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Microsoft to challenge Google Maps

Microsoft has entered into partnership with several leaders in mapping technologies, such as TomTom, HERE and Esri, to improve their location-based services. 

This is also a challenge to Google Maps, as HERE Maps used by Microsoft is considered more convenient. Microsoft was joined by these giants at their technology center in Detroit, Michigan to share their goals of pioneering intelligent location-based services across Microsoft services and technologies

“The journey starts with an ecosystem that leverages the heritage and first-class expertise and technologies of our partners,” said Kevin Dallas, Vice President of Business Development Microsoft in a blog post.

“Location is essential in understanding the world around us, and making sense of complex location data has enormous potential to transform lives, cities and industries,” said Dallas.


Agreements with TomTom

Microsoft and TomTom agreed to integrate location-based services into Microsoft Azure to making it easier for developers to build and manage enterprise, mobile, and web applications.

TomTom brings to Microsoft advanced location technologies, optimised for fast updates, and innovative maps and capabilities, including its High Definition Map and RoadDNA technology for autonomous driving.

“We’re working actively to lead the way to a future of smart mobility, smarter cities and autonomous driving,” said Pieter Gillegot-Vergauwen, vice president of TomTom product management and maps.

Collaboration with HERE extended

Microsoft also announced to extend collaboration with HERE, a longtime partner that powers location data in many of its services including Bing, Cortana, Windows and Office.

HERE also powers the Bing Maps which enables store locator maps, asset tracking and other location services for businesses and developers. The new agreement also allows Microsoft to expand use of HERE data and services into productivity scenarios in cars.

“We are entering a new era of services around connected cars in terms of safety, in-car productivity and making journeys more efficient,” said Ashish Pandya, director of corporate strategy for HERE.


Agreement with Esri previewed

Esri, a market leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, has its ArcGIS products integrated into many applications and services of Microsoft.

It’s real-time GIS on Azure and can ingest any real-time, location-based data, including weather data, social media feeds, live sensor data and location services data from companies like HERE and TomTom. Microsoft announced to preview ArcGIS Maps for compelling visualisations.

Ambition to create ‘world graph’

Microsoft announced its bold ambition to create the ‘world graph,’ a new data index of physical places, objects and devices and their inter connectivity.

This is likely to be the next big concept in graph technology, which already includes well-established systems such as Bing’s knowledge graph, Facebook’s people graph and Microsoft Office’s and LinkedIn’s professional graph.

Microsoft wants to enable global location-based services for customers and provide a platform which gives choices for customization and opportunities to power smart cities and industrial transformation, from manufacturing, retail and automotive.

This includes connected cars that combine up-to-date mapping, traffic and weather data with a driver’s schedule, to-do lists and preferences for personalized planning and routing.


Intelligent cars could re-route away from accidents, recommend nearby restaurants and find commutes with good cell coverage for work calls, and to increase safety and efficiency, data from road conditions, car sensors and driver behavior can inform predictive car maintenance.

This would also allow cities to use location-based services to analyse, influence and improve traffic, and help businesses manage logistics, optimise fleets and track customer engagement.

Microsoft said that location data is not limited to roads and destinations, but can help quantify the physical world and bring sweeping geographic change over time.



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