This should make some people excited. In Surrey, England Nokia's NAVTEQ car loaded with cameras and sensors on top, was spotted driving around, presumably mapping the terrain.
This is cool for two reasons: one, it says Bing on it, clearly showing the close partnership between Nokia and Microsoft and two, this looks like Nokia may be engaging in some type of NAVTEQ roadview, analogous to Google Street View. The car actually looks a lot like what Google uses to drive around photographing streets in a 360 degree panorama.
Going one step further, it reminds us of this Gizmodo story from 2010, where a similar vehicle had "a mount with seven cameras and 64 lasers to see everything better, in 3D" resulting in the ability to "...scan everything within view, capturing 1.2 million points of data every second. The result is all kinds of terrain data that is not possible using just cameras". Well, that sounds pretty awesome.
We know Nokia and Microsoft have big plans for NAVTEQ but this could mean some Google-level and beyond maps for Windows Phone in 2012. Sign us up!
Update: Yup, looks like it's part of Bing Streetside:
"Microsoft is partnering with NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of digital map, traffic and location data, to collect Streetside imagery. NAVTEQ will use their expertise in efficient data collection to staff and operate the collection vehicles and manage data logistics. Microsoft will apply industry-leading image processing and privacy protection techniques to create data products for both Bing Maps and NAVTEQ commercial customers."
Thanks to Yousuf K., who tipped us the photos using our app!