Exclusive: Q&A With Nokia’s Mapping Team on “Here”, iOS/Android Apps, City lens, WP8 and Much Much More

| November 14, 2012 | 70 Replies

Earlier today we had a chance to chat with Nokia’s Mapping team regarding yesterday’s launch of the newly branded location service “here”; check out what they had to say down below, but most importantly a small note to anyone who was wondering about bringing Nokia’s services to its competitors:

One very important note, a lot of people are afraid we’re giving our comeptitive advantage by making our maps available on our competitors devices/OSes-

But let’s be clear, “here” the new brand and WP8 are made for each other; no matter what you use the optimal device that will undoubtedly give you the best results will always be a Nokia Lumia.

Apps are great, but they can’t hope to compete against something that’s built into the device/OS, Nokia knows a lot about Hardware as well as Location services; so we have combined our knowledge of both in the Lumia range. Using our unique vantage points we can leverage the innovation of hardware to build the next generation of location built services. No one else can do this.

Why the rebranding of Nokia Maps to “here”?


There’s nothing wrong with the name Nokia Maps, but we wanted a name that was location focused (Here is a word that is linked with locations and maps in every person’s mind). Nokia maps, is only one of the location services offered by Nokia, the other product name being Navteq Maps the service for Automobile users, currently powering Ford BMW and multiple others. “here” combines both branches the consumer and automotive into one.


Will the current range of apps for Windows Phone be rebranded to “here”?

Yes they will be over time, currently maps.nokia.com has already been rebranded to here.com and mobile applications will be rebranded in the coming months.


Are any new services going to be introduced alongside the rebranding?

We’re always working on something new, always innovating, regardless of the name of our location services and you can count on new services and features in the future.


Is there a way to import bookmarks/Locations from other services (iOS maps, Google Maps) to Nokia/Here maps?

Good Question, I’ll have to check with the development guys on that, but currently no such service is available.


What exactly are the “cloud services” with here maps that makes it so much faster?

Nokia’s Location services mixes two different types of information access/storage:

  1. Cloud in which your favorites, account settings, transportation types etc. are stored for access from multiple devices
  2. Device computational cartography (the technology powering the offline technology).- stored on the device which helps save time, data and most importantly offers a smoother interface (Ex: when pinching to zoom instead of having to fetch the zoomed in maps from the web and waiting for it to buffer it’s already available on the device, allowing for a much smoother experience).

Basically it’s a Hybrid technology utilizing the cloud & the location platform on the device.


What can you tell us about the upcoming iOS maps app?

The iOS maps will built in HTML 5 (same as used for m.here.com) built into an application; this wills till allow you to save parts of cities in an offline cache, as well as providing free Walk only Navigation.; but of course it’s not a true offline experience like what you would get on a Lumia/Symbian device.


What about an Android app?

Right now we are going to provide Android OEMs and select developers with the maps SDK for Android, but it will not be a publically available SDK. (No mention of licensing agreements)


What about the services that already powered by Nokia Maps such as Facebook maps, Bing Maps and the Windows 8 services?

These services will continue, but will be branded as powered by “Here”.


Are there any plans for a Windows Phone app similar to Nokia Car mode?

It is under development, and should be available in the coming months.


What about the current range of Lumias, what services have been added in WP8?

With the  Lumia 920 sales we introduced Nokia maps 3.0 with walk navigation, full offline maps ,indoor maps, Nokia transport optimized for WP8 (new dashboard/interface) and a newer version of WP8, with more to come.


Will City Lens be available to other OEMs/Platforms?

No, City Lens is proudly a Nokia Lumia exclusive,


What about Nokia City Lens for Symbian that no longer works with newer devices?

The Symbian app of City Lens was a beta and wasn’t supported on Belle refresh/FP2, unfortunately the development of this beta app has ended, but if you still have a device compatible with the beta version it will work fine.


How will Nokia’s latest acquisition of Earthmine help its location services?

Earthmine will help collect 3D data (recall the post on Nokia Conversations about how Nokia collects its data). This 3D data is very important for some apps such as City lens which when giving you an augmented reality view doesn’t only use your address/GPS lock; but also takes into consideration your line of sight (What structures are blocking your view, walls buildings etc.); overall this allows City Lens to be Faster and more Precise.

Live Sight- is the name for technology powering city lens, which has changed the  way you interact with phone (Keyboard, touch, voice); live sight uses “sight” recognition as well as many other location based channels.


