Seoul, South Korea, 12 April 2007: Tele Atlas NV said on 12th of April, that its orange mobile mapping vans will be hitting the streets of Asia this year to collect data for the fast-growing digital map industry.
“Our plan is to rapidly start to deploy these into the major – say the top 10 to 20 – cities in the Asia-Pacific region where we have coverage,” said Mark Steele, Tele Atlas’ chief operating officer for Asia-Pacific.
Steele, speaking to reporters at Tele Atlas’ new South Korea office, said he expected the vehicles to begin collecting data in Asia (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei) starting in June.
The vans are equipped with six high-resolution cameras, Global Positioning System, or GPS, receivers, laser scanners and onboard computers. They collect road and lane information, images of street signs, store fronts and building heights “all without blinking,” Steele said.
The information is processed at facilities in India and Poland. The processed information is used in standard two-dimensional maps for car navigation systems and handheld devices.
The vehicles, already operational in Europe and North America, also collect information for three-dimensional maps, in which topographical features are included to aid navigation.”By the end of this year to the first quarter of 2008, we should start rolling out our first 3-D maps,’ Steele said.
Tele Atlas, founded in 1984, competes with U.S.-based Navteq Corp. to provide digital mapping data to major companies including Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., MapQuest and Google Inc. Steele said his company provides maps for Nokia Corp. phones, Google’s map service and Research in Motion Ltd., the maker of the Blackberry smart phone. The worldwide market last year for digital maps was estimated at about $1.3 billion, he said.
Tele Atlas operates in nine countries and territories in Asia including China, Indonesia, Australia and Thailand. That number will expand to 13 by the end of this year and will include India, Steele said.