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Take a look at how Nokia plans to crush Google Street View

Nokia HERE 3D Mapping

Back in 2007, Nokia bought mapping powerhouse Navteq. The move pumped up Nokia’s mapping position in mobile, which has grown and evolved over the years. Last fall, Nokia announced the HERE platform that combines Nokia’s mapping and location assets under one brand. Like most data, mapping data is constantly changing. To keep up, Nokia is rolling out a serious assault on Google with its street level 3D photography.

Last November, Nokia acquired a company from Berkeley, California called earthmine. What does earthmine do? They collect detailed and accurate 3D street level using cars. The vehicles use a system that basically consist of a Lumia 920, Surface Pro, and the 3D camera rig. (Psst. Remember that Navteq car we saw in the UK?)

Now, the heart and soul of this set up is that camera rig. You have 4 cameras that capture nearly 68 megapixels together to create a 360 degree view. Another important component of the camera rig is the LIDAR scanner. It has plenty of uses, but here it’s used to map 3D points using lasers. The LIDAR scanner will fire a laser and illuminate an object. It then analyzes the reflected light to measure distance.

All this data from the various sensors is fed into a data collection box that sits up front where your passenger would put his or her feet. You also have a Surface Pro that is running custom software from Nokia and earthmine to help drivers know which routes to take and gives feedback to Nokia, like the drivers current location. The Lumia 920 is basically used as a Wi-Fi hotspot by giving a data connection to the Surface Pro and other devices on board.

The cars used by Nokia/earthmine are either a VW Jetta TDI or a Subaru Forester/Crosstek. What’s really interesting is that the mapping system developed costs about the same price as the cars used to transport it. Nokia seems to think it’s worth it though, claiming that they’ll be able to pass Google soon when it comes to street level data.

All this data will be used to create compelling street level data. You can already see some of it popping up in major cities across the United States and Europe if you go to HERE.com

Read more about the set up at SlashGear, who had a chance to ride along with Nokia/earthmine recently. It's a fascinating read about the future of HERE maps. 

Source: SlashGear

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Reader comments

Take a look at how Nokia plans to crush Google Street View

154 Comments

No idea what was wrong with Nokia maps either!! Nokia maps, Nokia drive, Nokia city lens. They all sound so much better.

I agree, but I think we are all used to Nokia's bad habit of using ugly names for their products, lol. At least ad FROM to the name. "From Here" maps sounds a little better.

Bing Maps has already available way before, but it seems it will be merged with HERE Maps, IMO.

And these names are the best in Hungarian: "here" means testicle, while the older "ovi" maps translates to kindergarten...

I never saw what was wrong with NavTeq.  I mean, come on... Nav... Teq...  Navigation Technology!

You have to reply from the desktop and in HTML instead of plain text. Then you simply select the add photo icon. Now the trick is to find the image you want to use on the web, then provide the link to the image.

Actually, HERE in DallasFortWorth I've been seeing those street view cars driving around a lot lately... They look pretty much just like this.

That part of "George Bush" is uncharted territory because it's so new... I wish it was a full blown hywy... They also need to rip strait through Arlington with two hywys.. One north to south, and another east to west.. I'm tired of driving around that bitch to get to the other side of town...

i travel there for work.. worst roads ever.. why even bother getting the data now with all that construction

How is it crushing google? Is it better in any way? (don't get me wrong, I want google dead just as much as you)

Crushing them because Nokias system is supposed to capture much more data in better detail.. Read the Slash gear article...

But Google map is still better than Here map because Google map have more detail about place , so how Nokia will counter this.
Sorry to say but Nokia offline map is no good  and I have to still use Google map .

Sounds like you're to caught up in a Google state of mind to give HERE maps a chance.. Here maps work fine and the last time I used Google maps was back on WinMo... Maybe it's about where you are located.. Maybe HERE maps works better in the US than wherever you are..

I didn't want to just copy and paste the SlashGear article. Instead wanting to focus a few things and send readers to their post. But basically Nokia's solution will require less human input to add various points-of-interest to the maps. Nokia can also combine their higher res images with the LIDAR tech to create 3D photographs. 

I can't view the video (don't worry YouTube banned at work, nothing wrong with the article, well except you are using a Google property, switch to Vimeo...) but does the scanner analyse the data and add business it photographs to the map as POIs? Cos to me that'd be a killer feature. Here Maps really lacks POIs, if their new street photography can firstly outclass Streetview for quality and then at the same time scan the logo of each business it passes and add that automatically as a POI then they'd instantly fill their POI database and leapfrog Google.
Software these days can work out who someone is from a photo, surely picking up a business logo would be child's play, so I hope Nokia are doing this.

Yes, exactly. I don't know how they could have missed the words "Nokia plans...." and that it's not HERE (pun intented) yet. It might or might not happen at all so let's see.

It is true that Nokia should do more in the Street View section than Google. Everyone in North America and Europe should understand that Google Map street view covers most parts of the lands, maybe including your back-yard. However, Here map only covers the major streets/avenues/roads. That is the only stuff I missed in Android or iOS.

