Mapping collection technology

NAVTEQ True innovates the integration of data and imagery

January 7, 2010

NAVTEQ True innovates the integration of data and imagery

NAVTEQ today announced NAVTEQ True, the company’s new mapping collection system. NAVTEQ is beginning the roll out of this new technology in its US fleet of field collection vehicles, further enhancing the company’s ability to deliver a growing range of high quality digital map data.

NAVTEQ True represents a new era in data collection, and utilises technologies unique in the industry in both the scale and quality with which collection can take place. Through a combination of LIDAR, panoramic and high resolution cameras, GPS and IMU positioning all of the data collected is geo-referenced, making it possible to superimpose both imagery and 3D data points together to create a more highly detailed digital representation. The distinctive manner in which data is captured with this technology provides the critical platform to move digital maps from 2D to 3D representation.

The specific components of NAVTEQ True include:

•    Rotating LIDAR
NAVTEQ’s LIDAR collection uses a proprietary architecture that can capture over 1.5 million 3D data points every second, which is a significant advancement over other LIDAR systems. The rotating lasers can collect over a longer range, up to approximately 120 meters, and at higher speeds, allowing NAVTEQ to collect highway signs while driving posted speed limits while also still being able to capture the detail on a small mile marker. While other LIDAR systems use single line scans which collect to an angle of 90 degrees, NAVTEQ’s 64 rotating lasers collect 360 degree LIDAR images. Other features of this system include the ability to automatically generate attributes such as bridge height and lane width down to the centimetre, and to look behind objects to better generate accurate dimensions in the execution of 3D representations versus those seen when using sources such as aerial imagery.

•    Combined system of panoramic and high resolution cameras
NAVTEQ True is distinctive in its use of both multi-view and panoramic cameras. This combination impacts not only collection, but also importantly, the efficiency with which data can be processed and in turn brought to market. Panoramic cameras provide the ability to capture an immersive picture of a location to support the production of street level imagery. The simultaneous addition of multi-view cameras captures the additional detail, such as what is printed on a menu outside a restaurant, which can be collected on the same drive by.

•    GPS and IMU Positioning
NAVTEQ True employs both of these important tools to help ensure accurate geo-positioning of the vehicle at all times. The addition of Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) represent a key element to help ensure the appropriate collection of hard to capture attributes such as curve and slope, which require a greater level of positioning accuracy.

NAVTEQ True has been designed to house these components in an “all in one” unit, which enables a more sophisticated synchronisation of the range of data inputs captured during collection, and also allows for easier large scale deployment and utilisation by NAVTEQ’s staff of geographic analysts.

“The NAVTEQ True system will allow us to collect and process advanced data of the highest quality on a larger scale, faster and more efficiently,” stated Cliff Fox, executive vice president, NAVTEQ Maps. “NAVTEQ’s customers will benefit through our ability to bring an increasing range of advanced data into our maps at a lower cost, particularly that which will support a true 3D map. And we see numerous possibilities in new product development that will help our customers continue to differentiate their offerings and bring consumers unique features supported by the highest quality digital map.”

The integration of this new technology will begin in the US followed closely by Europe, and at the end of 2010 will also encompass field collection vehicles in APAC. The technology behind NAVTEQ True has resulted in part from the work NAVTEQ and Microsoft previously announced to accelerate the collection creation and storage of 3D map data and visuals.