Mobile, Mapping and Positioning: News from the Front

As we’ve mentioned before, indoor maps will serve as the infrastructure beneath the coming boom of LBS and social retail. A recent report published by Gartner, confirms that “mobility” will pass the trillion dollar mark by 2014 — fueled primarily by applications and mobile social services. Gartner includes mapping systems as one of the major platforms that will fuel the upward trend for the industry.

Positive news backs this up: Navteq sales increased 52% year over year in Q3 and Nokia’s OviMaps has seen a doubling of usage in the last quarter. This just confirms our excitement of being one of the major players in the indoor mapping space. There is a lot of room to grow.

But the value of indoor mapping data grows significantly with the accuracy of indoor positioning on mobile devices, which would allow for some game-changing functionality in indoor navigation. Given that a lot of great minds and companies are working on improving it, we see this as inevitable. Indeed, the last couple of weeks (and days) have given us more reason to be optimistic about the positioning space.

A number of positioning companies are getting significant levels of funding, which is evidence that the need and interest is getting to a fever pitch. This week Insiteo, a geo-location startup, raised a respectable 3.5m euro for their second round of funding. (Congratulations, guys!) Insiteo claims its assisted-GPS provides sub 3-meter positioning. Qubulus, another indoor positioning upstart, completed an agreement with Scandinavian telecom Telia Sonera to use their radio footprint patents to integrate into their technology. Qubulus is definitely a company to watch in the coming months. Finally, Israeli GPS provider CellGuide is integrating a digital elevation model to improve GPS on the Z-axis (very exciting for those of you using our maps in multi-level malls.)

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