Bing Maps to Be Powered by Nokia

Anytime a blogger uses the word vague “above the fold” on their blog, you pretty much can be assured they don’t know anything about anything .  Greg Sterling sat down with someone close to Nokia and says:

However my lunch companion argued unequivocally that Nokia Maps would effectively replace almost everything that Microsoft had developed over the past several years in terms of the Bing Maps infrastructure. This was shocking because Microsoft has invested hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions) in creating a viable competitor to Google Maps. Most recently the company has been promoting its roll out of new hi-resolution aerial imagery on a global basis.

So what does this mean?  Well first Microsoft already uses Nokia/Navteq for most of their mapping, no big change there.  Microsoft has already what might be the best aerial photography in the business, so why would you replace something that is awesome with something that isn’t?  What about their API?  Could be, I’ve never been a fan of the Bing Maps APIs, so maybe this is Microsoft taking their aerials and Bird’s Eye to the Nokia Maps API and branding it as Bing Maps.  That would be a good mix because Nokia Maps is actually a good API, just one that doesn’t get used by anyone.  Problem solved!

But wait right?!?!?!  Nokia Maps?  Wasn’t that called Ovi?  Not anymore, the marketing team at Nokia has gotten their sanity back and killed the Ovi  name.  This means that Nokia has decided their name actually has value and they’ll use it in their products.  Now if Microsoft would just realize that Bing means zip and brand their stuff as Microsoft, everything will be back to normal.  Or better  yet, they could just rename the product “Not Google Maps” which is really how most people know it anyway.

Bottom line is that Microsoft loves drama, feeds on drama and wouldn’t know what to do unless there was drama.  Thus Bing Maps powered by Nokia is just something to get us through the next 3 months until the marketing dorks in Redmond get crazy again and start thinking of new ideas to waste time and money on.

Ovi Maps 3D vs. Google Earth

With Microsoft Bing Maps dropping their 3D support, it seemed that Google Earth might be the only 3D option in town. However, Nokia has recently launched Ovi Maps 3D, and it’s a strong competitor to Google Earth — at least in terms of visuals.


The images are generated by C3, who creates them by taking up to 100 images of a single location, and then automatically generating the 3D textures from it. The result is an amazing level of detail that includes buildings, trees, and even accurate highway overpasses, as seen in the image above. It launched with 20 cities, many of which also include StreetView-like views in some areas.

The only downside to this technique is that many buildings appear to be melting, as shown here.


Still, the overall look of the cities is great! They’ve done a very nice job, and the coverage is quite extensive. The control scheme is solid, though there’s no SpaceNavigator support because it only runs in a browser.

The problem is that it stops there, as there is no way to extend it. No KML support, no plug-ins, no overlays, no API, etc. A huge part of what makes Google Earth so great is the ability to extend it with your own data, and that’s a big hole in Ovi Maps. However, I spoke with their team for a while at Where 2.0 recently and was assured that an API was coming soon, though they wouldn’t discuss whether it would support KML or not.

All in all, it’s a solid first effort and certainly is something to keep an eye on, especially as they expand their 3D coverage and begin to offer an API of some kind. Go check it out at and see what you think, or check out their promo video below to see more:

Ovi Maps? Is Anyone Actually Implementing This Thing?

So a week doesn’t go by where I don’t see some news about Ovi Maps.

The new, improved Ovi Maps will offer, live traffic flow information, a new drive assist mode, public transportation maps, a redesigned places page, and social check-ins. The public transportation maps will be available via a map layer for over 80 cities around the world and check-ins will allow you to broadcast your location via SMS or to your social network of choice.

OK, so does anyone actually use Ovi Maps on purpose?  I mean MapQuest learned how to fit in with the new world order, but Nokia seems to still think we are all ready to jump on their platform.  Part of why Where 2.0 doesn’t interest me anymore is they keep getting up there pushing this platform like it is viable or something.  But hey I doesn’t matter right?  Name one product of value that ever launched at Where 2.0?  [editor’s note: I must remind Mr. Fee that his passion launched at Where 2.0]

I wonder where Ovi Maps is?  At least Nokia is consuming their own dogfood.