USA, Europe...guess I need to keep using gmaps if i want street data as a Canadian then...

Streets? Don't you guys just live in endless snow with moose & bears to keep you company, ice hockey for entertainment and maple syrup to sustain you? :)

Don't forget about their "Canadian Bacon" or ham,, as the rest of the world likes to call it.. Lol❕

My igloo is still not captured... Nokia should do something before it melts due to global warming caused by cow farts in denmark...

Actually what you guys call "Canadian Bacon" we call "Back Bacon" (because it's cut from the back of the pig), and what you call "ham" we call ...  "ham".  Just FYI.

Interesting, and thanks... So, I guess this Canadian Bacon that's on our pizzas isn't the real thing.

Whisler/Blackcomb is AWESOME. I'm a bit jealous, but I do have Crystal mountain (WA, USA) to keep me occupied. You don't need streets when you are skiing! :)

Whistler has even more epic mountain biking. It's a shame Whistler was used for the Winter Olympics, not the Summer Olympics! :-)

I've heard Whistler is full of Australians too, so I'd be right at home... well, after I get used to the whole snow thing being everywhere and not just found inside my freezer :P

Not trying to be negative here, but you might want to change the topic of this aricle. It'll take YEARS for anyone to come close to Google Street View, and this is in no way a plan to "crush" Google's Street View.

"Look at me now... I still suck at finding basic localized results" Bing might be up to par in the US but it certainly isn't in my country. Meanwhile, people who try Bing over here laugh at how bad it is and keep using google and by the time Bing gets out of beta, all people will remember is how bad it was for the past years and they won't have any inclination to switch.

Belgium. I know it's a small market and you people don't care about it, but it's frustrating to hear about all these cool things Microsoft's products can do, only to find out these are only available in the US and maybe a handful of other countries. I know there is more to it than what I as a regular consumer realize, but they are alienating their audience this way. Take the new Xbox launch: in Belgium among (other countries) it has been postponed to 2014. I understand that it's a small country and thus not one of their priorities, but I know some people who were considering buying an Xbox One but when they heard this, they said "f*ck that, I'm buying a PS4" meaning Belgium will remain a small market for them. It goes both ways, if they had pushed harder here, the market would've grown, but the longer they wait, the harder it will be to convince people to switch.

Yeah, nah. There is something seriously wrong with Bing, especially on my Windows Phone (WP7). If I search (via the Search button) for "unearthed" I get NO RESULTS. Nothing at all. Yet when I go to Bing in IE (on my mobile) I get pages of results, or if I search from my PC I get over 3.3 million results. Google gives me over 9 million. Why the heck is it so broken on WP7? In short, I have zero faith in Bing, so I rely exclusively on Google.

Yeah, I've just confirmed that the same thing does work for a friend of mine on WP8. Same country, same settings. For some reason WP7 only works for certain words, and quite poorly when it does. That's essentially why I've hated Bing all this time!

What country are you in? I just got another mate to test it with the same WP7 mobile as me. It returns no results as well. It probably works fine in the US, but is crippled everywhere else - we're both in Australia. I'm just shocked that I get no results at all, instead of the typically poor results. Google has always given me MUCH better results on WP7.

I really wanted Bing to squash Google and used Bing exclusively for a while, but I'm back to using Google search because it still returns more relevant results. They've got some kind of magic going on in Google search. MS has some more work to do in that regard.

I'm sorry but HERE maps are in no way even remotely competetive with Google Maps. I just did a comparison of the two in midtown Manhattan. The Google images are just SO much more clearer. They look true hi-def. Nokia maps are just too grainy. They're slow to navigate and look bad. Whatever these cameras are doing...is definitely not upto par with Google. Besides, Google street view has moved on to mapping ski slopes, Zoos and Hiking trails. They're just way way ahead in this department.

I think the ones that you are talking about are the old ones or the ones used by BING, which I think Nokia is using for their HERE maps...I'm not sure about it though, you may be right

In my city I don't have any issue's, Here maps is excellent, I have indooor maps of most buildings/malls and they are very good. I can see the info I want floor by floor. Google maps is nowhere near in this departement. The outdoor maps are also accurate, but one thing that sucks in here maps is search. If I search for something I get some other match that is 100s km's away from where I am. I have to be very accurate with the search string. Navigation experience is simply the best in Nokia maps. I have been using without a data plan in the US.

Maybe... They're big,  but that doesn't mean they cant be rolled. Plenty of BIG internet things have come and gone, and they'll keep coming and going.
 
Nokia was huge, they've been hurt pretty bad recently, but I think they might actually be able to make a comeback.

Dont really care about HERE features that might not come to WP, like that 3D aerial view, when's Nokia bringing that over to WP, let alone support Internet Explorer browsers in general?

The only way they can crush google is to cover more regions than google street. That's when people will switch. Another important aspect will be the interface.

I wanted to try... but It displayed me info, that I need Chrome, Firefox or Safari... Do they want to crush Google or Internet Explorer? Street view works fine on IE.

