Exploring Local
Mike Dobson of TeleMapics on Local Search and All Things Geospatial

Do Data Flows Tell The Story? (Part 3)

December 4th, 2008 by MDob

Now we turn our attention to a UGC data flow model in which the cellular phone is the communication device. Our real interest today, is how Nokia and Navteq might adapt User Generated Content to improve the quality of the Navteq Database and to think about how mobile cellular devices might be configured for this task.

As we have mentioned before, While Nokia is a recognized consumer brand (as, to a lesser extent, is Navteq), it does not own its customer base. Instead, that role has been filled by wireless carriers who actually hold the relationship with the customer. Although the carriers may be Nokia’s customer for gateways and the cell phones that are used by their customers, it is the carrier who serves the interests of the end-user. While Nokia may be known to the end-user as the producer of an attractive phone, it is a company like Verizon who sells the phone, repairs the phone and maintains the customer relationship. What this means is that Nokia will have to work through intermediaries to implement a beneficial program for UGC and map updating.

However, this may not be as limiting as it sounds, since Nokia/Navteq likely will provide navigation data and services to customers that will be available on all phones provided by the carrier, increasing the “footprint” of Nokia/Navteq by a considerable amount. Of course, the carrier is going to have their finger in the UGC pie and what that might cost Nokia/Navteq is not yet clear. We will blog about these issues in the future, so keep them in mind, but let’s move on to UGC enabled by cell phones.]

I’ve made a modest change or two in the old phone diagram, so let’s use the new one. (Click here for a larger version, or here for a PDF.)

A model of the data flows related to UGC and map updating using cell phones

Presuming that Nokia/Navteq would be interested in collecting both active and passive (probe-based) User Generated content, what might be the limitations of using cell phones as the collection and transmission device?

    Smart phones are a requirement
    Unlimited data plans may be a requirement
    High-speed data networks are required
    Bandwidth limitations may restrict some types of UGC input.
    Device limitations (input, storage, display (in some cases)) may restrict some types of UGC input.
    GPS/AGPS desirable for positioning
    Cell-tower triangulation less desirable for positioning
    Battery limitations may preclude collecting and transmitting detailed UGC.
    Application complexity and size is an issue, as is the amount of available memory on the collection device
    Chance for active input is limited
    Would likely need to synchronize through PC for many UGC activities.
    No available (local) map database to facilitate map update processing
    No available (local) map database to personalize
    No obvious path for user to user map sharing

Wow – what a headache. Yet, this may be the wave of the future. Let’s talk about why next time.

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Posted in map updating, Mapping, Mike Dobson, Navteq, Nokia, User Generated Content

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