - Dump NAVTEQ

It was only a matter of time after the acquisition of Magellan by now parent company Mitac/Mio before they dumped NAVTEQ maps and went with TeleAtlas. The news hit the wire this morning.

Magellan had long used NAVTEQ maps whereas Mitac used Teleatlas. With a need to simplify, and cost save, Mitac did the predictable thing; go with their preferred supplier. The move has long been rumored by insiders and GPS-geeks alike on GPS forum boards and on Twitter.

TeleAtlas used to be under constant fire in the US for its poor quality maps, but they have largely erased that deficiency offering updated maps on a regular basis, taking crowdsourced input on map fixes, sending vans out to map more and more details so that they can offer lane guidance and more.

Press Release Follows......

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 7, 2010

NAVTEQ to Revolutionize the Way We Get GPS Directions

NAVTEQ has been quietly amassing the capability to revolutionize the way we get our directions from a GPS system, making them more intuitive and easier to understand. The change is in how it offers us directions; making them more human-like or more natural, "Turn Right at the Traffic Light" instead of "Turn Right in 400 Yards". The data would be embedded in the mapping data set that also includes the street pronunciation information alongside information on the

This type of capability requires the collection, interpretation and digitization of map data that is different than the miles of roads, millions of intersections and signs that are currently in the mapping inventory. The new dataset is available in select cities, with plans to add more throughout North America in 2011. While the raw capability exists from NAVTEQ, it is still up to the GPS maker to put the feature into the GPS.

At this writing, both Garmin and Magellan use NAVTEQ maps for stand alone GPS units. Magellan's parent company, Mitac, uses TeleAtlas maps, which may change Magellan's approach to its map sourcing. Recall that NAVTEQ is owned by Nokia.

Below is a video from NAVTEQ that talks about the new mapping capability.

The full press release follows after the jump.....

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 17, 2010

Ride Along Video: Mapping With NAVTEQ did a quick video on mapping with a NAVTEQ truck this morning, and in there you get an idea of what the work might be like. I rode along with a TeleAtlas van a few years ago and saw the power of these mapping vehicles, from their sophisticated GPS tracking capabilities to track which lane you rode in to the cameras that captured the road signs all being stored in the onboard servers.

Mapping and data collection has come a long way, and is not without controversy, as Google is embroiled in a struggle with an ever growing list of organizations and governments over its StreetView capabilities as it maps new roads and captures street level images as it goes.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 23, 2010

TeleAtlas MultiNet - New More Detailed Maps

TeleAtlas announced the availability of new MultiNet maps for use in GPS manufacturers' plans for their upcoming product development cycles. The improvements include a global approach to crowdsourcing map details, adding a long list of changes as a result of user input, and the mapping of curve and gradient details on maps.

With more than 32 million kilometers (20 million miles), Tele Atlas maps cover more roads, more countries and more people than any other available map, with comprehensive location and navigation content of 95 countries and territories in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

"Our strategy is to deliver the highest quality and most up-to-date location and navigation content available. We continue to invest in critical geographies, as well as build out more advanced features in developing markets," said Peter Davie, director of product management, Tele Atlas. "By delivering new products and offerings, including innovations based on community input, we are able to meet our global customer needs and deliver the content that will differentiate their offerings."

Full press release after the jump.......

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 19, 2010

Update Your Garmin and TomTom Maps? Lifetime/Regular Map Upgrades

Got Maps? Well eventually you need to upgrade your maps and I want to explain a couple of options I like that get you updated maps almost all the time.


Garmin has a lifetime map upgrade for North America at a $95 price point. Sure it's a lot, but at about $50 a year, this is a pretty good deal to keep your GPS updated for the long haul. The $95 gets you updated maps about every quarter for the lifetime of the device that you register it with.

There are no monthly fees or continuing maintenance costs; you pay only once per Garmin GPS. When you want to update your maps, connect your device to your computer and log into your myGarmin account, where the latest map data is ready to load to your individual device. We're constantly gathering new map data, and a new update is available up to four times per year. Sign up for our email notification, and we'll email you when the newest data is available.

Garmin nüMaps Lifetime North America Map Updates


TomTom takes a slightly different approach - they give you quarterly updates for $9.95, or less than $40 annually. This deal is also pretty good, as you start to add it all up. The offer is good on one device. From TomTom:

How does it work?
  • Each time you connect your device to your computer, TomTom HOME will let you know if a new map is waiting for you.
  • New maps are released each quarter and are added to your account as soon as they are available.
  • Warning - Map Update Service starts with the latest map, so you may have to upgrade your map at a discounted price

TomTom Map Update Service

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 7, 2010

TomTom Lifetime Map Updates - Future Models


TomTom announced that they will include lifetime map updates on a range of GPS models that are coming in 2010. That's the good news; we'll see what the price is, or which models it is incorporated into. I expect these models to be announced as a part of CeBit.

Map updates are consistently one of the things that I hear frustrates readers, and it's not surprising that TomTom is seeking to address the pain. Of course people want their maps magically updated while the unit sits in the glove compartment, but that technology hasn't been invented quite yet; you will have to connect to TomTom Home from your computer to download the updates if you want them. The updates are from TomTom's mapping company, TeleAtlas, and is a sure sign of them leveraging their own map company. The updates are officially released quarterly.

Full press release is below....

