Maps do more than get us to our destination. Maps tell stories and help us explore. In a way just being on a map means we exist. The challenge is that mapmaking is a human intensive business and many places change so rapidly that cartographers can’t keep up.
Nokia’s HERE business, which through 2012 operated under the Location & Commerce name, develops a range of location-based products and services for consumers, as well as content and platform services for device manufacturers, automobile manufacturers, application developers, Internet services providers, merchants and advertisers. HERE was formed during 2011 through the combination of NAVTEQ, which Nokia acquired in July 2008. In November 2012, Nokia introduced a new brand, HERE, for its location-based products and services, which include HERE Drive, HERE Maps and HERE Transit.
With more than 6,000 people in 56 countries, Nokia’s HERE business takes a human approach to updating digital maps at the pace of real world growth, using the industry’s most advanced map collection tools and technologies and enlisting locals to share their homegrown knowledge of a place by making changes to the maps that reflect their stories.
1. Will My Commute be available in Singapore soon?
We roll out My Commute selectively based on the available traffic data. HERE aggregates and analyses traffic data from a vast wealth of sources, including the world’s largest compilation of both commercial and consumer probe data, the world’s largest fixed proprietary sensor network, publicly available event-based data and billions of historical traffic records. We also combine 30 billion real-time GPS probe points a month with historical information and search queries to learn where people are travelling and what the conditions are like. The freshness of that data is vital: almost half of all our data is under one minute old and more than three-quarters is under five minutes old. We are currently offering traffic services in 41 and My Commute in 26 countries and as we are continuously adding more, we hope to add Singapore as soon as possible.
2. Will HERE be integrated in Windows Phone’s Local Scout? Singapore is missing Local Scout functionality.
HERE is providing the location engine/platform to WP8 which means that Microsoft as well as 3rd party developers can build location-aware apps using HERE. Local Scout is an application developed by Microsoft.
3. Will HERE be getting native apps on iOS and Android?
For Android, our current focus is to deliver HERE products to prospective OEM (B2B) customers to enable them to deliver better product experiences to their consumers and developers. We have an OEM SDK available that is already being used by Amazon, and we are continuing our dialogue with potential customers. For iOS we haven’t made an announcement about a native app. But we have stated our ambition – which is to achieve the same high-experience on iOS you can achieve on a Lumia smartphone today.
HERE aims to deliver fresh maps and location experiences to more people across screens and operating systems. We do this by providing native HERE location experiences and by enabling customers and businesses to build location-enabled apps via HERE SDKs. Currently HERE experiences are available for Windows Phone, the Nokia X family and Firefox OS, while we offer native SDKs for Android and iOS. Among the current users of these SDKs are Amazon (Android) and Deutsche Telekom (Android/iOS).
4. Will HERE apps continue to be developed for Symbian platforms?
Nokia Maps Suite for Symbian is one of the most advanced suites of location-based applications, a very mature product we developed over a period of 6 years. Now we are focusing on other platforms.
5. When will Singapore be available in 3D on Here.com?
Our 3D maps are available for 25 cities and we are continuously looking into ways to expand this coverage. However, 3D maps mean for us much more than just pretty images and flyovers. This is why we are collecting with our new generation cars, 3D shapes of the real world to create a digital representation of it.
6. Any updates to missing maps in places like Japan, Korea, and Pakistan?
Mapping is a complex business, but we are always looking for way to improve our coverage all over the world.
7. Why the name “HERE” (and not “WHERE”)?
The first question, the first instinct that people have before getting directions or looking for a place is to figure out where they are. Think about when you get out of a subway station, your first assessment is “ok, I’m here”.
8. What’s the status on HERE Auto? Do you envision a Singapore rollout?
HERE Auto is our end-to-end solution for connected cars. It is a product that people can get through their favorite carmakers. We are working with all of them and they will decide where and to whom they are going to offer it. Continental and MagnetiMarelli, which build dashboards for some car manufacturers, have already announced that they will be using HERE Auto.
9. Will Map Creator be available for Singaporeans to use?
To build our maps we rely on very sophisticated industrial capture methods, like the latest version of our HERE True vehicles. For multiple reasons, in some countries this is not always possible, which is why we are allowing local communities to help us build maps there with Map Creator. In moving forward, however, we want to marry these two approaches to build always up-to-date yet automotive-grade maps. We started this process in India and we are looking forward to extend this project to more countries soon.
10. Will APIs for indoor mapping be made available to developers?
Yes. We just released the HERE Venue Maps REST API. This gives developers access to maps and information about thousands of venues across the world – including shopping malls, airports and train stations. It also includes information about entrances and exits; stairs, elevators and escalators; and points-of-information like toilets and cash machines. The new HERE Venue Maps API is available to all developers, from lone bedroom coders to corporations. The data that’s mapped includes over 75,000 buildings in more than 70 countries worldwide and it’s growing all the time.
Also check out pictures of the HERE True vehicle in October 2013, here.