Written by Michael McDermott
Formally known as Nokia, HERE maps is a web mapping platform similar to Google Maps or Apple Maps. HERE maps was recently purchased by the huge Auto Companies, AUDI AG, BMW, and Daimler AG for 3 billion dollars. These large auto industry leaders believe HERE maps will be the Vital Technology for self-driving cars all based off of the HERE Location Cloud.
HERE Maps goal is to become “an open location platform accessible to all customers-within and outside the automotive industry- who seek to leverage the power of location in their businesses.”
I believe HERE maps will take the place of Google and Apple maps very soon. HERE is strictly focused on the mapping aspect unlike Google and Apple who focus on a wide verity of other services.
Here are some awesome features HERE maps has that other navigation mapping platforms do not.
Maps in 196 countries
Public Transit maps
Over 90,000 building maps
Works online and offline
Amazing real time traffic info
HERE maps has some of the best traffic Information out of all other navigation platforms. There is a dedicated team working 24/7 to gather and update traffic information. HERE Maps traffic team can even use verified Twitter feeds and police reports to make sure traffic information is useful. The Map devices also have the ability to Connect or talk with other devices or cars using HERE maps technology. Here’s how the company website puts it…
“Say there was a dangerous pothole on a busy section of road; data could be crowdsourced from cars via the cloud in the area to update the HD maps of cars approaching this road.”
The cars will also talk to each other if there is traffic or an accident. Over all this new technology of Maps talking to each other and updating 24/7 will make your commute much safer and faster. With more and more cars using HERE maps the Software will get better and this technology of cars connecting with each other will be a huge factor contributing to the autonomous cars safety.
Another Feature HERE maps has, is the ability to work off line. I know I could have used that when traveling in another country when there’s no cell service. HERE Maps gives you the option to save the interactive maps directly on a device and then use them for navigation offline.
Unlike Google maps, HERE maps give you options about how you want to make your route. You can say you want the fastest way possible, or you can say that you want the most scenic comfortable speed route.
HERE Maps still isn’t perfect, the company doesn’t have the huge databases as Google, but with the new Auto industry investors, and with time this company will soon become the number one used interactive map for navigation and businesses because of their dedication to collection real-time Map data through the HERE Location Cloud.
Written by Michael McGiboney
My personal experience
My first exposure to interactive mapping was TIGR, the Tactical Ground Reporting System used by the military. During my 6 months of training at the US Intelligence School in Ft. Huachuca, AZ, I had been trained on several intelligence analysis programs, including GIS, but it wasn’t until I was actually in Iraq that we got the first roll-out of TIGR. It was an instant hit.
Most soldiers in military intelligence are at the brigade, division and corp level. For every analyst in Iraq or Afghanistan, there are 20 stateside, for every 1 on a FOB, there were 10 in Baghdad at what we called ‘Camp Cupcake’. For every 1 that was embedded in a scout or infantry company there were 3 that stayed on the FOB.
I was one of those that was in a COIST, Company Intelligence Support Team, so our GIS toughbooks were of no use to me in the heat, dust and chaos of being on patrol or a high-value targeting mission.
My unit 3-1 Cavalry was a scout/recon squadron assigned to Wasit Province, SE of Baghdad. My intel section, 6 soldiers, was responsible for the acquisition, analysis, assessment and dissemination of intel within our area of operations. Our primary tool was DCGS-A, a platform that integrated several intelligence analysis tools, one of which was GIS. However for our work in the field ‘outside the wire’, in the heat, dust, cramped spaces of vehicles, we used TIGR.
It was fast, simple and intuitive and it would show what someone else had uploaded in real time, we all could see what was going on in our area of operations, with detailed info and images.
Background on TIGR
Based on feedback from the intelligence and special operations community, DARPA developed a cloud-based intelligence reporting system in 2007 that could be used in the field and required minimal support. It has since been expanded to an app that can be used on military issued smart phones and tablets.
Unlike GIS, which the intel community in higher echelons relies on heavily, TIGR is an easy to use, graphics oriented intelligence reporting program and app that allows soldiers to report information into a cloud in near real time with simple intuitive controls.
General Dynamics explains further: “TIGR is an information-centric solution that empowers users to collect, share and analyze data using a Google Earth like interface backed by network distribution that is resilient to the tactical network challenges. It was developed in line with what Soldiers operating at Company and below needed to increase combat effectiveness across the full spectrum of operations.
TIGR breaks from the traditional hierarchical, bottom-up filtered information flow of reporting, and instead builds on the successes of direct peer-to-peer collaboration. Its collaborative environment provides a unique multimedia solution using graphics, high resolution imagery, line of sight tools, and a searchable database to support the full spectrum of operations (plan, prepare, execute and assess). TIGR assists soldiers in planning and execution by providing:"
The Army culled several redundant intel and mapping systems recently, but TIGR was one that stayed in the system.
Real time essential information would go out over the radio network, but immediate post event intel reporting, with more detail and with pictures was possible with TIGR. Analysts on the FOB would see it instantly and begin deeper analysis and with a better picture could potentially use drone assets to help us more effectively.
Even someone at the Pentagon could see what we were reporting instantly and in some cases like raids on high-value targets, this in fact happened. Sometimes with the madness of an operation and hectic radio chatter and incomplete intel over phone calls and chatroom exchanges between intelligence analysts hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles apart, a quickly uploaded SITREP or SPOT report could clarify the picture instantly.
On the ground if a patrol was forced to take an unplanned route on-the-fly, TIGR could be searched with customizable parameters, for example you could search IED or other hostile events on a route, 200 meters wide, during a specific time frame. This type of instant access to relevant intel would be impossible with GIS.
While TIGR cannot replace the BATS/HIIDES biometric toolkits and databases or the analytical power of GIS, it fills a much needed role on the tactical level.
We even trained scouts in our unit who had no prior training on intel systems, in a matter of days and it allowed them to post incident reports when there were no intel assets embedded in their patrol.
If we weren’t with a patrol, then normally potentially time sensitive intel would not be known to the intel team until after their return and we debriefed them, but with TIGR we could get it in near real time.
More than a few times a photo was posted through TIGR of a vehicle that fit the description of a BOLO and we were able to push UAV assets to the location with 15 minutes and acquire the vehicle.
It isn’t the prettiest in the world, having a very Google look to it, but it is functional and reliable and in these types of situations, you don’t have time to worry about aesthetics.
IT has been 6 years now since I used TIGR and the system has no doubt been upgraded, but I will never forget the powerful advantage it gave us in battling a determined and resourceful foe. Of all the advantages our weapons systems and training gave us, the power of superior knowledge, through actionable intelligence was possible the biggest game changer.
In hostile environments where you are running on adrenaline, constantly moving and needing to be aware of a hundred things at once, a simple user friendly intel collection application allows you to capture events that otherwise would be inaccurately reported hours later.