Will the live traffic view be coming to the full Nokia Maps app, or will it stay as part of the My Commute Feature?

Currently the traffic data will stay in my commute as there is no need to view all the traffic info every time you open the maps (as the multiple colors can be distracting); my commute keeps the information where it’s needed..


When can we expect to see live traffic come to new countries?

Live traffic is a very advanced feature- we started with the US (optimal starting site due to traffic patterns that are easier to predict), then we made it available in Germany Russia, and soon in UK and Brazil.

We are currently collecting live traffic in 26 countries


Can you tell us a bit about Nokia’s powering of maps in WP8?

In Wp8 Nokia has delivered the new “here” branded platform to Microsoft, supplying the Map data, SDKs and APis for WP8; making WP8 the first ever ecosystem that Microsoft have developed with an external partner (Nokia); which is something.

Maps are downloaded through the actual phone settings (rather than a maps app settings) and cached offline for use in all aspects of the OS rather than single app. (The map data is stored on the phone and shared by all apps, removing the need to connect online in most cases)

Ex: 4square- WP8 application, will display offline maps rather than fetching them online making it faster, easier and cheaper (of course you need to be online for the actual check-in).


Can you elaborate about the licensing deal between Nokia and Microsoft/Other OEMs?

We’re a business so there’s obviously a deal; but we can’t disclose exact details.


What does the future of Nokia Maps/here on Symbian look like?

Nokia maps was under development for more than 6 years, and currently WP is the focus of Nokia (and thus the focus of the maps team); but keep in mind that Nokia Belle has a full-fledged Maps Suite up and running, and we’re quite happy with that.


Are there any plans for a weather app for WP (similar to the one available in the Nokia Maps Suite for Symbian)?

There is none currently in the works, as there are multiple other apps (The Weather Channel is available in the Nokia Exclusive content of the Marketplace) and we think there are other features more important than weather that still need to be added to the Windows Phone Map apps.


What happened with the parking feature we saw demoed a while back?

It’s something we’re working on, it’s not currently an application just a proof of concept that we might license later on.


Nokia’s location service covers an impressive part of the world, but I belive there are some countries with missing maps, is that something you’re working on, or are there external reasons stopping that from happening (government policies)?

Nokia’s location services currently covers over 200 countries, some exceptions are Japan, South Korea, Israel; our aim of course is to cover the whole world; but in some cases we don’t have high quality data available to us, and that stand in our way,  so we prefer to hold back until we do rather than release a low standard service.


Will there be a service similar to Google street view?

There are already some street view locations available on here.net (mainly US, parts of UK)- and it’s something that we’re definitely working on. On the other hand  we don’t like the concept of taking pictures of everything, without making sue of them; we want to provide more data which is what we’re doing with the 3D data and Earthmine. Also images are outdated quickly, we want to rely on something that is much more reliable.


Any comments on how you plan on beating Google maps, who have long been known for their mapping services?

We can’t comment on our competitors but we wouldn’t have released a brand if we didn’t believe in what we’re doing and its success. We already power Bing, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon and many other- and the quality of our data is unmatched.


One very important note, a lot of people are afraid we’re giving out comeptitive advantage by making out maps available on our competitors devices/OSes-

But let’s be clear, “here” the new brand and WP8 are made for each other; no matter what you use the optimal device that will undoubtedly give you the best results will always be a Nokia Lumia.

Apps are great, but they can’t hope to compete against something that’s built into the device/OS, Nokia knows a lot about Hardware as well as Location services; so we have combined our knowledge of both in the Lumia range. Using our unique vantage points we can leverage the innovation of hardware to build the next generation of location built services. No one else can do this.

For more information check out here.net, follow them on Twitter @heremaps and also follow Nokia Map Guru Pino/@Haikus.


 [PB1]I was just providing an hypothetical example, it’s crucial that foursquare, yelp and other developers update their apps for WP8

For more information check out here.net, follow them on Twitter @heremaps and also follow Nokia Map Guru Pino/@Haikus.


Tags: ,

Category: Android, aPPLE, Applications, Aquisitions, Beta Labs, HTC, iPhone, Lumia, MeeGo, Nokia, Special Edition, Symbian, Symbian Apps, Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hey, my name's Ali- Currently a fifth (and final) year Dental Student from Chicago; studying in Jordan. I love all sorts of gadgets almost as much as I love my cookies! Be sure to follow my Twitter handle @AliQudsi and Subcribe to my Youtube for the latest videos - no pressure. Thanks.

