United Maps: detailed vector maps for location based media and services
United Maps produces highly detailed vector maps on large scales. Our hyperlocal maps add missing zoom levels down to street level. Better maps enable better apps, allowing true multimodal and pedestrian navigation and a seamless experience across all means of transport.
Pre-release data available, please apply.
Continue reading "United Maps: detailed vector maps for location..." » Pedestrian Navigation (Prototype)
Pre-release Germany - Visualization
Here's a handful of screenshots of the latest "nightly build".
Zooming in around "Gärtnerplatz", a beautiful area near the city center of Munich.
Around "Deutsches Museum" and "Gasteig" besides the river Isar:
A tip on the hat to Martin Hennig, Noureddine Bounama and the rest of the team!
Larger images here.
Continue reading "Pre-release Germany - Visualization" »
More detail? Less detail? Solving symbol overflow.
As we're playing around with interface options the iPhone/Touch offers, an annoying feature of printed maps could be overcome: symbol overflow. The more POIs, the less you see.
The image on the right is taken from an app that copies conventional maps to connected devices. Barely useful yet still better than most conventional webmap services, we think.
The iPhone could do better.
Like this probably.
“We’re going to move in on each of the big cities.”
... says Robert Thomson, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, on WSJ.com’s plans to move into the local space.
Oh yeah, and they’re going to experiment with micro-payments, too. (quote via Cory Bergman's Lost Remote, Poynter.org has an excellent transcript.)
"Google devalues everything it touches. Google is great for Google but it's terrible for content providers. (...) Google doesn't distinguish between the quality of the content around which it serves up ads, it is concerned with quantity rather than quality."
Mr. Thomson has been editor of News Corp.'s Times of London, was brought in as publisher to the WSJ by Mr. Murdoch after the completion of the $5.16 billion acquisition of Dow Jones in December 2006.
Apparently, Thomson is expressing more than just his personal opinion: "Aside from the six years working together on the London paper, the two men have much in common, though Mr. Thomson is 47 and Mr. Murdoch 77. Both are Australian natives, have Chinese wives and are raising young children. They have vacationed together and even share the same birthday, March 11." (see source at WSJ)
If "going local" is Mr. Murdochs' new mantra - how would the imperium outmaneuver Google Maps' global dominance in mapping the local space?
United Maps goes iPhone - yes, we bring our own maps.
At the last Apple event, Scott Forstall (SVP iPhone Software) announced turn-by-turn GPS would be coming for iPhone 3.0 -- with a little downer: due to licensing restrictions, Apple cannot pass on the right to use the built in Google Map (Tele Atlas) map tiles for turn-by-turn interfacing. Apple charmingly called this B.Y.O.M "bring your own maps" somehow neglecting that there's not too many competitors being able to provide "own maps".
Sidestep: The discussion still is if turn-by-turn (TbT) makes tremendous sense on mobile devices at all (imagine people running around on pathways being guided by synthetic voices).
Maybe just providing better or more relevant maps is a big gain for mobile people. Seeing your position being updated as you move (as the device knows where it is) and checking your bearing (as the device knows its direction) already adds up to a much better user experiences than Google Maps / Tele Atlas vehicle maps provide today.
Let's walk through the shortlist of Apple's B.Y.O.M. candidates briefly:
XRoad currently has G-Map as an on-board solution in the App Store. Two versions, to be true: G-Map US East and West - both use Navteq data and weigh a whopping 854 MB and sell at 19,99$. "Everything from a standalone GPS unit appears to be there, yet it’ll all be part of your phone." as quoted.
Navigon partners with T-Mobile (in Germany at least) announcing an iPhone application based on its MobileNavigator 7 suite.
Derivates using OpenStreetMap's tiles like OffMaps and more to come direct you to OSM, lets the user decide which OSM-tiles to store on the device. If offline, precached tiles are used - being online, tiles are requested from the site. It's a fair price at 2,39€.
TomTom's Mobile unit will use Tele Atlas maps and announced an offboard version of TomTom Navigator - taking the same street maps that Google Maps uses.
Navteq/Nokia likely will offer the same - just deployed on ovi.com and made compatible to S60 devices.
So basically it's the well-known struggle Navteq/Tele Atlas ported to just another playground.
Oh, we forgot one: ourselves, United Maps.
We do licence maps from either Navteq or Tele Atlas and generate better, higher detailed and fully routable maps for mobile usecases. We produce maps on a comprehensive basis, country by country with a full set of editorial quality control, public mass transit included. The difference the map makes: United Maps' content quality doesn't drop outside major cities (as OpenStreetMaps' does neccessarily).
This, at least, was our initial idea. Now, as things change quickly - we change accordingly and jump into the arena. United Maps goes United Apps - why not just take our maps, contain them with smart functionality, constrain ourselves to frequently traveled destinations worldwide and ... voilá United Apps isn't stretched too far.
A United App on any appstore could use the same functionality and package it with various city areas around the globe (as we positively tested).
Could be more fun to explore cities from a truely pedestrian perspective?
The iPhone knows "where it is and where it is pointed". Sweet.
BoyGeniusReport posts a screenshot from debugging menus in the 3.0 beta firmware which seems to confirm that Apple has built-in magnetometer (digital compass) support into the next operating system.
Magnetometer + GPS + accelerometer = you are going from HERE to THERE at SPEED x
The missing element still: B.Y.O.M. - bring your own maps.
Everybody’s free to develop GPS navigation applications for the iPhone now.
As long as everybody brings own maps.