HERE Maps extends its live traffic service

HERE Maps has extended its live traffic service to cover an additional six counties, bringing its tally to 50 countries around the world. The new additions will help drivers make informed routing decisions in Bahrain, Bulgaria, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Romania.


The live traffic service can be used to overlay traffic congestion information onto HERE Maps. This data, which is collected from traffic cameras and sensors, can be used in a variety of ways, such as highlighting available parking spaces or generating a warning to slow down ahead of traffic jams.


Route creation with predicted traffic


From up to 12 hours prior to commencing a journey, drivers can now create a route that takes into account the predicted traffic. These predictions are made using historical traffic data and filtered against Bank Holidays and seasonal driving conditions.


HERE Maps is available to smartphone, phablet and tablet owners via a free download from Google Play or from the iTunes app store. It is also available on desktops via a HERE Maps web-based interface.


HERE Maps web interface


HERE Maps is currently available in 196 countries and offers public transportation maps for almost one thousand cities. The HERE Map’s portfolio of features includes indoor maps for thousands of venue buildings, toll road charges, reversible express lane recognition and courier/truck routing using average traffic speed information.


HERE Maps sale


The HERE Maps mapping division looks like it will be sold off by Nokia, whom no longer require the data or service since exiting the mobile phone manufacturing industry. Microsoft on the other hand uses the HERE Map data to provide its navigational services through Bing Maps. It does however hold a license to use this data and will continue to work with other partners to ensure that the Bing Maps service is secured, no matter who picks it up.


Bing Maps


The sale of HERE Maps has attracted interest from several consortia, due to its holding of high quality digital maps that are constantly updated. The only other company with this level of data is Google.


The first consortium interested in purchasing HERE Maps is a group of car manufacturers including BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen. The second is a consortium headed up by Uber who have created a taxi and car sharing app, and Baidu.


The final consortium includes map making firm Navinfo and mobile, media and internet firm Tencent. The biggest story here though is that the car manufacturing consortium needs HERE Map’s data for use in autonomous cars. This factor may drive them to pair up with other auto manufacturers to ensure that access to this data isn’t broken.


Opinion: With HERE Maps installed into 80% percent of cars with built-in navigation systems sold last year, the stakes are high for the auto industry. The interwoven complexities of how this data is shared and paid for suggests to me though that no matter who the buyer is, services powered by HERE Maps will continue as usual.


Written by: Michael Brown

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