HERE Crowdsources Belarus Mapping
The catalyst for Belarus’s geographic coming out, so to speak, was not a change of heart by the longtime president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, but the pursuit of a pressing market opportunity by Nokia, the Finnish maker of mobile phones, whose own digital mapping business, HERE, has become one of the world’s most active cartographers.
In just three months, Nokia’s volunteers in Belarus added 22,000 kilometers, or 14,000 miles, of streets and roadways and 11,000 places of interest to the global database at HERE, formerly Nokia Maps.
And, no, it was not Nokia's idea.
Nokia took the time to fill in the topographic blanks in Belarus, a market with 10 million consumers, after map enthusiasts there organized on VK, a Russian social network that competes with Facebook, and approached Nokia with a request to map their country digitally. The request coincided with demand from phone users in Russia, who are increasingly making the 20-hour drive through Belarus and Poland to Western Europe for business or vacations.
What does participants get from the experience? Beyond a better map that apparently Nokia owns, experience, per an academic in Bosnia, another area where Nokia is using crowdsourced data.
Branislav Drakovic, head of the geography department at the University of East Sarajevo in Pale, Bosnia, said the process of helping Nokia update its maps — by entering geographic data, names and points of interest through the HERE Map Creator, an Internet-based mapping program devised by Nokia — was invaluable for his students.
“Many students have found the work with online maps to be very interesting, not just for personal development and for credits at the university, but also for the development of their local community,” Mr. Drakovic said. Putting Bosnia and Herzegovina on the map, in this case a Nokia map, is a good start, he added.
- NY Times