NAVTEQ helps people get where they're going. Car and navigation system manufacturers incorporate the company's digital mapping database into vehicle navigation and fleet management systems. It also sells to government agencies, mobile phone makers, software developers, and delivery services. The database features such information as street names, turn restrictions, and the locations of hospitals, gas stations, and tourist destinations. It includes data for more than 80 countries on six continents. The company counts BMW, Garmin, MapQuest, and Trimble Navigation among its customers. NAVTEQ is a subsidiary of mobile phone maker Nokia.
Nokia paid about $8.1 billion to acquire NAVTEQ in 2008 to further the development of its Ovi Maps segment, with the aim of moving into location-based services such as targeted advertising. The company completed advertiser trials with McDonalds and Best Western in Europe during 2010 using its LocationPoint Advertising system. Its NAVTEQ Media Solutions segment also oversees the larger interactive advertising business of parent Nokia.
NAVTEQ faces competition from Google, which uses and advertising model for its map free services, as well as TomTom which licenses map data. To address the Google threat in particular, the company has a partnership with Microsoft in which its location information is incorporated into Microsoft's nascent competing Bing Web search tool.
NAVTEQ also continues to expand its content and functionality to stay ahead of competitors. In 2010 the company rolled out new visual content -- including 3-D landmarks, 3-D city models, and junction view images -- using its NAVTEQ True mapping collection system. The system uses panoramic and high-resolution cameras, LIDAR (similar to radar, but using scattered light), GPS, and IMU positioning (used to guide aircraft, ships, and missiles) to superimpose images over collected data. Also that year, the company expanded its real-time traffic data service in Europe, adding the UK; real-time service became available in Russia in 2011.
The company has used acquisitions to fuel growth. In 2010 it bought PixelActive, which specialized in 3-D modeling of roads, buildings, and terrain. The purchase supported NAVTEQ's transition to 3-D mapping and gave the company a platform to create 3-D content. The company boosted its location-based advertising options the previous year with the purchase of Acuity Mobile.
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