08 July 2009

Just read a news article on a potential new US-based mapping company called Delorme. According the article: "DeLorme World Base Map at 1:250,000 scale, and DeLorme North America Data Sets - including a routable street and trail network of the US – are now available for use within third-party GIS and OEM applications.".

However, I wonder how usable these maps are for LBS or even navigation applications. It is a base map, yes. However, a horizontal accuracy of 50 meters is not much!

There are a number of GIS companies in the world which already provide better accuracy and coverage for base maps, such as AND, Leaddog Consulting and Europa technologies.

20 May 2009

Google is looking for new ways to enter cities and capture additional StreetView images. Today I found a video where you see an employee of Google capturing StreetView images, in which what looks like Rome.

18 May 2009

It looks like the Dutch Nationaal Wegenbestand (NWB), the database with all roads in the Netherlands, is still not open for reusing it in a commercial environment. When checking with Rijkswaterstaat, I got the following reply (in Dutch):

In het kader van o.m. 'openbaarheid van overheidsinformatie', had de minister (na een uitgebreid consultatie en adviestraject) besloten om NWB per 1-1-2009 vrij te geven. Daar heeft Falkplan-Andes bezwaar tegen gemaakt, waarop de minister besloten heeft om vooralsnog verzoeken tot hergebruik van NWB niet te honoreren (maar NWB wel openbaar te maken, wat zoveel betekent als 'te raadplegen'), waarmee de volledige vrijgave per 1-1-'09 is opgeschort. Naar aanleiding hiervan heeft Falkplan-Andes beroep aangetekend en de bestuursrechter heeft dat beroep nog niet behandeld (is ook niet bekend wanneer wel). De minister heeft besloten om tot die tijd in ieder geval geen verzoek tot hergebruik van NWB-wegen te honoreren.

Browsing the OpenStreetMap community forums, you can read that there are plans to trace the NWB and not rely only on the data donated by AND a couple of years ago. The NWB is much more up-to-date compared the AND donation. As an example one of the crossings my hometown, which was transformed into a roundabout is still in as a crossing in the OSM data. In the NWB dataset it is already a roundabout.

Hopefully, the legal lawsuit will take place someday soon...

23 April 2009

A travel guide that tells what you see? How does this work: "simply" combining augmented reality with travel guide data.

Wikitude is a mobile travel guide for the Android platform based on location-based Wikipedia and Qype content. It is a handy application for planning a trip or to find out about landmarks in your surroundings; 350,000 world-wide points of interest may be searched by GPS or by address and displayed in a list view, map view or cam view.

Wikitude AR is a Top-50 finalist in Google's Android Developer Challenge . Wikitude has been launched along with the G1 phone in October 2008 and is now available in the Android Market.

22 April 2009

I like this news in this time of crisis:

Based on a recently signed licence agreement with a US company for the use of its maps of Western Europe, AND International Publishers expects its sales to triple and profit to increase five-fold in 2009.

AND ended the 2008 financial year with profits up 8.5%, despite sales being 20% lower than the previous year. Profit after tax reached €1.33 billion, and EPS rose from €0.39 to €0.41. The company expects its EPS will reach around €2 in 2009.

The company expects more opportunities for further organic growth, not only by the continuing strong growth of Smartphones, but also by the efforts of other players in the online market who try to capture a position on the mobile Internet through location-based services.

In the future, almost every mobile electronic device will be fitted with GPS capability, which will result in the increasing use of maps, which leads AND to expect further revenue growth and improved results after 2010.

23 March 2007

The Dutch branch of OpenStreetMap received a grant of 12.000 euro! The goal is to organise ten mapping parties in the coming nine months. Focus will be on mapping Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague and - most importantly - to get the community jump started in the Netherlands.

Last week was the first try-out party. With a group of 10 people the OpenStreetMap project started with the centre of Amsterdam.

08 March 2007

It looks like Google is well underway to integrate its services into commercially available car navigation systems. Last year, a news item reported that Google had started a working relationship with German car manufacturer Volkswagen to built a Google powered navigation system. Now, Google has attracted BMW to integrate a Google Maps interface into an embedded navigation system via the BMW Assist portal.

Still it is only an interface, e.g. no Google Maps or Google Earth map display is presented. Only a geocoded address is loaded into the navigation system to be used as target address. But it could be a start of a very fruitful relationship. According Google product manager Thai Than, Google partners with BMW because they see BMW as the leading innovator in the automative space. Question remains: what happened to Volkswagen?

07 March 2007

It was already possible to download customized navigation voices mainly for use in Tomtom navigation systems on websites like: and Now a small Dutch company is marketing a new product on their website .

By buying a voucher in a fuel tank station or a mobile phone shop and entering the code on the voucher on the website, anybody can enter a new navigation voice. It is a simple concept, because you only need to repeat some sentences during a phone call. No additional software or microphone is required. Samples of the product can be listened to on the website. The price of the product is 9,95 euro per voice.

01 March 2007

A new comparison between Navteq and Tele Atlas has been posted online at GPSReview. The scope of this article is USA coverage, and I have the feeling that the focus is on address input issues. It is always nice to see that employees from Navteq and Tele Atlas follow such threads and also give their 'independent' feedback.

From a Europe point-of-view, my personal experience is that Tele Atlas offers much more detail than Navteq. For GIS customers this is especially useful, but for personal navigation it is simply too much. The size and performance of the resulting navigation database becomes a problem, due to the fact that internally smaller 'tiles' are created by the database compiler. Navteq delivers databases which are good enough for navigation purposes, but lack the details (especially on land use) required by GIS applications. For the rest, you can clearly see that both companies follow similar roadmaps.

An interesting question remains to be filled in: how do Navteq and Tele Atlas perform compared to other map suppliers, both global (like AND) and local (like Geosmart New Zealand)?

08 February 2007

Coming back on the previous article, below is one of the most interesting free POI communities of this moment:

GPS Data Team POI Directory:

They have numerous POI categories in the following countries:
Australia, United States, France, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, Croatia, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Ireland, Russia

For most of these categories icons are available which can be used in displaying the POIs on the nav system map. For convenience, also a number of free POI tools have been posted (in a later article you can find more info on tools). POIs have been collected from publicly available lists, such as WiFi spot locations and McDonalds restaurants.