March 21, 2008

TomTom - TeleAtlas Deal Looks More Certain


Reports are coming out that despite EU regulator concerns about the TeleAtlas/TomTom deal, that it is set to go through. Clearly TomTom will need to make some concessions to reduce the concern about the deal negatively affecting the market. With Nokia in a deal to buy NAVTEQ, it appears that the market is going to need assurances about access to data from the two new owners of the world's mapping data.

Either way, TomTom is acting to get their mapping needs in order, and that started in earnest last year when they announced MapShare which crowdsources map fixes. The deal with TeleAtlas only makes it more obvious that they are interested in making map quality a competitive advantage instead of a competitive disadvantage.

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

January 2, 2008

DeLorme TOPO USA 7.0

The new DeLorme Topo USA 7.0 software is out and it’s packed with new features, making it a great tool for trip planning and general interest use. I have personally used both DeLorme Street Atlas and DeLorme Topo a lot for planning hiking trips and road trips on both bike and by car for a long time. I have seen them packed with capability that is hard to beat, and just when you think that you couldn’t learn any more about its power, there’s another twist to be discovered.

Available with or through download the new Topo USA 7.0 has six types of maps/charts, including aerial imagery, NOAA nautical charts and USGS high resolution surveys and imagery, which is in addition to the previously available USGS 1:24,000 quads, USGS b&w aerial imagery, and 10-meter color satellite imagery. You get $100 worth of download credits when you buy the map package.

Handheld GPS users will be happy to display their GPS tracks and routes on the maps as an overlay. From the Topo USA 7.0 you can create routes, waypoints and tracks that can be uploaded to your NMEA GPS, which means not only the DeLorme PN-20, but Garmin and Magellan handhelds too. Going the other way, routes, tracks and waypoints can then be taken off the GPS and turned into routable roads or trails within Topo USA 7.0.

Topo USA 7.0 is a geotagging tool also, with the ability to match up the time stamp on the camera and your handheld GPS to display photos on the map where you took them. Makes for a fun way to create a very useful tool to both enjoy your trip and document key features of areas that you visit.

The Topo USA capabilities are improved here too, as they can not only import gpx and loc files, but you can now you can import full Geocache descriptions with the hints preserved.

PN20_Topo7_button.jpgThere's more than I can write about here. The TOPO USA 7.0 comes alone or bundled with the DeLorme PN-20 handheld GPS that can also display downloaded maps and aerial imagery.

For more information on the TOPO USA 7.0 software or the PN-20 handheld GPS, see the website.

Also at Amazon - DeLorme TOPO USA 7.0

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

November 8, 2007

How Many Points of Interest (POI) is Good Enough on a GPS?

I get this question a lot, and too much is never enough in most cases, but the issue comes down to cost of the GPS and the ability to navigate through all of those POI with ease.

Cost - When GPS companies get the map data from their suppliers, they get much more information that they want to use and cram onto the GPS that they sell you; millions of POI, and a lot of information on roadways that may not be helpful to the average driver. Their job is to encode the data so that their systems can use it, and cut that dataset down so it fits on the hardware. Storage costs money, and while memory is dropping fast these days, the list price of a GPS is dropping faster. Then there are some benchmarks for storage space as it relates to the amount of data; so for instance, it’s easy to source a 1GB storage chip for a GPS, but the roadways in the US come pretty close to 1GB, and that only leaves yo u a little bit of room for POI; thus you need to chop the number you can fit.

more after the jump...

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

Garmin has 5% Stake in TeleAtlas; TomTom has 28%

Word has it that Garmin has launched a hostile bid on TeleAtlas and has taken some distinct action steps in moving towards its takeover of TeleAtlas by taking a pretty decent stake in the company. The Dutch equivalent of the SEC has shown filings that describe a greater than 5% stake in TeleAtlas by Garmin. They only need to disclose in increments of 5% thereafter, so who knows what they might have amassed by today, but it’s probably somewhere south of 10%.

While that may be good for Garmin, it appears that TomTom beat a pathway to TeleAtlas first and has 28% already, making it the single largest holder of TeleAtlas stock. As such, this might allows TomTom to thwart any move to get a majority for Garmin.

Readmore on the bidding war at Money Morning.

Thanks to Jim for sending this in.

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

November 7, 2007

TomTom Raises Bid for TeleAtlas

TomTom has raised the bid for TeleAtlas after rival Garmin bid on the map maker last week. The offer is for $4.2 Billion a big jump from the Garmin offer that is said to be valued at about $3.3 Billion. That’s a big jump and one has to wonder how high the bidding war will go; I mean hey this is better than a hot item on eBay isn’t it? Just minus the listing fee.

The big issue for the loser in this battle is where to get your map data, from your GPS based competitor or the Big Huge Nokia phone company turned Location Based Services competitor. Bad news either way. Stay tuned.

