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Nokia Keeps Quietly Mapping The World 197

Posted by timothy
from the under-the-lidar dept.
LucidBeast writes "Mapping the world isn't easy as our friends in Cupertino have found out. Google's maps seem ubiquitous, but there is a less known real heavyweight still mapping the world. Nokia acquired Navteq in 2007, and five years later they are still reading fleet data and scanning cities with LIDAR and 360 degree cameras."
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Nokia Keeps Quietly Mapping The World

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  • AAPL could buy NOK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @07:07PM (#41572953)

    That would solve their map problem.

    They can afford it.

    Everyone will be happy.

    But MSFT.

    • by MacDork (560499) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @07:19PM (#41573043) Journal

      I remember getting my N95 just before the first iPhone came out. It came installed with a map app that included directions and navigation. Then a software update removed navigation and made it a paid feature. I refused to update and decided I didn't want a Nokia after that.

      Nokia burned what good will they had with me. Apple is now doing the same thing to their users.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @07:33PM (#41573135)
        Offline maps with directions and turn by turn navigation are now days free with Nokias. I use Nokia 701 for navigation when biking. Maps are amazingly accurate.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @08:24PM (#41573457)

        Around the 5800, mapping, including directions and navigation, became free again.

        Then MS introduced their mole, and Nokia died. Everybody who was good left back then.

        What's left is everything you disliked about Nokia, led by the "spirit" of MS. (As in: On the very day where MS's probation officer for their last crime went away, they introduced that IE on the new Nokias could not be replaced, and you couldn't install any other browser [Like Opera]. *Again*)

        I loved Nokia... from the tiny 8210, over the first “full computer” smartphone 7650, those with the full keyboard like the 6822, the whole early N series, and of course the glorious N900. The 5800 was the first one I didn't like. Too Apple. Too dumbed-down. Too little freedom and power.

        But I *hate* everything about the MS Nokia "phones". It's like MS, as usually, imitated the worst parts of Apple, and then added their own FAIL (think Zune) to the mix. The worst of both.

        Why anyone likes that, is beyond me. I would need to receive so many electric shocks, I'd be physically incapable of not drooling all over myself, *and* become a real masochist, before I could even stand that.

        I'll continue to watch what that team that left Nokia is doing. I hope they're not ignoring the high-end market too much...

        • by 21mhz (443080)

          I loved Nokia... from the tiny 8210, over the first “full computer” smartphone 7650, those with the full keyboard like the 6822, the whole early N series, and of course the glorious N900.

          Did you love the N80, then? Fat, ugly as hell, with software that let the UX freeze for 15 seconds to display a damned application list. The N97 and N73 were even worse.
          There's a reason iPhone won, despite initially not having half the feature list of the N95.

          But I *hate* everything about the MS Nokia "phones".

          My main criterion in whether I want to use a phone is simple: "Does it make me furious while using it?" Symbian phones mostly did. The N900 was almost there, except the maps app was a disaster, and there was little in the way of third-party apps (not e

      • by green1 (322787)

        Similar here, I bought a nokia N series tablet, one of the advertised features was offline mapping. Nowhere did it mention anything about extra charges, Until you had bought the device and tried to use the maps to find out that they wanted over $100 more for limited time access to the maps that were already loaded on the device, and were an advertised feature of the device. I vowed right then never to buy another Nokia product.

        • by oji-sama (1151023)
          Years ago I got myself the N810, managed to charge it just now. Seems that I can actually access the maps. Navigation, not so much, but well, I didn't expect to. http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=10744 [maemo.org]
          • by green1 (322787)

            Except turn by turn directions were a specifically advertised feature of the product with no fine print saying it would cost hundreds of dollars more, and even that would only buy you a few years license. In fact it ended up being cheaper to buy myself a tom-tom in addition to the N810 then to activate the limited time navigation feature once. I'm still using the tom-tom. the N810 is long gone.

            • by oji-sama (1151023)

              Except turn by turn directions were a specifically advertised feature of the product

              Where was this advertised? No review I could find mentions that they were expecting the navigation to be free. And I certainly didn't. I did some googling and did find one occurrence of an ad where it talks about GPS, which it indeed has, since I used Maemo Mapper quite successfully several times.

              Without a-gps enabled, getting a GPS lock was annoyingly slow, thankfully most hotels had wifi.

