HERE, the maps and location services business of Nokia, has launched a community mapping pilot program in India, through which it intends to crowdsource maps data.
HERE says India is the first major country where it will combine its own data collection methods with a crowd-mapping initiative, aiming to provide the freshest, most precise and locally relevant information.
A regional team of more than 1,000 people in India will work directly with local experts selected by HERE, from more than a dozen universities around the country, including Mount Carmel College in Bangalore and the SAL Institute of Technology in Ahmedabad, as per the company.
The local experts will be able to share and contribute data using Map Creator, a HERE tool that allows people to add missing streets, bridges, points of interests (POIs) and other information to the map.
To maintain accuracy and ensure quality, HERE has built a community map moderation system allowing the HERE team as well as the community to verify edits before integrating them into the base map. After integration, the changes will become available within days to all users across all HERE customers, including automakers, personal navigation device manufactures, mobile device makers and web and enterprise clients, as per the company.
"HERE, the world's leading mapping platform, aims to comprehensively and accurately map one of the most geographically diverse countries: India," said Neil Shah, Research Director, Counterpoint Research. "HERE will employ its global crowdsourcing pilot program to tap the expert 'know-where' of a billion Indian consumers. This initiative will help HERE gain a sizeable competitive edge with broader and denser mapping coverage in one of the most multi-faceted geographies globally."
HERE says the project in India is part of an ongoing series of pilot programs that it is using to enhance its community mapping capabilities and tap the knowledge of local experts.
"Sophisticated mapmaking is already a human- and capital-intensive business. Add to this the fact that the world around us is constantly evolving with the addition of new roads, new infrastructure and even new names, and cartographers simply can't keep up," said Michael Halbherr, EVP of HERE. "In vibrant, fast-growing countries like India a community mapping approach, paired with input from the right experts, means HERE can keep pace with the ever-evolving landscape so that our maps are never obsolete. Equally important, however, is not just the pure number of people contributing to our map-making community, but that we work with the right experts."
Earlier this year, Google had launched its first ever Mapping competition, Mapathon 2013 in India
. The competition required participants to add their knowledge of local places through Google's Map Maker, a web based tool for improving maps. Google had said that the competition was a way of crowdsourcing to get the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps of the country.