World News: User-generated content will bring greater depth to digital maps and POIs

World News:  User-generated content will bring greater depth to digital maps and POIs

Nokia’s acquisition of NAVTEQ and the bidding war between Garmin and TomTom for control of Tele Atlas have shown how important digital maps have become in the navigation and location value chain, says ABI.

However, with the expected growth of handset-based pedestrian navigation and location based services, traditional map production technologies will no longer be able to generate and update the exponentially growing volume of required map details.

The case for user-generated content for POIs is even stronger, as they are even more dynamic in nature. By 2012, a large part of all map and POI content will be generated by more than 50 million active members of user communities.

“TomTom Map Share is the first commercial implementation of user-generated map content technology directly on a PND,” says ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte. “Map corrections or POI additions can be input on the device on the fly and instantly uploaded and shared with the rest of the TomTom Map Share community. AND (Automotive Navigation Data) recently made available an online digital map that can be modified by all users based on Web 2.0 technology, allowing AND to produce maps more quickly and at a lower cost.”

While branded content sharing initiatives are aimed at keeping commercial maps up-to-date at low cost, completely open and standardised community projects will create digital maps and POI-databases from scratch.

The OpenStreetMap project has already achieved high levels of coverage in the Netherlands, UK and Germany. Several open POI-community projects, such as GPS-Waypoints, TellmeWhere and GyPSii, have recently been launched, some of which have attracted important venture capital funding. Their main revenue source is expected to be based on advertising, and opportunities may still exist to sell packaged content to navigation vendors.

Geocontent will become an important new dimension of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, creating synergies with Geoweb and POI-community related initiatives. Ultimately all mobile devices will become connected, accessing web-based geocontent from a variety of sources.

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