              • by green1 (322787)

                I can't speak for what they advertise now, but at the time I definitely saw turn-by-turn guidance advertised for it.
                I was buying this device to replace my aging hp ipaq travel companion which came with tom-tom software pre-loaded. Unfortunately despite the N810 being far superior from a technology point of view, the choices made by nokia crippled it enough that I continued to use the old ipaq instead for many things.
                Nokia was too greedy, and it lost them my business forever. They gambled, and on this custom

      • Weird, I distinctly remember that navigation (and maps) were a paid feature, until a few years later, when they made it free.

      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        Weird, considering what they did was exact opposite. Maps were a paid feature for a long time after Nokia purchased NavTeq. Then they started to feel the squeeze in smartphone market and did their "gamechanger" press release in which they announced all maps for most smart phones going fully free with free lifetime updates.

        Perhaps it was some sort of an operator thing?

        • by MacDork (560499)

          Navigation [allaboutsymbian.com] was built in and came free with the phone. Then a firmware update removed the navigation feature unless you paid for it.

          Not least because the software and maps are basically completely free, for as many devices as you care to load it up on. The idea is that detailed street maps of virtually the entire world are made available for free, along with route calculation and display of your GPS position

          • by Luckyo (1726890)

            The MAPS were free always. The NAVIGATION was pay to use.

            If you got NAVIGATION free with initial phone, it was likely some kind of a time limited offer which expired or lost license in the firmware update. I know quite a few people who got a few months free navigation with initial purchase, such as myself (I was lucky though, as just as my license expired nokia changed policy to lifetime free navigation for my phone, but they never offered this for n95 afaik).

    • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @03:19AM (#41575267)

      AAPL could also buy TomTom, one of the main suppliers of maps for IOS6. According to TomTom, their data is fine, but the integration of their data and other sources seems to be causing Apples problems on IOS6. Nokia has the legacy weight of a phone division, while TomTom is barely making any hardware themselves these days and is only into maps and services related to that. At the current price point, TomTom would be far more interesting for AAPL than NOK would be.

      TomTom already has an extreme amount of experience in making map applications work on several platforms and they have a foot in the door with several car manufacturers that use TomTom data and applications on their on-board systems. This would give them an entrance in a market they currently are not in. How would you think "iTunes on your car" and "iOS apps on your car" would sound to most people? The first car to offer that would no doubt get a lot of publicity and sales, unless it was a true lemon. TomTom could very well be their entrance into that market and Nokia only has Navteq maps and a bunch of patents as a valuable asset. The patents are being sold off rapidly to fund the rest of the company, so the merit of that is rapidly diminishing. Putting a suffering phone division against the Navteq bit, you don't have a lot of value left I think.

      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        tom tom has experience making devices that brick themselves in a distant city for no particular reason
      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @08:34AM (#41576251)

        Given that they already have TomTom data there's no particular need to buy the company.

        And a company like Apple certainly don't need TomTom's help getting into cars. Cars have long since had interfaces for iPods and iPhones to connect into and be controlled by the in car stereo. If and when Apple wants to do the type of integration you're talking about, they'll offer it to the industry, and they'll have car manufacturers competing to be first.

  • iOmess 6 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @07:07PM (#41572969)
    Don't do it! [imgur.com]
    • Re:iOmess 6 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @08:08PM (#41573345)

      I really wish people would stop focusing on the iOS 6 Maps fiasco. It's getting old.

      Plus, it's distracting from things like:

      * The music app is now buggy as all hell. I've had it play one song while saying it's playing another song. Not to mention it randomly forgetting where in a playlist it was, pausing randomly skipping back to the beginning of the song, and other general wonkiness.
      * If you had paused a podcast and receive a call, hanging up the call will suddenly start the podcast playing again. Surprise!
      * The podcast app can't update podcasts. You can tell it to - but it won't. The only way to get new episodes is to sync with iTunes.
      * Photo syncing is just hilariously broken. Rather than replacing existing photos, iTunes will just copy a new set on, leaving you with all the old photos as permanent "extra" storage. Solution: Do a factory reset. Hope you don't need any of your *other* data!
      * Just try and set an alarm to 2 o'clock. [twitter.com]
      * Battery life is worse.
      * Apps are just generally slower - animation is noticeably "jerkier" in iOS 6.

      And I'm sure other iOS 6 users can expand on this. iOS 6 is just laughably bad - even if you completely ignore the maps!

      • Re:iOmess 6 (Score:5, Funny)

        by binarylarry (1338699) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @08:23PM (#41573449)

        Why do you phrase all these great new features like they're problems?

        Signed,
        Apple Fanboy

      • by Chuq (8564)

        Regarding the alarm bug... I notice that user is in Australia, and we started daylight saving at 2am last night... related?