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 8, 2009

TomTom Announces OpenLR Initiative - Open Source Location Reference Technology

TomTom has announced a new open source program that shrewdly puts them in the middle of the map and location based universe should the technology be widely adapted. As in all open source moves, you give and you get; enabling a wide array of capabilities based on a technology specification that you control, enable and eventually profit from. No it doesn't mean free maps, but instead the technology platform that they live upon so that location based data uses the same Location Referencing technology.
The technology allows "enables reliable data exchange and cross-referencing using digital maps of different vendors and versions", according to TomTom. Could be a big, bold program if key stakeholders jump on; clearly TomTom and TeleAtlas are there.

More at TomTom's site for OpenLR
Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 11, 2009

NAVTEQ LBS Challenge Finalists

I always like to see what's around the corner in these Location Based Services contests that tend to keep your finger on the pulse of newness and consumer needs. This year, the finalists include entries that search out what's happening sourced from peers and content feeds, a taxi ordering service from your mobile phone that also offers the ability for taxi firms to bid for your business, and a multi-modal point to point navigation service that takes into account surface, and air transportation options. From the NAVTEQ Press Release:

"We are very excited about the opportunity to help crown an overall global CHAMPION for the NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge and I know that the ESNC experts will take their judging task very seriously. They represent a cross-section of well-networked influencers in the satellite navigation industry with a wealth of knowledge in helping smaller companies grow their business," commented Thorsten Rudolph, CEO of ESNC organizer Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen.

The three regional Grand Prize Winners from the 2009 Global LBS Challenge whom will be competing at the ESNC International Evaluation Meeting are:

  • skobbler GmbH, Germany - Grand Prize Winner EMEA: skobbler is a mobile application that allows young, urban consumers to share information, personal comments, useful tips and recommendations on places and activities around a city in realtime. The application combines, for example, local search of NAVTEQ dynamic content, such as events or movies, with sponsored advertising links and a full-fledged GPS navigation.

  • T+1 Solutions, Estonia - Grand Prize Winner Americas: Taxi4me is a mobile taxi ordering service that helps consumers anywhere in the world connect with trusted taxi companies. The desired time and destination is sent from a user's mobile phone to a taxi brokering server. Local taxi companies then submit competitive bids and proposed routes back to the consumer.

  • NAVITIME Japan Co., Ltd. - Grand Prize Winner APAC: NAVITIME is a point-to-point route search and multi-modal navigation service allowing users to get to their destination by any major transportation method - walking, driving, trains and subway, buses, taxis and airlines - and to explore cities visited through NAVTEQ Discover Cities(TM).

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 6, 2009

waze Launches iPhone App - Community Sourced Mapping

waze, a community sourced mapping company has launched an iPhone Application, available now in the iTunes store. Not only will they map the roads, but will offer traffic conditions too. I'll have to check it out.

Through a community of drivers, waze harnesses driver-generated data to build road maps and provide real-time traffic information to commuters. Unlike static maps and first-generation traffic networks, waze relies on a community of drivers to both populate the maps and provide daily traffic information. As more and more iPhone users download and use the app, the maps and traffic information will become more robust and accurate over time.

“This is just the start of a crowd-sourced project that will change the way drivers make their daily driving decisions,” said Noam Bardin, the company’s CEO. “Our community of drivers contributes driving information passively via our free mobile application and all members get to enjoy the outcome, namely free turn-by-turn navigation and real-time traffic information. As in all community applications, the more users drive with our app, the better the map and traffic data become for all. We invite anyone with an iPhone to join the revolution and help us build the world’s largest community of drivers.”

More at waze

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 8, 2009

Trimble and NAVTEQ tie the Knot - Long Term Map, Traffic and Truck Navigation Data

Trimble and NAVTEQ have inked a deal with NAVTEQ supplying global map data as well as advanced information including traffic, and truck-specific information that NAVTEQ supplies. The information will allow Trimble to compete in Mobile Resource Management solutions through its suite of product offerings. As these capabilities continue to develop, the prevalence of usage has to increase. Look for bleed over of these capabilities into the consumer market as location based services continues to push forward.

Full Press Release Below

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 6, 2009

DeLorme Enters Worldwide Map Data Market

DeLorme announced that they are entering the mapping arena for third party applications, OEM, etc. They now have routable streets as well as trails for the US, while also offering world wide data. The quality maps that you have seen on StreetAtlas, are now available for us elsewhere. Big step for them as they continue to expand their influence and flex muscle in the mapping area, an offshoot of their longtime application development and hardware development.

At Delorme

Full Press Release Below

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 19, 2009

Waze - Driver Generated Mapping Program


Waze is trying to change how people think and interact with their navigation device, by getting citizen mappers and traffic spotters out there to help generate an accurate view of the road network, traffic conditions and accidents. The Waze platform sits on your smartphone and anonymously sends information back about your location, speed, allowing you to "report" on your travels. With enough users, the platform can become highly accurate and allow for the most up to date information.

Waze announced that they are starting a public Alpha today and will open it up to a beta test later this year. The program is available only for the Android family of phones, and wil soon be available for the iPhone (now you're talking!). It's pretty ambitious to do all of this on a smartphone, but they have a history of success in Israel where they started.

"waze launched its first mobile application in Israel, where it has been downloaded by more than 80,000 commuters and is the fastest-growing navigation application in that market. Within less than a year the community created the entire navigable map from scratch, and real-time traffic information reached approximately 90 percent coverage and over 85 percent 'estimated time of arrival' accuracy. waze has tens of thousands of daily commuters in Israel, using it several times a day to receive optimal traffic-aware routing to their destination for free."

More at

Full Press Release after the jump.....

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

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