Hello, operator, can you get me New York?” It used to be when we placed a phone call we’d ask a switchboard operator to connect us to a place. Then with the rise of mobile telephony, it suddenly became possible for us to connect directly with people, wherever they may be in the world at the moment. Today we’re seeing another shift underway, and “place” has become important again.
Today we use the word, “place” to describe location and the host of location-enabled devices and services — smartphones, vehicles, cameras, essentially anything that moves — that are increasingly becoming an integral part of our daily lives.
Have you ever noticed that so many of our daily choices and planning begins with three simple questions: “who?”, “what”, and “where”? During the Internet revolution and subsequent dot-com boom, technology companies seized on the first two of these questions.
The “what” category came to define online search, enabled by the proliferation of desktop computers and Internet access. It changed the way we think about discovering information and conducting business. A few years later, the “who” category came into vogue with the rise of social networks, and a new class of innovators realised our interest in sharing personal information and making social connections online.
Today we’re in the age of the “where” category that is redefining how people navigate the world around them.
Nokia is at the forefront of creating this new category. We’re going to combine our own data collecting and technology efforts with those passionate individuals who can become mapmakers, through crowdsourcing and online community tools. We want to give better answers to the questions people ask in their daily lives: “when should I leave for work to make my morning meeting?”, “where should I buy coffee along the way?”, “how do I avoid bad traffic?”, “how do I get home on public transport?” etc.
People ask these questions through the lens of everyday routines and simple actions — driving, connecting, walking, exploring, and riding public transport. All of these questions, each of these actions share a common element: location.
With detailed and freshly captured content, we give people the most accurate maps and location-based information. With a computable platform, we deliver people on-demand maps and location experiences everywhere. The result is not just one map, but essentially millions of maps, generated every day.
At the end of 2012, Nokia introduced HERE — the brand of our location cloud that delivers the leading maps and location experiences across all screens and operating systems.
Communication network critical for rich content
Connectivity will always play a key role in driving content, and any information of dynamic nature will live in the cloud. This is why we invest in the location cloud. The devices we power with our products, such as our Nokia Lumia, are an example of our hybrid- engine approach — moving the location experience closer to the device.
Unlike traditional digital maps stored on a remote server, our maps are computed on the device at the moment people need them. The result is a truly offline experience, uses lower bandwidth consumption, better responsiveness and interactivity.
Computation cartography redefines map-making
This is an example of computation cartography, which is redefining map-making. This means maps are created on demand to meet a specific purpose, to help govern an individual action, to help answer a personal question. It may be a map which is very reduced and abstract for in-vehicle use or navigation, where it is focused on safety, security or driver distraction. Even reduced maps can provide advanced functions such as fuel economy based on highprecision data.
Computational cartography also gives way to the rich visual experiences you may want to have on the Web, mobile or tablet to explore your surroundings if you, say, go skiing. You may want to preview the slopes or afterwards share information about your surroundings and personal experience. In this way, individuals become part of the digital mapping universe ecosystem. At Nokia, this is what we are starting to do as a first step towards providing a richer map that reflects the reality of one’s environment and how individuals sense the world around them.
Indoor location mapping next thing
We believe everything benefits from being location enabled and described by its location. Indoor mapping, for instance, is a big challenge that we are addressing.
Over the next months we will expand and we will inspire a new generation of location services and devices that make the mobile experience more individual for people everywhere. As a result, we will bring our offering to more devices and more people than ever before. We will redefine mapmaking.