‘Now is the time for dynamic data’

‘Now is the time for dynamic data’

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While access to data itself is an issue in some quar- ters of the globe, access to dynamic data seems to be the need of the hour.Mark Steele
Mark Steele
COO, Asia-Pacific, Tele Atlas

While access to data itself is an issue in some quar- ters of the globe, access to dynamic data seems to be the need of the hour. What are the technological and institutional bottlenecks in getting hold of real-time data?
Dynamic content is certainly a key component for the industry right now. Traffic information for example is quickly becoming a “must have” digital map feature, encouraging daily use of navigation systems, portals and other traffic-influenced applications. As users travel on familiar and unfamiliar routes, historical, realtime, and predictive traffic information enables them to save time by selecting the least congested route and increase their travel-time accuracy. There are many resources to leverage on to collect dynamic data and building powerful and accurate map products that efficiently incorporate and enable the widest range of dynamic data is critical for success. Additionally, the solutions for end users must be in place to ensure delivery of the content. As a result, we increasingly see powerful devices and services that enable connectivity and our customers can enhance their revenue and differentiate their products by delivering this content into the car, over the Web and on mobile devices, enhancing navigation, mapping, logistics, transportation planning, and other location-based applications.

How is Tele Atlas meet- ing the regulatory and security requirements in differ- ent countries in APAC?
Tele Atlas works very closely with government regulatory bodies in various countries in APAC. For example, in India, Tele Atlas Kalyani worked closely with Survey of India to pave the way for public distribution of maps. In November last year, navigable maps created by Tele Atlas Kalyani were the first to be screened and approved for public release by the SOI, in full compliance with the regulations of Government of India and the provisions of the national mapping policy.

Data access is still a major challenge in many parts of the world. Building part- nerships is one way of overcom- ing this challenge. What kind of partnerships you think will help in APAC region to create data fast and at a lower cost?
Building partnerships with government mapping agencies and private local mapping companies is definitely required in many parts of APAC. Tele Atlas has always applied and continues to deploy various partnership models to bring data for new territories faster to market with more coverage and richer content. Additionally, we leverage community input to update our maps. Community input helps us tap into millions of end users who want to share their changes with us. We can detect and verify change and update the map a lot faster across a broader geography than ever before. By adding contributions from individual map users as an additional source, we can increase the total number of changes identified, particularly in geographically dispersed and rural areas either not covered or covered less frequently by our other data sources.

How can the user updates on Map Share be authen- ticated?
The Map Share community is unique in that it is already very active today, driving more than one million hours each day. Using information from that community requires only that they opt in, and is not dependant on mobile operators turning the information over to us. Tele Atlas has the world’s best validation processes in place, and will use our tried and true processes to check the content from any source, TomTom users included.

Our product technology, operations and quality teams use quality rules to ensure edits meet our standards. We also have the advantage of GPS measurements which can further validate and detect changes.

We do consider MapShare as powerful and as a complementary data source next to all the other data sourcing approaches applied by Tele Atlas such as field survey, mobile mapping, secondary source providers, aerial and satellite imagery verification. By comparing multiple sources, we reach very high confidence levels in our validation approaches.

Considering the rapid increase in the volume of data and associated issues of cost of ownership and asset management, can we think of data as a service?
Definitely. Data as a service can be extremely cost-effective for enterprises. We notice that quadruple returns on investments (ROI) are not at all unusual in enterprise LBS for example. Enterprises are getting enormous returns based on asset tracking, work order dispatch, remote inventory management, route optimisation and other LBS applications.

There are issues of freely available data from Google. How does this impact data providers?
We are in a long-term partnership with Google and our data are used in a wide range of their applications and markets. While Google provides free data access to end-users on the basis of their advertising model, we have viable business models with Google for the licensing of our data content. In addition, Google Maps and Google Earth created an immense awareness about the benefits and possibilities of digital maps and location-related content, benefiting the entire industry

Is geospatial data collec- tion space still ripe for innovation?
Of course. The world around us is constantly evolving and we will continue to evolve to meet rising needs of our customers. In fact, we often think about the future of the mapping industry and are working to drive this next generation of digital mapping, where community based input and real time data help create the best experience for digital map users by providing fresh maps and dynamic content.

Globally LBS is set to take off. How is Tele Atlas geared to meet the demand?
LBS has finally arrived, pioneered by ROI-driven enterprise customers and now embraced by consumers. We have cleared many of the technology challenges – most notably the availability of location information – and the user interface experience is getting better by the day. Mobile advertising is now becoming a potential source of revenue and consumers are very willing to pay for wireless applications. Other companies such as Loopt in the US, offer social networking applications that embrace location as a key component; even Google now offers a social networking application, Google Latitude. The market currently has many of these applications that are free to the consumer and I think we will continue to see new applications leveraging location as the foundation for or a component of their applications coming around the world, with new business models arising as well.

Tele Atlas is committed to produce location-based content and we will continue to innovate to meet the changing lifestyles and needs of users worldwide. We will work with our partners to deliver the most relevant dynamic content to them – in the enterprise and consumer realms.

How does the acquisition of Tele Atlas by TomTom affect the competitive position of Tele Atlas in global market?
Tele Atlas is a global digital map data and content supplier with a rich, 20+ year history in the navigation industry – from developing the first in-car navigation system, to creating the first navigable digital road map of Europe. We are highly competitive and have a strong foothold in the global market by delivering map data, dynamic content such as community input, traffic, and points of interest to developers of personal navigation, wireless, Internet, in-car and business navigation systems. We serve a wide range of markets. Our comprehensive lead generation process and 50,000+ data sources worldwide is our competitive advantage in producing the most accurate and up-todate maps.

The acquisition of Tele Atlas by TomTom NV has not changed our core strategy and that is to create the best maps as quickly as possible. We are able to deliver even more dynamic data, like speed profiles and traffic, thanks to the information we are getting now from the TomTom community of drivers. With accurate and rich products, we can better help all of our partners globally to create a great experience for their own customers, because the maps they are incorporating in their products are the new standard for real time accurate maps and routing intelligence.