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

October 1, 2007

Nokia to Buy NAVTEQ


In a not so surprising development, NAVTEQ is being bought by Nokia; in the wake of TomTom’s acquisition of TeleAtlas, the other major map maker, I am not surprised to see the acquisition news. I am surprised to see that it’s Nokia though. The acquisition cements Nokia’s desire to be a more active player in Location Based Services (LBS), and in connecting people to places.

The price is $8.1 billion, or $78 per share. Reports indicate that NAVTEQ talked to several suitors before landing on Nokia. No doubt the weak dollar played to Nokia’s favor.

Is Garmin Next?
In light of Nokia’s recent GPS/PND introductions, one has to imagine the potential for Nokia to make an overture for Garmin, not content to stop at just acquiring the map content. While mobile phones are going to play an as yet to be determined big role in navigation, stand alone devices are going to be around for a long time. Nokia has to be envious of Garmin’s market position. So while Garmin’s stock was hit pretty hard today, off about 12% all day, as most analysts think that the GPS maker would suffer under the NAVTEQ/Nokia deal, one has to imagine that life for Garmin could be better after the deal, either indirectly (Nokia drives vast improvements in the NAVTEQ capability) or directly (Nokia buys interest in Garmin).

Never a slow ride in this fast developing market. Stay tuned.

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

September 25, 2007

TeleAtlas 3-D Buildings in US


Who wants 3-D images for the US? Yea, I do. Well TeleAtlas is working on it with a few hundred landmarks in the US for us to start one. Now we just need a faster processors and huge memory chips, and we'll be all set for the whole country's worth of 3-D buldings.

GPS users will soon see the shingles lining historic ballparks, windowpanes stretching above the Manhattan skyline and the smile on Abraham Lincoln’s face more clearly. Tele Atlas, a leading global provider of digital maps and dynamic content for navigation and location-based solutions, today announced it will make available more than 400 detailed 3D (three dimensional) landmarks of notable North American structures for use in navigation devices and location-based applications, including Fenway Park, the Empire State Building and Lincoln Memorial.

Tele Atlas also announced the availability of its Digital Elevation Model for North America, which follows last month’s launch of the Digital Elevation Model in Europe and is designed to help deliver an unprecedented degree of image quality for navigation offerings.

ArrowContinue reading: "TeleAtlas 3-D Buildings in US"

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

September 14, 2007

NAVTEQ talks up Connected GPS Units


Networked GPS units are on the way in 2008 according to an interview with NAVTEQ senior Vice President Winston Guillory, at GPSBusiness News. The Interview explores several areas from profitability to the future of GPS devices. In the interview Mr. Guillory talks about the launch of connected devices in 2008 that will help drive the downloading of updated Points of Interest, new map features, etc. The key question will be WHO will bring this to the market.

Dash Navigation has already announced projects like this with their cellular and WiFi connected GPS device, but they were firmly in the TeleAtlas camp before TomTom announced the plan to buy TeleAtlas. If Dash has stayed with TeleAtlas, who else would bring this idea to market? Garmin and Magellan are the two names that come to mind.

Garmin will have the upper hand if the units get any benefit from networking together, as their sales and marketing might would deliver more units to the roads. However, Magellan has been on a bender lately with new technology and features that have been a half step ahead of Garmin as Magellan claws back into the market; witness the advanced handheld the Triton that is coming to market and the Maestro 4250 with voice recognition and the “Help” button that led the majors to this now more common feature.

Thanks Jim for sending this in.

See the whole interview at GPS Business News

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

August 21, 2007

NAVTEQ with 3-D Terrain Maps


NAVTEQ announced that they are mapping the world in 3-D, which will go along with their 3-D building work and the associated work to map cities with building footprints, etc. So, that "3-D" display on your GPS may actually someday have some richness of terrain to it instead of a paler shade of green with not ups of downs to it. I mean how about seeing that the road you want to turn right on is right after the crest of the hill? It may be tricky to figure out how to represent the terrain in a way that still allows you to see over the crest of the hill, but the idea sounds great.

More from the press release follows...

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

TeleAtlas LBS Contest


So you think you have a good idea about Location Based Services (LBS) and want to make a little jingle in the process? TeleAtlas has an LBS contest running that could make you a little richer in the process of getting your idea off the ground.

Participation is open to all mobile application developers using Tele Atlas data, and the finalists will be showcased online and in the Tele Atlas booth at CTIA IT 200, where visitors and attendees will vote for their favorite application. One grand prize winner will be awarded $25,000 in cash and $50,000 in Tele Atlas map data; two runners up each will receive $10,000 in cash and $20,000 in Tele Atlas map data.

Registration is open through September 23, 2007. See the release below for more details, or visit

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

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