Navteq Unveils Landmark-Based Navigation

At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin today, Navteq announced a new form of voice navigation called Natural Guidance:

NAVTEQ Natural Guidance leapfrogs today’s linear navigation instructions — e.g. “turn right in 50 meters on Kurfürstendamm” — by guiding the way humans instruct each other, through descriptions of orientation points such as distinctive points of interest and landmarks — e.g. “turn right after the yellow shop” or “turn right at the traffic signal.” Research shows consumers desire more intuitive and practical directions because it is easier to follow and allows the user to keep their eyes on the road. NAVTEQ Natural Guidance enables applications to use recognizable and easily understandable points of reference close to the decision point to highlight the next maneuver.

Landmark-based navigation isn’t the only way people navigate. I’m probably highly weird in that I tend to navigate by streets and highway markers, not by landmarks — I’m not going to turn left at the Wendy’s because I’m not looking for or at restaurants when I drive. Having said that, people who navigate like me — all 12 of us — are already well served by voice-based turn-by-turn directions. I imagine that people who use landmarks will much prefer this sort of navigation — assuming Navteq can get it working properly.

It’s available for eight cities so far, with plans to expand. No word in the press release about the devices on which Natural Guidance will be available. Via CNet.