        • Re:iOmess 6 (Score:4, Interesting)

          by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Saturday October 06, 2012 @09:16PM (#41573803)

          Regarding the alarm bug... I notice that user is in Australia, and we started daylight saving at 2am last night... related?

          Damn, that joke never gets old. Neither MS nor Apple can figure out how to handle time in 2012? Wow.

          alias dst='zdump -v Canada/Mountain | grep 2012'
          (0) kiak /home/keeling_ dst
          Canada/Mountain Sun Mar 11 08:59:59 2012 UTC = Sun Mar 11 01:59:59 2012 MST isdst=0 gmtoff=-25200
          Canada/Mountain Sun Mar 11 09:00:00 2012 UTC = Sun Mar 11 03:00:00 2012 MDT isdst=1 gmtoff=-21600
          Canada/Mountain Sun Nov 4 07:59:59 2012 UTC = Sun Nov 4 01:59:59 2012 MDT isdst=1 gmtoff=-21600
          Canada/Mountain Sun Nov 4 08:00:00 2012 UTC = Sun Nov 4 01:00:00 2012 MST isdst=0 gmtoff=-25200

          "ImBECiles. Ultra-maroons!" -- Bugs Bunny.

          • by tqk (413719)

            Sorry, "dst" is actually:
            alias dst="zdump -v Canada/Mountain | grep $(date '+%Y')"
            FWIW.

        • by jittles (1613415)
          He is on PM and DST happens at 2am, right?
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        You forgot one. Gangnam Style is not as catchy on iphone.

      • by antdude (79039)

        Another reason to avoid the new release and wait for updates until things are stable. ;)

      • * Just try and set an alarm to 2 o'clock.

        Due to Daylight Savings time, there wasn't any 2 o'clock AM on that particular day. Nor any of the rest of that hour. For sure they should have handled the UI better for this case, but there is no lack of functionality shown here.

        Given that you've clearly picked that up from the internet rather than experienced it yourself, and you're posting as AC, I expect the other items in the list to be equally repeating any old claim you can find on the internet. However much real truth there is in them.

      • by MacDork (560499)

        It's not just iOS6. The iPhone5 is seriously substandard. Purple photos [cnn.com], Apple Maps [tumblr.com], iPhone5's inability to handle LTE and data concurrently [nytimes.com], easily scratched paint [cbsnews.com], and the new docking port with $30 adaptor makes iPhone5 a real lemon...

        Nevermind the actual specs. iPhone5 is slower than Samsung Galaxy S3 [extremetech.com] despite the fact that the S3 is three months older. iPhone5 doesn't have NFC. iPhone5 still has a tiny screen. iOS market share has been sliding for a while, but after a few million get burned with this de

  • Coincidence? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @07:26PM (#41573093)

    After losing pretty much all of its traction in the mobile space, Microsoft has been trying desperately to build some buzz for the new Windows Phone and upcoming Windows tablets - and here we have a story about Nokia's mapping efforts.

    While possibly interesting, I expect the timing of this story is, shall we say, not completely a matter of happenstance.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @07:46PM (#41573211)

      A good friend of mine works in this department as a product manager; he has been there since they were NavTeq. You should take a look at Nokia's financials before busting out the "M$ evil" conspiracy theories. The navigation unit is the only part of the company that is profitable right now. They have excellent data (probably the best available, mention is halfway down the page [economist.com]) and they do a lot more with it than put it in phones. Basically, anybody who needs to have vetted data (ie, when salesmen need to tell clients that the data is better than what they can get online for free) to put in a product use Nokia maps. Many high-end cars with built in navigation are using them for example.

      The higher-ups at Nokia know this. They are trying to leverage this to position the company for growth. Their internal mantra is that "Google is what, Microsoft is who, and we are _where_". Hence, the publicity: this is the only bright spot for Nokia and they need to milk it. If you ask me, they are grasping at straws; but the I can see the logic.

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @09:43PM (#41573975) Journal

        How does this mesh with the fact that Nokia has licensed its maps to Microsoft for use on all WP8 devices (not just Nokias)?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Are you retarded? They make money by licensing their map data to Microsoft.
        • Look at what was Acorn Computers - they were doing badly with their actual computer sales which was the core of their business and ended up disappearing, but one of their subsidiaries (Arm holdings) is now doing very well by licensing out their designs.

          Perhaps the same could happen with Nokia. Moving their focus away from manufacturing complete systems and allowing departments to focus on licencing of elements that can be used by other manufacturers could turn them into a very profitable organisation. Maybe

        • by oji-sama (1151023)
          Did they license the offline navigation?
          • Apparently so [slashgear.com]. It looks like it's the complete thing.

