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6/30/2008
12:08 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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The Importance Of Real-Time Data In Mobile Maps

Today Google announced that it will license Tele Atlas' mapping data for another five years. An important part of the deal will allow Tele Atlas to gather info from Google Maps users about maps that are incorrect. This brings me to a bad mobile mapping incident I faced over the weekend ...

Today Google announced that it will license Tele Atlas' mapping data for another five years. An important part of the deal will allow Tele Atlas to gather info from Google Maps users about maps that are incorrect. This brings me to a bad mobile mapping incident I faced over the weekend ...Saturday afternoon I attended a wedding in an area of New Jersey with which I am not overly familiar. The bride and groom provided excellent directions to the church, and they were matched by Google's Maps for Mobile on my phone in terms of accuracy. I got there in time with no problems. (Beautiful ceremony, Krysty and John!) Finding my way from the church to the reception hall was another story.

While the bride and groom provided the address of the reception hall, directions between the two places were not included in the invitation. So I turned to Google Maps for Mobile once again. The software provided what looked to be excellent directions. After mapping the route, off I (and a train of five other cars) went, relying on good old Google.

We made the first few turns no problem. Unfortunately, at a key point of the route, we came across a bridge that was closed for repairs. This completely negated the route and forced everyone to stop and calculate a new way to the reception hall. If Google Maps for Mobile had been armed with this real-time data, a different route could have been calculated in the first place, allowing the six cars in my caravan to avoid a delay and several extra miles of driving around central N.J.

Back to today's news ...

Personally, I don't care which company Google licenses its mapping data from, as long as it's accurate. To whit, Bill Henry, Tele Atlas' CEO, said "a user of Google Maps or Google Earth could correct map errors or omissions, such as missing street names, and this data would be supplied to Tele Atlas as an additional data source." Being able to provide real-time feedback and corrections to online and mobile mapping services is a key part of their effectiveness.

If someone had pointed out to Tele Atlas that the Thompson Street bridge crossing Route 22 in Martinsville, N.J., was out, my friends and I could have avoided becoming (temporarily) lost.

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