August 14, 2007

TeleAtlas Teams up with the Travel Channel

Tele Atlas and Travel Channel Media today announced an exclusive agreement to make rich text, audio and visual content from the Travel Channel available for Tele Atlas digital map users worldwide. Pretty big announcement and it indicates the future of where these navigation systems are going. Why be content with the address and phone number of a tourist attraction POI? Why not see a video short of the features? Magellan recently teamed up with AAA to offer descriptive content for POIs, and I think that was a pretty good move on their part. This move on the part of TeleAtlas could be fruitful too. Recall that TeleAtlas is in the process of being acquired by TomTom.

More on the TeleAtlas and Travel Channel deal follows...

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

August 7, 2007

Next Step – Fix the POI

OK, you’ve got the GPS, and the maps are finally updated enough to have your street, but you’ve got another problem that you didn’t know about; the Points of Interest (POI) are old or inaccurate. I am not pointing the finger at either major mapping company; I've seen inaccuracies on both.

Tsqpic.jpgThere are a lot of reasons NOT to display all POI on the map as you are driving:

1) The map would be cluttered with all kinds of icons, and
2) You’d see that the POI are not perfectly located where they should be.

On some GPS units, you can elect to turn “on” the POI icons, showing an icon or lately little version of the brand symbol, which is cute at first, but left unchecked, can you imagine what Times Square might look like on your GPS? Better get a high speed processor in the GPS to draw and redraw all those little icons.

So, as more of these brands let you download their icons, you’ll need to be able to shut them off too. I have the Dunkin Donuts icons on my TomTom ONE XL, and I have to say that as the only icon on the map, life is good. Lay on a few dozen more brands and my GPS would be an unreadable mess.

The next step will be to fix the locations of the POI. A lot of people may not realize it, but many of the POI that I see are off by a subtle bit that taken as a whole could really add up to a dissatisfied user. A gas station on the wrong corner, a store on the wrong side of the street, is fine if you navigate to those places once or twice in your lifetime, because you may never notice the anomaly. If they are displayed on the screen for you to see; you’ll see the inaccuracies everyday as you drive by losing faith that the GPS can navigate you to a location in a trustworthy way.

Solution: Crowdsource the POI
The fix could involve driving vans, and mapping images against the existing POI set along with registers of business addresses. The other fix, and one that I would work into later releases, is something akin to MapShare from TomTom. The software that allows you to unblock a road, or add a road where there isn’t one should eventually let you edit all aspects around POI (they already let you rename, delete and add/change phone numbers of POI). This will be the ultimate solution, and with millions of installed users, accurate POI could be right around the corner.

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

August 1, 2007

TeleAtlas Connect - The World in your palm

TeleAtlas has announced a new capability, essentially linking all of their world maps into one routable product for basic navigation. Is every Dim Sum shop in the world mapped? Not yet, but You are able to route yourself in 200 countries on major roadways; that's a great start. Probably not targeted at personal navigation devices, but hey, the possibility exists. The cost of the data storage might be astronomical, but if you need to route yourself in 200 countries, you can probably afford the hit on cost.

More from TeleAtlas on TeleAtlas Connect...

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

July 9, 2007

NAVTEQ Maps on VW Line for Europe

NAVTEQ has reached a new agreement with the VOLKSWAGEN Group. NAVTEQ will supply digital maps for vehicles with a factory-fitted navigation system with map display as of middle of 2007. NAVTEQ started appearing on VW's in June on the mini-minivan the Touran. The Nav systems are expected to fill out the line of VW cars as well as head over to some SEAT and Skoda models.

This is an interesting development in Europe where the GPS navigation systems have higher penetration into the public than the US. This move shows that Nav systems aren't just for high end cars. Expect the same trend in the coming years in the US.

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

June 25, 2007

TeleAtlas Teams up to Map Indonesia

Tele Atlas announced it has signed an agreement with BAKOSURTANAL, the government institution responsible for creating and maintaining large scale geographical maps in Indonesia.

