Intermap Technologies announced this week that it has licensed shaded terrain products which leverage the nationwide NEXTMap 3D mapping database to MapQuest, Inc. Additionally, Intermap will deliver shaded terrain products for Europe from its NEXTMap Europe database and the remainder of the world for subsequent releases on the MapQuest.com consumer Web site and Platform products, according to press materials.
In April I reported on Intermap’s NEXTMap USA release. Completed March 16, 2009, NEXTMap USA is the first company-funded initiative to map 3.1 million square miles (more than 8 million km2) of the entire contiguous U.S. and Hawaii in 3D. Elevation data for the national dataset includes 3D digital terrain models, digital surface models, contours, 3D road centerline geometries, and other high-resolution geospatial products as part of the Company’s proactive mapping program.
“We’re really transitioning from the collection phase to truly putting everything on the shelf,” explained Kevin Thomas, vice president of Marketing, Intermap. “We finished collecting Europe in August of last year, so we still had to go through the editing process in order to create a finalized product that’s on the shelf. By the end of April we should have all of Western Europe, that is about 2.4 million square kilometers, to put on the shelf at the same time. Then we continued through the rest of this year to edit all the U.S. data so we can get it on the shelf at the beginning of 2010.”
When Intermap set out to collect the entire U.S., many people said it “can’t be done,” Thomas pointed out, and even near completion, watchers were incredulous. “They didn’t think it was possible to collect that much data over a couple of years’ time frame and then making it commercially available — it’s never been done.” Thomas noted that it took the U.S. government 30 plus years to collect it using varying methods to create the USGS DEMS “that obviously don’t have the accuracy and uniform nature that Intermap has collected.” Thomas said that the collection launches a whole new breed of applications in the future.
From the press release: “We are excited to provide MapQuest with terrain products that will boost its innovative online assets with our advanced wide area 3D map database,” said Garth Lawrence, Intermap’s senior vice president of strategic business. “By incorporating Intermap’s data products, MapQuest is delivering detailed terrain visualization that will enhance the map-viewing experience for MapQuest’s millions of users.”
Most end users won’t know where this robust technology comes from, nor what its potential is, however, the enhancements should definitely make their map experience more indepth.