            • by oji-sama (1151023)
              I'm a bit surprised, but I guess it wouldn't be a good for Nokia to have their maps in other devices with serious limitations. Might make sense to build on quality maps everywhere and have just a bit more on their own devices. Perhaps even helpful for their brand which doesn't seem to be doing so well especially in the U.S.
      • by am 2k (217885) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @07:20AM (#41576001) Homepage

        Their internal mantra is that "Google is what, Microsoft is who, and we are _where_".

        Ignoring Apple there tells so much about the company...

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @07:53PM (#41573247) Journal

    Why the slashvertisment for NAVTEQ? They're not the only option out there. TeleAtlas (TomTom) is similarly licensing their map data, and is used by maps and navigation apps, particularly by or for companies who are direct competitors with Nokia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tele_Atlas [wikipedia.org]

    http://www.gpsreview.net/navteq-vs-tele-atlas/ [gpsreview.net]

    For the record, I have never worked for either company.

    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      Yeah, aren't they the guys powering apple maps.
  • by clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @08:01PM (#41573309)
    Technology Review [technologyreview.com] has a similar piece.
  • Keeping up to date (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @08:10PM (#41573359)
    Some cars have forward facing cameras already for lane keeping systems or lane departure warning. Some of these cameras can read signs and let you know if you're speeding, etc. Ultimately it may be the car companies who have the best maps which might be updated continuously by tens of millions of cars. Hmmm time for me to transfer to the driver assistance systems part of the company....

    This may also explain why Google wants driverless cars, so they can fully automate the data collection.
    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      This may also explain why Google wants driverless cars, so they can fully automate the data collection.

      There's that and there's the tens of billions of dollars that they might make over time by selling self-driving technology to car makers. Another win for Google is that people who ride self-driving cars are presumably going to spend more time watching ads than people who drive do.

    • by nazsco (695026)

      I doubt most of what you told us.

      car lane "cameras" are dumb sensors last time I checked (long time ago I confess)

      • by Dahan (130247)
        I don't know about forward facing cameras, but I know the 2013 Nissan Altima uses a rear-facing video camera (mounted above the rear license plate) for its lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and of course, as a rear view camera.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      That sounds like an awesome idea. You can have either the car companies or Google watching where you go, how you drive, who else you see. If they're controlling the cameras they can see what you do when you stop, within sight of a car too. Better not say anything bad about HAL unless you're indoors.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @08:27PM (#41573473) Journal
    Nokia has a value of $10billion and is losing money. Apple could buy them with cash.
    • by dkf (304284)

      Nokia has a value of $10billion and is losing money. Apple could buy them with cash.

      Do you really think that would make it past anti-trust regulators?

      • Normally I would think the same thing, but now that Nokia is so small and a failing company, the regulators might be ok with it. It's not like they were the behemoth they once were. Governments might threaten to see if they could shake some money out of Apple, though.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      European anti-competition laws probably wouldn't allow it though.

  • TFA says that Nokia's "street view" cars are also equipped with LIDAR -- this strikes me as brilliant.

    In addition, they use fleets of commercial vehicles (i.e. Fedex) to complement their data and detect new "road segments".

    I'd use Nokia maps in a heartbeat if it were available on Android.

    Sounds impressively innovative.

  • by Derek Pomery (2028) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @10:43PM (#41574255)

    http://maps3d.svc.nokia.com/webgl/index.html [nokia.com]

    'cause, the quality doesn't seem up to that described in the article - I'd kind of assumed it was calculated from multiple angles from overhead plane flights.

  • What's so quiet about Nokia maps? Tim Cook named Nokia maps in his apology letter. I'm sure that someone, whether it be Samsung, Google, Apple pr maybe even HTC, will turn that letter into a TV or radio commercial. It may have happened already. I just haven't seen it. The reason I say this is because Cook expressly says "create a shortcut to Google maps." A statement like that is ripe for advertising abuse.
  • ...to complaints about mapping errors!

    Navteq. Consistently putting my house in the wrong street since 1991

    (despite complaints before map reporter and many (completely ignored) map reports over the past 8 years) (Yes, I know that map makers put in small deliberate errors as a 'watermark' to foil competitors copying their data. But having to explain the DHL van driver where my house is over and over again really gets annoying!)
    • When I'm waiting for a delivery I look down the drive and see a truck pull up on the opposite side of the road, then wait to see if the driver gets out and looks puzzled. Then I have to go and direct them. It's a small thing but remarkably annoying.

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