Comments (70)

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  1. Danilo says:

    … PB1 link is broken.

  2. muerte says:

    It would have been very very nice to hear how they are planning to monetize HERE.

    Otherwise, thank you for a good interview/article!

  3. ndeep4318 says:

    I EMAILED IT TO YOU GUYS BUT IT SEEMS U DON’t CARE BTW ——http://www.mediafire.com/?3udxujeel9guo86 . Nokia discontinued city lens for symbian but
    nokia live view previous version of citylens works
    great on my 500 with belle refresh source—- http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/flow/
    item/15825_Never_mind_the_discontinued_Ci.php i think there would be many fp1 and belle users
    dying for this app please publish it

    • dege says:

      City Lens still works on belle with refresh pack, just turn off internet connection [ wifi/data ] start city lens than turn on internet connection.

  4. nn says:

    So again, what Nokia got out of the deal with MS regarding maps? AFAIK the only thing is that they are allowed to have own Nokia Maps (now Here?) app as default instead of the stock WP8 from MS.

    It’s remarkable to see the level of denial they are showing be it in smartphones or here in maps. They just bury their heads into sand and scream they are going to out-manoeuvre and out-innovate everyone else no matter the facts on the ground.

    • Viipottaja says:

      Did you not read the interview? :)

      • von says:

        I’ve read it and they’ve basically erased something that would have made the Nokia brand more premium by using Nokia maps instead of renaming to something so…generic. HERE. @_@
        Imagine Nokia Maps on androids. By still having the Nokia in that apps people from different platform would realize that Nokia can clearly create great software. BUT NO. Erase everything that would boost the Nokia brand for the sake of the ecosystem.

        The optimal experience and device is still WP8. -_-

        • Shallow Ocean Shoal says:

          You know…call me old fashioned

          If the Wii had never come out, I would have agreed.

          But, the Wii proved that you can release something that sounds like asparagus smelling yellow urine, and the word kind of gets a new meaning.

          Like the word “punch” on Space Ghost.

          • zlutor says:

            Maybe but ‘wii’ is a special word – nonexistent in English before – but ‘here’?! C’mon…

            Once upon a time Nokia BRAND was among the top brands. Now they re-brand Nokia maps (+ some more things) to ‘HERE’?

            Who on Earth will associate it with Nokia in general? Maybe it was the purpose, anyway… :-(

        • Yari90 says:

          Totally agree!!!
          Nokia Maps is the name!
          I can see only difference between actual Nokia Maps (iOS/Android user can already use it online) and Here.
          1) They removed their own brand
          2) Belle Style UI’s replaced with Windows UI.

          [Both brand new logo and brand sucks!]

      • nn says:

        Did you not read my second paragraph?

    • hosny says:


  5. nabkawe says:

    One question that is really important , would the usage of #Here maps on IOS or Android support the live traffic Nokia gathers ?
    (In nokia maps if you use online navigation you give Nokia traffic feed back so it could help other people with Nokia maps …

  6. Viipottaja says:

    Very useful and interesting, including confirming the obvious point that MS is paying for Here use on WP.

    wish they had been clearer or you had asked specifically whether the word “Nokia” will appear on any of the Here apps/implementations.

    • dontom says:

      This is exactly what I have been thinking about. While Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and so on are a good name to have on a Nokia Device and gives brand recognition, it is NOT a good name to have if you want other OEMs to use it. Probably that has been an issue, while integrating Nokia maps to WP8, to the other OEM’s one would think. Now this new name is much more neutral and wont be ‘embarrasing’ to have on your HTC and Samsung device… Or maybe even on iOS and Android?

      Good stuff Nokia!

      • incognito says:

        So ‘Intel Inside’ on Samsung laptops is embarrassing for Samsung given that they also create CPUs? Color me unconvinced…

    • nn says:

      Now when it’s clear that Nokia is supplying only raw data, it seems more probable MS is paying for it the same way they did with the pre-Elop maps deal.

      But where you see it confirmed in the article?

      • Viipottaja says:

        Lol, no it’s not:

        “supplying the Map data, SDKs and APis for WP8″. You should also see some of the MS WP develops event training materials and videos.

        “.. licensing deal between Nokia and Microsoft/Other OEMs?

        We’re a business so there’s obviously a deal.” Like I said, it is obvious. Only an idiot would think there is no such deal.

