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Indian Map data quality sucks: Navteq VP Marc Naddel January 7, 2009

Posted by Bahadir Sahin in English, Haber (News).
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Bangalore: “Indian Map data quality is not upto the mark. I would say it has amazing opportunity for improvement,” said Marc Naddel, VP, Partner and Developer Programs of Navteq North America. He was expressing his views on map data quality during the one of the panel discussions on Location Based Technologies (LBS) at COMSNETS-09, an international conference on communication systems and networks, being held in Bangalore.

Data quality is an issue, because GIS information is not quite accurate in a dynamic environment. There’s a paucity of data that can be overlaid on top of what is already available. “But it’s an opportunity for all the players in the ecosystems to play their role to build a solid LBS ecosystem in India,” said Naddel. Also, it’s an opportunity for talented developers, platform providers to come up with innovative offerings based in India. These are interesting applications that can be built upon it,” he added.

India, with over a billion people, is one of the fastest growing markets in the world for wireless connectivity and one of the last great frontiers for wireless location-based services. Clearly, the same issues that are being addressed worldwide – those of social networking, personal safety, enterprise efficiency, geographic information services and asset protection�are present in India. “The challenge remains how to provide compelling value to an Indian population, currently with teledensity of around 11 percent, that will accelerate the migration to not just wireless connectivity but also to key value-added services,” said Marc.

For example, navigation on mobile handsets, one of the most successful location-based services worldwide, is largely customized for automotive use in America while in others, such as Japan, it focuses on mass transit and pedestrian navigation. In India, clearly, there is both significant reliance on mass transit as well as on more individual modes of travel such as automobile and bicycle. Any comprehensive navigation services would need to adapt for the different modes of travel both in the assumptions made and in the services provided. Thus, bus and train schedules and walking/biking transit times are key to pedestrian travel while real time traffic information is much more germane to automotive traffic.

There are some other issues as well. The key to creating compelling services for the Indian market lies in identifying high value services and tailoring those services to address unique Indian market requirements. Monetization would be the biggest issue here as making Indian customers, most them are using basic handsets is tough job. Another panelist Samanth Vepa, Business Program Manager, Yahoo! opined, “LBS will take a long time to develop in India. Right now Industry is evolvoing and volumes are a problem. But we don’t think that will always be the case.”

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