Sam, I had read that Nokia was extracting real time data from UPS and\or FedEx trucks, utilizing their routing information for keeping their mapping service current. Do you know if that is still the case. I thought that was an ingenious approach.

Nokia uses GPS 'probe' data from UPS, FedEx and about 200 other fleet tracking data feeds to perform automated map updating (geometry, nav attributes, etc).
Globally they use even more probe data to do the same.

I think Here maps was seperated from Nokia to seperate it and grow it into its own business that they could sell or profit of. 
Much like NSN for Nokia now.

Now we gonna see Google's car in HERE Street View, and HERE's car in Google Street View. Looking forward.

Satellite and aerial view is still so outdated it hurts. Aerial view in Houston is still over a year almost two years outdated while google updates faster. I use Bing 100% for the past two years now but when I compare aerial satellite maps google still has a update cycle.

You want to try satellite view in the UK! London is fine, but with anywhere else you cant zoom in at all. Bing maps satellite view was fine on WP7, bit since WP8 it's unusable for me.

This is a UK issue -- your beloved govt has severe restrictions on who can capture overhead imagery, whether aerial or satellite.

Awesome. Street view was the only thing I use google maps for if I have to. Otherwise its Bing/Here maps. Once we get this won't be touching google maps again. This leaves YouTube but I'd have to concede you tube is too big to replace.

Try living in Japan with NO Here maps at all. I'll get excited when I can finally even see a friggin' street here or have Tokyo's (world's best transportation grid) available.
 
I know Nokia has no presence in Japan, but all this supposes that no one will ever travel here and there are certainly countries supported in the mapping that have no WP support at all.
 
I find it astounding that Microsoft, being the supposed leader in OS and business suites etc. has no interest in becoming truly global. How long has it been since Apple added iTunes to global locations? With 3 screens supported in Windows 8/WP8/Xbox, one would think MS would push harder here.

Once again, it is Japans govt that does not allow ANY foreign company to create a map. Nokia contracts a Japanese company to convert their map to Nokia database format so that Nokias customers can utilize it (Toyota, Honda, etc). Same with China.

Yea seriously, crushing, give me a break. They hardly cover any streets, they are way behind. Just because they're starting off with a better camera means shit. They are years behind, and by that time I bet google maps is on par in detail levels.

They better get with it if they want to pass google. There are new roads that are already in google street view that don't even register on Navtec/ Nokia/ Bing maps even after they just updated their maps for my area a couple weeks ago.

Though I'm fan of Nokia and its products but to be honest, HERE still doesn't help when it comes to public transport (at least not in Singapore). And I've to resort on google maps. Offline maps are barely of any use without data connection.

I enjoy using the here serviced, but still hate the logo. The brand looks confused. "Here" is capitalized in print, but the logo uses lower case letters. Wtf?

Here maps :-)

You mean the web service that does not work with Internet Explorer...? :-)

(just try the 3D view with IE)

"The cars used by Nokia/earthmine are either a VW Jetta TDI or a Subaru Forester/Crosstek."
 
In this article I see only picture of VW Golf variant...?

Hi guys, this is Pino from the HERE team at Nokia. I've been reading many articles and all your comments.
I believe there is a bit of misunderstanding. Of course street level images are a really interesting tool, which is why you can see them also on here.com. But what we are doing with our new cars is going beyond this. It's more about recreating a 3D representation of the world rather than look at a picture of your friend's home.
When we take pictures, for instance, is to recognize all the signs on the street and build better navigation. Then with LiDAR we understand the shape of buildings, e.g. to power LiveSight, our augmented reality technology.

To offer the 3D experience without installing any plugin, we are using WebGl, which is only recently being supported by IE. After some development and tests we might extend the 3D experience to IE too.

Yawn. HERE Maps' POI database and search algorithm are still horrific. How about they fix that first? I won't even get into Nokia's terrible traffic data.

I love my Lumia, and I watch this app a lot because I like watching for good rumors about big name apps, future devices, and especially rumors regarding when my 920 might get updated (like to GDR2.....). But, posts like this make me laugh. They are going to "Crush" Google Maps by copying what Google started doing years and years ago? Google Maps is possibly the best mobile app ever created and no one will be crushing it any time soon. If I ever return to Android, Google Maps will be an app that helps pull me back.

Honestly, "Crush"? Isn't that a little dramatic?

Hi this is Pino from the HERE team at Nokia. You might find my comment above interesting http://www.wpcentral.com/comment/520006#comment-520006
In fact we are not copying anyone, especially because we started mapping the world over 20 years ago.
This is not about pretty pictures, this is real innovation: we are going beyond the map, by building a digital representation of the real world.

For US mapping, until Nokia gets a system for rapidly verifying and including user-submitted POI and line changes that is on the level of what Google has, they will always play second fiddle to Google.  Every time a new road opens, it appears on Google in a matter of days, and appears on Navteq-driven maps in weeks, if not months, later.  That's because Google has an efficient mechanism for accepting user-submitted changes.