        • nn says:

          So on the question about licenses he said there is a deal. So yeah, sort of good I guess, at least we know MS isn’t trucking things out of Nokia without written permission.

          But no word on the nature of the deal, namely what, if anything besides the platform support cut, is MS paying to Nokia.

          • Viipottaja says:

            So if there is a deal you expect them to disclose its details on some random (sorry Jay et al :P) phone blog and if they don’t, just conclude it must be a bad one. :)

            Btw, IIRC, Nokia has in its earnings calls noted that the platform support payment is provided for first couple of years – we’ll of course now when more earning reports roll in over the years. Also worth keeping in mind that using Nokia’s location services on Windows 8 and (I guess Xbox) were part of the deal too.

  7. Banderpop says:

    I’d just like to say thanks for asking such great questions and pubkishing the answers here!

    Bit sad that it seems nothing new is planned for Symbian. If anything was missed it was information on Maps for Asha (sorry, can’t quite put HERE into that sentence without feeling silly, I’d sooner go back to calling it Ovi Maps). I mean, is there any reason the Asha maps experience isn’t top-tier also, with City Lens etc.? But I’m not surprised. It would be something of a miracle if Nokia still had any plans for Symbian and the other non-Lumia phones given how the recent Store incident went unnoticed for a few days.

  8. spacemodel says:

    Nice try but do they really think that people who have an Android phone and are fully integrated into the Google world will change Google Maps for Here?
    No way, especially because Google Maps comes preinstalled and it’s one of the most popular pieces of the Android world.

    The same goes for iOS, everyone with an iPhone is waiting for one thing, the Google Maps app, they have always used this application, they are familiar with it and it has served them very, very well so no need for change.

    Here will only have enthousiastic support by Nokia diehards and WP but it’s in no way competition for Google Maps, compare it with Google Search vs Bing Search, the result of that battle is the future of Here.

    • Doffen says:

      Not google users. However, it might male it easier for e.g. Amazone to implement “Nokia” maps.

    • Shallow Ocean Shoal says:

      Could you please change your profile picture? Every time it comes up I go to the close button because I think gay pornography is popping up on my screen.

      • meggman says:

        you must be really afraid of gay people. All I see is a dude with a bare arm. Just relax man…

        • Shallow Ocean Shoal says:

          Ahh, the old “homophobe” response. Clever! Yes, I must be a homophobe, even though I’m the one who doesn’t choose to write perverted shit on every Jessica Alba post here.

          Not quite true, buddy, but I do see a whole lot of man flesh sucking on a cigar. While he’s leaning back, I can only assume he’s getting a blowjob off camera, below the picture. Plus there’s some kind of Jesus tat on the shoulder, so I’m glad that He approves.

          How about we just choose a better avatar, shall we?

    • Mark says:

      Well, yes. I would love to have downloadable maps on my Nexus 7 for instance.

    • JPDVM2014 says:

      Do you mean the “Bing it On” challenge? If so, I hope Nokia has that kind of success with Here. /troll

      But seriously, everyone I know has an iPhone, and I don’t know any one that is “waiting for one thing, the Google Maps app.” They all use Maps, it comes pre-loaded and why would they use anything different? Saying that, I agree with your overall point. Nokia will be the most popular mapping solution on Windows Phone and thats about it as far as mobile is concerned.

  9. patata says:

    No questions about the future of maps on wp7.x?

  10. Shallow Ocean Shoal says:

    Excellent info, thanks

  11. migo says:

    I remember Nokia rebranding as Ovi – that didn’t go too well for them. On the other hand, this is while Mapgate is still fresh in people’s minds, so it’s a good way to gain exposure while people are still on the lookout for a new service.

    • Shallow Ocean Shoal says:

      I’m not sure it was so much the Ovi name, as it was the quality of the services… and/or going all-in mega-ecosystem all alone…

      On the other hand as much as I like Finland, “here” is a more recognizable word in most of the world than “Ovi.” I’m willing to bet that “here” will be more likable to non-native English speakers than native English, judging by the gut reaction towards the word by all the native Engliskiis here on that other post.

      • migo says:

        You’re probably right. It sounds terrible to me. On the other hand, if Google had done it, then you could have Google Here & Now, which wouldn’t sound terrible anymore.

  12. Broken Maps in Hong Kong says:

    “Here” / Nokia maps are still broken and useless in Hong Kong.
    Searching for terms in English gives gawd awful results. Compare and contrast!