Tele Atlas plans to incorporate BAKOSURTANAL’s digital maps within its existing Indonesia database by September 2007. The Indonesia map is part of a virtually seamless Southeast Asia map solution from Tele Atlas that includes extensive coverage of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. In talking with TeleAtlas recently, I learned that the combination of mapping roads with their own hardware, combined with partnerships in countries where it was appropriate would be the combination that would offer the best way to get global coverage.

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

June 19, 2007

NAVTEQ Seamless Global Map Coverage


NAVTEQ has announced the expansion of its popular Entry Maps, creating the only global portfolio of digital maps that are edge-matched to each other and to leading NAVTEQ maps. With Entry Maps, customers now have the ability to license a map for every country in the world from a single source with connectivity across borders. Additionally, because the maps have been harmonized to standard NAVTEQ formats, customers will be able to use them with their existing NAVTEQ-based applications and solutions.

More from the press release below...

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

New TeleAtlas Map Data for Emergency Responders


Tele Atlas announced the availability of Tele Atlas places2protect, a premium product providing highly accurate location-based and property information on emergency medical services and critical access facilities and institutions, including hospitals, schools, daycare centers and government offices. Leveraging Tele Atlas places2protect, federal, state and local governments and commercial enterprises such as insurance and utility companies can integrate accurate location information into their mission-critical, map-based applications. Hummm, what’s that saying? If it’s good enough for the emergency responders to use…. This technology appears to solve that issue of map makers estimating where the house is on a street by interpolating to some extent; this dataset knows where things are.

More from the Press Release Follows....

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

May 17, 2007

Advanced Features Coming to GPS


GPS with integrated traffic, as well as subway and train schedule reporting could be your all-in-one transportation center for traveling across the city. Well as TeleAtlas is busy mapping cities in 3-D for their rollout of true 3-D mapping, they are also considering how to include advanced features into the GPS that allow for smarter driving, like crash warnings when approaching a difficult turn at a high rate of speed. The Chief Exec of TeleAtlas was speaking about these possibilities and more at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in Paris.


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

May 15, 2007

TeleAtlas bundles Historical Average Speeds


Today TeleAtlas set the stage for a step change in GPS capability. Today TeleAtlas announced that they are bundling historical average speeds in with their maps as one package that can speed implementation of this next generation capability. Back in February I wrote about the 3 technologies required for the coming changes in traffic reporting, and the TeleAtlas announcement today is a major step in delivering on truly intelligent traffic reporting.

I confirmed with TeleAtlas that the historical average speed data is indeed data from Inrix, a company we've been following for about a year now. The clues were in the press release details about the capability: historical average speeds derived from a commercial fleet covering over 500,000 miles. (See more on Inrix and the Dust Network.) So, this basic historical average speeds data combined with TMC Traffic feeds, will give you a better solution than is available now because right now, your GPS most likely assumes that you can travel at the speed limit on highways when computing your travel time through traffic (MSN Direct on the Nuvi 680 and SOME TMC markets don't make this mistake right now), but with historical average speed data, your GPS will know and will be able to predict travel times in the future for much more intelligent travel planning.

I previously reported also that I expect GPS units with historical average speed data by the end of the year this year, and with this announcement, I think that it marks a big step towards that goal. I expect (hope for) new GPS units with Historical Average Speeds in time for Black Friday and the big holiday shopping season.

Press Release Follows...

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

May 7, 2007

TeleAtlas Sales up 13%; Narrows Loss

Tele Atlas reported earnings for the first quarter, with revenue up 13% over year ago, and their net loss decreased 22%. Their revenue from GPS units increased 56% over prior year, which shouldn’t be any surprise to GPS Lodge readers. Recall, TomTom and Mio use TeleAtlas maps.

Alain De Taeye, Chief Executive Officer, said: “The personal navigation market continued to perform strongly, especially in North America, in what historically has been our slowest quarter in the year. We launched new services for application developers and content providers that facilitate the delivery of content-rich map-based applications. I am confident that we are on track for yet another good year.”

More from their Press Release...

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

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