Digital maps are a virtual image created by collecting data and formatting it into an image. It is also called as cartography. The process of collecting data and formatting it into a virtual image is called as digital formatting. Its main application is to create maps that can provide accurate information and representation about a particular area, road or any other point of interest. Digital maps evolved from the traditional paper maps such as Thomas Guide.
Digital maps are used in technology such as Google Maps, Foursquare, Global Positioning System (GPS) and Google Earth. Digital maps for GPS satellite networks are commonly used in automotive navigation systems. In the past decade, there have been a lot of technological advancements in digital maps such as traffic updates, road blocks, updated places of interest, landmarks etc. and hence making digital maps more user-friendly.
Most of the traditional map providers such as AutoNavi and TomTom provides map updates for a few days only. However, few map providers are now providing map updates on a real-time basis. The digital map technology has evolved in the market in three steps: the first step is the introduction of digital maps, the second step is the increase in a coverage area and updates of digital maps. The third step is the updating digital map on real time basis.
The key market drivers of digital maps are the increasing adoption of advanced technology in making maps and surveying and increasing adoption of digital maps in industries. The increase in competition among the providers of digital map technology is prompting the vendors to increase their product portfolios and to enhance their technology to offer more user-friendly maps to the customers. Motorized stations are GPS technologies are now being adopted in place of optical and mechanical instruments which were earlier used for surveying. Update on real time basis technology and greater coverage of remote areas are the new technological trends in digital maps market.
One of the major Challenges of the market is the increasing adoption of crowdsourcing digital maps.
The by 2015 end, APAC is estimated to have a fastest growth rate for Digital maps market due to advancement in technology and rising economic outlook. Europe and North America are estimated to be matured markets with slower growth of the market. However, North America is expected to lead other regions in terms of market share. The Middle East & Africa Digital maps market are still at a nascent stage. However, emerging countries such as UAE and Brazil are expected to have a significant market share in the near future.
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Some of the key market participants in the global Digital maps market are Apple Inc. AutoNavi Holding Ltd., Google Inc., Micello Inc., Tom Tom NV, NavInfo Co. Ltd., ArcGIS Online, Yahoo! Maps, Zenrin, WoNoBo , Bing Maps , GeoMapserver, MapQuest, MapSherpa, NearMap, OpenStreetMap, Inrix, Mapion, Mappy, Roadtrippers, WikiMapia, MapmyIndia, ViaMichelin, Magellan Navigation, Bhuvan and Baidu Maps