Digital maps and navigation apps have become an integral part of not just how we move, but how businesses and entire industries operate.
Think about it. Geolocation data is needed for delivery companies to get goods to your doorstep, for ride-hailing apps to get you to your destination, and for car brands to get the most out of their driver assistance systems (ADAS) technology. The list of examples goes on and on.
The need for location-based map services has increased to such an extent that tThe global digital map market is expected to soar at $33.18 billion over the next five years.
The gaps in digital map options
When we think of a digital map service, we immediately think of Google Maps. But consumer popularity doesn’t quite translate into seamless business implementation.
The Google Maps platform for businesses has several significant drawbacks, but one that rises to the top: its proprietary, closed-source nature. This means that the customization options are limited and a business then has to work with what Google offers.
In addition, the speed at which innovation can occur when using a proprietary card is limited by the speed of the company owning the card and the resources it is willing to spend.
For this reason, companies are also turning to open source options such as: Open street map (OSM). The problem, however, is that this provides less coverage and lacks standardization.
TomTom offers a new solution
The Netherlands-based geolocation specialist TomTom is trying to bridge this gap and combine the best of both worlds.
It aims to create an open and collaborative mapping ecosystem that supports innovation in the industry, something it hopes will TomTom Maps Platform can reach. This includes a new map and associated database, a building platform for maps and location data, and an ecosystem to support partners and share data.
Like Michael Harrell, VP Engineering at TomTom illustrated during Capital Markets Day 2022, “all those using Open Street Map can now get full coverage of the TomTom network.”
“And that offers a great opportunity for everyone to work together. The TomTom Maps Platform makes Open Street Map operational for commercial purposes. What I mean by this is that we’re going to add any extra features or capabilities that prevent people from using OSM, such as standardization.”
How does the card work?
Think of the TomTom Maps Platform as a base map on which anyone can build their products and services. This core map brings together a pool of content from users around the world, as well as a variety of other sources, iincluding OpenStreetMap, vehicle sensor-derived observations (SDO), sonde data, and shared points of interest (POI).
According to the company, this data is then recorded, validated and standardized. The use of AI and machine learning will also deliver faster update cycles and higher accuracy and detail.
Businesses can also use tools to integrate additional data sources, edit the map, or report and remediate changes. The map data can also be ingested into their processes and systems via APIs or uncompiled data, offering the potential of more choices when using the map.
What does this mean for TomTom?
According to the companyThe Maps Platform will enable it to accelerate growth in the enterprise and automotive industries, supporting its ambition to generate €600 million in location technology revenue over the next three years.
Most importantly, it has the potential to increase competitiveness.
“We’re talking about bringing together the resources of all the different companies that want to play in the same ecosystem and that will really speed up card making,” Harrell said.
“TomTom’s Maps Platform is the first proprietary mapping solution that embraces open maps and brings together the best of these worlds. This is how we beat Google and the competition. With the sensor data and unique algorithms for specialized use cases, mapping can no longer be done alone.”
Harrell continued: “The new platform brings together the collective resources of the world on an indistinguishable map and allows everyone to focus their efforts where it matters. But not even Google can go against the collective resources of the world.”
The company expects to roll out its platform in the second quarter of 2023 and we are excited to see if it will shift the digital card making market and take control of Silicon Valley.