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

| November 14, 2012 | 73 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.

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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.

 

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

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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.
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