HERE and Mapillary: Linking Two Global Communities
HERE maps underlie a lot of widely used services, even if the users are not always aware of it. Some examples:
HERE is a widespread source for in-car navigation systems—more than 100 million cars globally are equipped with HERE map data and other services, such as real-time traffic. The role that HERE plays in providing in-car navigation was further cemented in 2015, when the company was acquired by a German car consortium comprising Audi, BMW, and Daimler. (Other companies, including Intel, have since also become shareholders in HERE.)
Baidu is the most popular search engine in China and the second most popular in the world. Like Google, one of its most widely used products is maps and navigation services. For map data outside of China, Baidu relies on HERE.
A host of other leading global brands also work with HERE—including Amazon, Facebook, Garmin, NVIDIA, Samsung, SAP, and Tencent.
Each of these applications exposes HERE to millions of consumers who expect reliable and up-to-date information. HERE and its partners have done a remarkable job collecting, sorting, and presenting this information, but the physical world that the maps represent is changing fast.
For this reason, HERE, like many players in the mapping space, is incorporating a crowdsourced model. The model recognises the role individuals can play in maintaining the accuracy of the map, particularly when it relates to topics they care about and areas that they are familiar with.
In the past, if a driver noticed there was a new road layout or a local noticed that the new restaurant in town was missing on the map, they had little recourse to rectify the error. Now they can very easily edit the underlying data behind these routing decisions by correcting data on speed limits or the number of available lanes.
HERE has developed a tool called Map Creator to facilitate this two-way flow of information between the map consumer and the map provider. Map Creator gives the editor the ability to add roads, places, and house numbers, and the attributes pertaining to them. To aid this process, HERE exposes various data layers including discussions, map alerts, GPX tracks, and a Mapillary image layer. There is also a mobile application that serves as an easy way to add point-of-interest (POI) data on the move.
HERE Map Creator tool
Consequently, the people who rely on HERE maps daily can help determine the accuracy of the data. Business owners, logistics professionals, students, and others can add POIs or correct a speed limit. The information will feed through to vehicles with HERE maps embedded, HERE’s mobile apps, and a myriad of other maps that rely on HERE data. This is a pretty incredible development when we look at the history of cartography.
HERE’s role in the Mapillary network
Street-level imagery has become an important data source for map editors that want to add and validate existing features in Map Creator. In turn, HERE is now a significant part of the Mapillary community, contributing a vast amount of imagery through their global network of map editors.
The examples below show how student initiatives in Turin and Naples have increased the amount of imagery available over just a few weeks’ time. These initiatives have been driven by HERE community leads who work with groups that share a mutual interest in improving map data.
Coverage progress in Turin (left) and Naples (right)
As we can see, there is now a lot more imagery in Turin and Naples thanks to HERE map editors. HERE’s diverse group of map consumers enhances the Mapillary network because each of them is also a potential image contributor. The images they’re uploading can be viewed by anyone using Mapillary, either directly on the platform or through the many applications that call images and data through the Mapillary API.
HERE and Map Creator in the Mapillary network
The same can be said of all the other contributors in the Mapillary network. Whether it's a local council or transportation agency conducting a systematic survey of their roads, or an individual capturing their bike commute, the images are there for everyone to share. We’re proud to have HERE as one of the most significant pillars of this community.