In an event in San Francisco today, Nokia unveiled a cloud based maps service to rival the likes of Google. Nokia’s new effort, dubbed Here, will use tools such as data-capturing cars and crowd-sourced databases to keep it’s data fresh. Nokia’s CEO, Elop, stated that one of the goals of Here is to provide a seamless maps experience between multiple devices and OS’s.
“Maps and location experiences should inspire us to sense our world. That is what Nokia is doing.” Elop said.
Nokia, who provides map services for the likes of Garmin, Rand McNally, Yahoo Maps, and Bing has seen it’s usage go up 75 times more than in the previous year. Nokia was the first to digitally map the seven continents, and provides map services for 4 out of 5 cars that have navigation systems. Using over 80,000 data sources, Elop promises, “Our location data is very, very fresh,” Here provides driving, public transit and walking directions, as well as point-of-interest reviews, live traffic info and commuter information. The website is also offering a tool called Map Creator, which enables users to access satellite imagery, existing maps. and add information, such as traffic directions.
Nokia has acquired Earthmine, a Berkely-based company that specializes in 3D-street level imaging and various cloud services. While the details of the Earthmine acquisition have not been disclosed, we can surely expect to see Here develop a Google Street View like experience.
“We are very excited to be joining Nokia – a company with a huge presence and vision in mapping,” said John Ristevski, co-CEO of earthmine Inc. “We could not hope for a better place to fulfill and accelerate our mission of indexing the world in 3D.”
Nokia will be releasing an iOS app in a few weeks, and a dev toolkit for Android users. With the Apple Maps debacle still raging, Here could provide Apple users with an effective alternative to Apple Maps.