Getting Out from Behind the Wheel

If you’ve been following this blog’s entries about how digital mapping data providers compile their data (see the Surveying category archives), you’ll know that since time immemorial — or at least the 1940s — mapmakers have compiled their road data by driving the roads. But in Wired’s October issue, there’s a story about how Tele Atlas is moving away from that, thanks to their acquisition of GDT, a company founded by Don Cooke that tried to avoid driving when compiling road data:

Adamant about compiling data, instead of looking for it out the window, Cooke started with road classification information from the Census Bureau and determined rough speed limits so he’d have a sense of which routes were most efficient. Next, GDT acquired detailed aerial photography of major cities. “We could look at a street and see which way cars were parked, even tire rubber going into intersections, and deduce 85 percent of the turn restrictions and one-way attributes,” Cooke says.

See previous entries: Thomas Guides, Navteq on KPCC; NY Times: Navteq in New York; Again: TeleAtlas in Berlin; The New Yorker on Maps and Directions; Again: NavTeq in San Diego; Another Profile: Navteq in New York; TeleAtlas in Santa Fe; More on Digital Map Field Researchers; CNet Profiles TeleAtlas; SF Chronicle: Digital Map Field Researchers; Backcountry Mapping; Online Maps’ Foot Soldiers.