Amazon Chooses Nokia/Navteq over Google and How Legacy Mapping Data Companies Stayed Relevant

So, you’ve forked Android and now it comes time to choose a mapping provider, what would you do? Well Amazon decided to hook up with one of the largest navigation data providers out there. Inc’s new Kindle Fire will have mapping services via a tie-up with Nokia/Navteq Oyj, according to two people familiar with the situation, filling a gap in the tablet’s capabilities while snubbing Google Inc’s popular service.

Amazon will release at least one new version of the Kindle Fire next Thursday.

I’ll be curious how the new hardware Amazon might release will allow better mapping (GPS in the Kindle Fire 2?) and possibly LTE connectivity. I guess we’ll know in a couple weeks what Amazon has in store for their mapping options. On top of it all, Amazon has UpNext which might dovetail very nicely into their navigation tools.

So there you go, they didn’t go with Google (I think this is pretty obvious for the same reasons Apple went their own way) nor did they pick OpenStreetMap (they may still go for a blended service like Apple has, but we’ll have to see). No, they picked one of the two largest legacy data mapping companies to power their maps.

Don't Blink

We are now down to four; Nokia/Navteq, TomTom, Google and OSM

Now we’ve been crying for years that TomTom and Nokia/Navteq are doomed with the growth of OSM and Google, but clearly between the two of them they have Amazon (Nokia/Navteq), Apple (TomTom) and Microsoft (Nokia/Navteq). That leaves Google to their own platform (Android) and Nook to OSM. Rather than falling apart and having to shut down production, Nokia/Navteq and TomTom signed with some of the largest mobile device platforms out there.

Now there are still some questions here. These deals by TomTom and Nokia/Navteq could be loss leaders for the companies. This could mean that while their short term prospects are great, the end could be Apple buying TomTom and Microsoft buying Nokia/Navteq because neither company can survive on these new revenue streams. That said, I am impressed how TomTom and Nokia/Navteq have been able to stay relevant in the past 3 years given the disruptive nature of OSM and Google Maps.


You totally would have told me this 2 years ago if I said TomTom/Navteq were still relevant


Relive Whither Where 2.0 with Sean Gorman

Thanks to Sean Gorman for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk about what he’s working on at Esri, what happened with Where 2.0, and what he sees interesting to him as he embarks on his new adventure. If you missed it live, you can watch it again below:

Next week I’m getting the band back together for a little “This Week in Maps” reunion. Tyler Bell arrives to talk about big data and the overall directions of the industry.


This Week’s Hangout: Whither Where 2.0?

The Hangouts continue this week and my very special guest is Sean Gorman. We’ll be talking about neogeography, GeoIQ, visualization, and what the DC Dev Center means for Esri customers moving forward. Clearly the GeoIQ team is already making an impact at Esri.

As always, we’ll go live at 10am PDT and leave comments/questions for Sean at any time. The comments will not be enabled on the YouTube page so make sure you comment on the WeoGeo website. I know you want to ask Sean what will happen with Geocommons!

Sean Gorman

Image credit: Esri marketing staff


Esri Goes to GitHub

Esri has actually shared open source projects before, but they’ve been strewn across many different services. It seems the GeoIQ for ArcGIS (is that a thing yet?) guys are getting this all organized.

We’ve got the ball rolling already with several repositories up and running on Github. Esri’s presence in Github centers around two separate accounts: and The “esri” account will house (host?) code that is meant to be more freestanding and generic. Code that a has broad reach to very more non-GIS community like visualization examples, solutions and various other scripts will all live there. The “arcgis” account will house open source code related directly to the “ArcGIS Platform” and have repositories for things like ArcGIS Online templates and ArcGIS Desktop extensions. The structure of all the code and repos will grow and evolve as Esri places more code on Github

I’m not sure I totally get why there needs to be two (why not just use the Esri one?), but it sounds like this is a work in progress. I’d just assume follow the Esri one and wait for ArcGIS projects to filter in.

Jack's a Little Slow

I’ll just hit F5 until the projects are all in one repository.


Hurricane Tracker 101

There is nothing like a natural disaster to get Geospatial geeks excited. According to twitter there is a storm blowing in. In the spirit of GeoComradery, I thought I’d list out a couple options to track.

  1. Classic GIS Map: PDF format for easy printing on that HP 4MV printer. (no Internet link because it’s sitting on your desktop)
  2. Classic Esri Website: The Esri Disaster Response Hurricane tracker is full of cloudy ArcGIS Online goodness. It is a clear attempt to put as much information in front of you so can’t read it. Others refer to this option as an autostereogram.
  3. The Stamen “Solution”: Stamen as always produces beautiful looking maps that are always taken at night. These are handy when you want to look at the map and not keep your significant other up from the light of your iPad. With the Esri map above, you’d have to build a pillow fort to keep the light on your side of the bed or couch.
  4. The official government website: If I woke from a 20 year coma and this was the first map I saw, it would be hard to convince me I had been asleep for more than 5 minutes.
  5. The hipster map: Rule #1, pick a projection that people aren’t used to seeing and make it beautiful enough so they don’t complain they can’t figure out where the Atlantic Ocean is.
  6. Google’s Map: Hmmm, guess not.
    Update: Here is the Google Crisis Map. The YouTube logos look classy!
  7. Update 2 – The Government Map With Good Data, but Bad UI: Nobody knows hurricanes better than NOAA and their map has lots of history and up to the minute data. Too bad it is in a flex viewer so I can’t view it on my iPhone or iPad while running for my life. That said, download button on the top is full of awesome.

This is the only Isaac I want to see at my door!


Mapnik 2.1 Released

Just in time for a fun filled weekend, Mapnik 2.1 has been release. There are a ton of great new features so there will be much to play with. As I mentioned during the hangout with Gretchen last week, I love the fine grained control of authoring maps using style files vs proprietary GUI wackiness. I honestly don’t see how if you truly care about cartography, you can continue to author maps using methods that are akin to using FrontPage to author HTML pages. It’s OK when you are making a webpage for your cat, but you can’t assume people will continue to pay you to click your mouse.

Jack Wall Ball

Well it’s either play with Mapnik or go crazy!


Hangouts With James Fee: The Future of GIS

Thanks to Peter Batty for joining Madeline and me for another hangout. This week we talked about the future of GIS. If you missed it, the video is below:

Editors Note: Sadly this video was unable to be saved after my move from WeoGeo.

Next week? The always entertaining Sean Gorman and I will talk about real time visualization of spatial data and if we ask nicely what is in store for GeoIQ.


This Week’s Hangout: The Future of GIS with Peter Batty

This week I’m lucky enough to be talking with Peter Batty about the future of GIS. As always, the Hangout will be at 10am PDT. There is one big change this week though, there is now a webpage devoted to the hangout so you’ll always be able to find it. Go to to see the hangout and revisit the previous ones. Comments are also integrated into the pages so you’ll be able to give immediate feedback and talk with others viewing. Hopefully this will resolve some of the issues where people felt like there was no way to comment.

So tomorrow at 10am PDT, Peter, Madeline and I will be talking. Come check it out.


Nice, but is a Nook a Thing?

So I’ve not really commented on mapping applications on the Nook because I’m not really sure it exists outside of that kiosk in Barnes and Noble that nobody every goes to. It’s like everyone who wasn’t bought by Apple/Google/Amazon is congregating on the Nook. I’m sure it will work out wonderfully.

Nook Fail


Hangouts with James Fee: The Art of Geography

Well, it took Google some time to get the hangout up on YouTube but here is the cartography discussion with Gretchen Peters, Madeline Steele, and myself. Enjoy!