HERE, Nokia’s mapping business, is launching a community mapping pilot program in India. Following this, HERE will combine its industrial data collection methods with a crowd mapping initiative.
HERE team will work only with select few users from universities across the country such as Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, SAL Institute of Technology in Ahmedabad, among others. These users will to use Map Creator, a HERE tool that allows people to add missing streets, bridges, points of interests (POIs). Interestingly, the data being added through this community will be moderated to maintain accuracy and ensure map quality, the company adds.
The move to crowdsource mapping data isn’t surprising, in fact we would ask why so late? Creating maps is extremely financially straining and needs to be update frequently. There’re thousands of new roads being added each day and considering that India is such a vast country, keeping a track of these new developments and adding it to maps is going to be difficult, not to mention not a financially viable option either.
Google has been crowdsourcing its maps since last few years through Google Mapmaker. Besides this, it also acquired a Israeli location based service startup Waze for an undisclosed amount. Waze is a social traffic & navigation app which provides directions to drivers and in return, Waze collects data from user’s GPS to generate traffic data in real time. Besides this, Waze users can also share road reports on accidents, police traps, or any other kind of natural hazards on its way. At the time of acquisition, Waze had around 50 million users.
We wonder whether HERE’s community pilot project will face the same roadblock faced by Google’s Mapathon. The Survey of India, the official survey and mapping organization in India, filed a complaint with the Delhi Police against Google for hosting its Mapathon contest, which encourages Indians to add information to maps. Google Mapathon was a contest started by Google, asking users to mark point of interests on Google maps in return of goodies such as tablets, smartphones and tshirts.
Nokia recently announced that it plans to sell its devices and service business to Microsoft, however, it does not include its mapping service. In Q3 2013, HERE segment accounted for €233 million ($305.4 million) of the company’s net sales, down 18% YoY from €283 million sales in Q2 2012. The segment reported increased operating loss of €89 million ($116.67 million), from €95 million ($124.53 million) loss in the same quarter last year.
HERE competes with mapping services such as Google Maps, MapmyIndia, Tom Tom, Sygic, among others.