    Search on Google Maps for “Sheung Wan Civic Centre” = http://goo.gl/maps/ofu52
    And the same with Nokia Maps = http://her.is/LNuwR

    Nokia places the location a good 10mins walk away…. Unacceptable… this is the same of hundreds of addresses in Hong Kong. I have reported to Nokia but nothing is ever done.

    • Broken Maps in Hong Kong says:

      I’m getting angry to the point that I’m tempted to setup a blog with the photos of all the locations that Nokia Maps gets stupendously wrong and start spreading it on Twitter and email to all the tech blogs and see how they respond to that! Maybe that will get them the bad publicity and spur them into fixing the maps in Hong Kong… perhaps not enough people are searching in Engish to make it worth them fixing… However I know that most of the young professionals (i.e those with lots of disposable income and have iPhones galore) search maps not in Chinese script but in English.

  13. GordonH says:

    Nokia: Nokia use here
    Iphone User: Iphone user here but I cannot hear you.
    Nokia: Can you hear me
    Iphone User: Yes, I am here.
    Android User: I hear you over here. But you are not here
    Iphone User: Yes I can hear over here, I am on ear phone now.
    Nokia: Nokia maps use here

  14. Francis says:

    For the sake of WP Ecosystem, the brand name “Nokia Map” must be erased. All WP Hardware Manufacturer including Nokia, HTC and Samsung will be united as their Windows Phone OS will be similar feel and features.

    If Nokia is given advantage in core OS of WP, it will jeopardize the ecosystem. For general public perception, Nokia should only needs to win the race in WP ecosystem purely based on hardware quality and NOT OS advantage. Otherwise this ecosystem will left only Microsoft & Nokia, and will kill both !

    This step is critical for higher possibility for success of WP ecosystem, and will not depends on one single large manufacturer such Nokia. Even Nokia failed to achieve the WP target, WP ecosystem will still continue to grow without Nokia.

    If there is a need, Microsoft just take over the Nokia Maps division, which when this happen, Nokia will be beyond to be saved and resistant will be very low. Hence, WP ecosystem will continue to flare.

    • nn says:

      So Nokia has to throw away all the perks they got by selling their soul to MS, not that they got any but they should declare publicly they are doing just that anyway, and become another WP manufacturer except they will be the only WP-only manufacturer. They have to do all that for the glory of WP, because WP ecosystem is only thing that matters, Nokia is expandable.

      And for sure they will rule the world by out-manoeuvring and out-innovating everyone else just on the HW front, which in the WP case is dictated by MS and same for all WP manufacturers, but whatever. It will work because THIS IS NOKIAAAAA!

      Elop himself couldn’t explain the strategy better!

      • incognito says:

        Who said it has anything to do with Nokia? It was painfully clear since the Feb’11 that the prime goal is to save Microsoft’s arse, and should Nokia die in the process so be it. Microsoft couldn’t crack the mobile market for 10+ years and one of the main culprits for that was Nokia – it’s painfully clear that Symbian succeeded primarily because both manufacturers and carriers didn’t want to suffer the fate of once-great IBM and similar companies forced to razor-thin margins, and Symbian stood at the first lines of defense against Microsoft cracking in the market. It had to go in order for Microsoft to gain any footing.

        What better way to do that than to coerce the prime supporter of your prime competitor to drop it and move to your side? By removing Nokia from the game (as a competitor) Microsoft instantly got a boost by doing absolutely nothing. If Nokia can survive as a manufacturer/OEM with razor-thin margins, that’s fine, if they cannot that’s fine as well. The important thing is that Microsoft got rid of its prime competitor that held the gate keys throughout the past decade.

  15. thedead1440 says:

    It should have IMO being re-branded to Nokia Here at least on iOS/Android…Yes WP OEMs don’t want to use Nokia Maps so for that you use Here but the other 2 OSes use Nokia Here so that the brand is built…

    Also did anyone realize on IE10, here.net at the bottom gives words that are cut into half horizontally? Also the new UI is too mouse-unfriendly IMO…

    Routing as usual is a weakness especially on public transport systems; Google Maps is more accurate…

  16. jarno says:

    Like the idea of new HERE but why the graphics just like Facebook at leas when checkin through desktop browser :(

  17. appletN9 says:

    no question about maps in N9 !!

  18. pureview fan says:

    pureview fan, please like and support us. thanks

  19. Keith too says:

    That was an impressive list of questions. Overall a great question and answer session from both sides.

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