Tech Talk Video with CloudMade’s CTO

In this short video, CloudMade’s CTO, Jim Brown, talks about CloudMade’s technologies and how they are used to create better user experiences in automotive, outdoors, fitness and wearable products.

The technologies Jim talked about can be found here:

  • Hybrid – aggregation, sync and management of location content
  • Mapsafe  – cloud-based personal data and preference storage, sync, access and backup
  • Micromap - a compressed, routable, searchable geodata format
  • UMDb – a tool chain that imports data from numerous formats into Micromap

To learn more about CloudMade’s technologies and for a demonstration of their capabilities, get in touch.

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October 7th, 2013 - Posted by Nick Black in for OEMs, geodata, products, talks, technologies

Single Line Search in Navigation

CloudMade’s On-the-Go Search

We’re re-shaping search-on-the-go at CloudMade, making search faster, easier and more relevant while in the car read on to find out more

In this post we look at how CloudMade’s On-Dash and In-Dash platforms use our Hybrid Data and Mapsafe technologies to let users search through point of interest data from many different providers and see the results represented as a single item.  For some real-world examples of this in action, check out Magellan’s SmartGPS product that lets users search through Yelp, Foursquare and TomTom data from a single interface.

Global Search

Users want access to a rich world of location information from a single search interface.  After all, Google lets us search the entire content of the web from a single interface, so why should we need to go into separate ”apps” when searching for a place to stop for lunch?

When the user searches for “Pizza”, search results are shown, sorted by distance, from different providers on a single screen.  In this example you can see results that appear both in Yelp and Foursquare, results that only appear in Yelp and results that only appear in TomTom data – indicated by the icons at the far right of each returned result.

Search

CloudMade’s Mapsafe technology provides social context to search results, in this case associating each place with check-ins, reviews and posts made by the user’s friends on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Disambiguated Results

The next screens show how the user is able to view the details associated with the results.  Different data providers have different attributes and strengths.  Yelp for example includes a 1-5 star rating, Foursquare data is typically updated the most frequently, Tom-Tom often has the most accurate positional data.

CloudMade’s Hybrid Data technology handles a process of disambiguation which takes unique results from three (or more) datasets, for example a pizza place in Yelp, Foursquare and TeleAtlas and understands through a process of fuzzy matching that the three separate entities in-fact refer to the same real-world location and presents a single, disambiguated result to the user.  This gives you the best of all worlds: the user gets the latest, richest information from sources like Yelp and Foursquare whilst you can rely on the positional accuracy of a provider like TeleAtlas.

Search-Disambiguation

A note on merging and disambiguation – at no point does CloudMade’s platform merge results together.  The different databases (Yelp, Foursquare and TomTom in this case) are kept as separate databases with the user being able to search from a single interface, see all results on a single page and quickly filter through different providers.

Live Results

Where devices have an internet connection, through a Bluetooth tether for example, live results from an online search provider like Google Places can be fed into the search results.

Search-Live
Discussion

The capabilities of CloudMade’s On-Dash and In-Dash platforms to handle large volumes of rapidly changing geo-data from a vast number of different sources and make the geo-data available to OEMs through a set of cross platform APIs opens up a new range of use cases and possibilities for device OEMs to create vibrant, exciting search experiences.  Some of the new possibilities include:

- Global search across a huge number of different datasets

- Including photos of locations, products, menus in search results

- Including user generated reviews and ratings in search results

- Integrating sources from small, niche providers that may cover one vertical in particular metros but not offer full regional coverage

- Integrating sources that may lack accurate positional data

Contact CloudMade to learn more about the capabilities of our On-Dash and In-Dash platforms.

May 7th, 2013 - Posted by Nick Black in for OEMs, geodata, products, technologies

What’s New At CloudMade

Many people have been asking me lately, about what is happening at CloudMade and where our business is going.

So, as I always love talking about CloudMade, here is the high level view.

We have a lot of extremely exciting activity going on with products in particular (both launched and launching soon) that use our core technologies on the device and inside the application. These are backed by the Hybrid Data and Mapsafe stacks which connect the cloud and the device together.   These range from launched devices with major OEMs in Europe (i.e. Medion and others) to products we expect to hit the shelves soon (i.e. SmartGPS from Magellan). You will be able to buy and use the products in the USA and globally over the next six months. At CloudMade, we are very focused on the On-Dash, In-Dash, Fitness & Outdoor and Truck&Fleet markets with activities and projects in each of these areas. Our passion is about location enabled user experiences in these areas and we see a stream of very cool stuff coming.

Our internal development teams in Stuttgart and Kyiv are totally engaged in projects with our partners, and through these projects bringing these new products to life.

In the application space, we see continued innovation around the Leaflet open source project and in the use of both OSM and commercial data sets with our web services to create new and compelling consumer experiences.  This ranges from small research projects to significant games to major transport agencies using our cloud to power their solutions.

As for where this is all going, I expect that, with our partners, we will continue to innovate and produce new user experiences in the embedded and application space that will combine the cloud and the real world in compelling ways.  And along the way we will build a smarter Cloud and infrastructure that supports, enables and connects these solutions.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks and months.

Jim

February 25th, 2013 - Posted by Jim Brown in customers, news, products

Refresh of Map Tiles, Geocoding, Routing

Today we’re releasing a new CloudMade platform.  As well as building out new products, we’ve been busy making the CloudMade APIs that you depend on better, faster, cheaper and more stable.  I’d like to share some highlights with you:

- >99.9% uptime on Map Tiles, Geocoding, Routing in 2012.
- Uninterrupted service delivery through 3 Amazon AWS outages.
- We continued pushing the envelope of AWS’ capabilities to reduce costs, improve speed and stability.
- Leaflet has hit its 0.5 release to become the leading HTML5 map library on the web. More big Leaflet news to come over the next few weeks.
- The global OpenStreetMap community now numbers over 1,000,000 contributors who are curating and creating the world’s biggest and best map.

In 2013 we’re passing the benefits directly to you. We have simplified our pricing and from the 1 March we’re rolling out new, lower priced services:

- Map Tiles: $25 per million tile transactions. First 500,000 free each month
- Geocodes: $15 per 100,000 geocoding transactions. First 10,000 free each month
- Routes: $15 per 100,000. First 100,000 free each month

All users – paid or not – get the great service you expect from CloudMade:
- 99.9% uptime SLA or 2x your money back
- 24 hour guaranteed email response times
- SSL for just $2 extra per million map tiles

Its been a great ride over the last 4 years at CloudMade. The developer community has built some stunning apps, websites and services. The CloudMade team are here to make the next 4 years even bigger and better.

February 25th, 2013 - Posted by Nick Black in for developers, products

Transport for London Chooses CloudMade

Transport for London is one of the largest public transportation agencies in the world.  Each day their bus network alone carries more than 6 million passengers.  For those passengers, finding bus information just got a lot easier with the new “Countdown”website, powered by CloudMade.  Try it out here.

TFL-Countdown-CloudMade

The Transport for London portal uses CloudMade’s Map Tiles and Geocoding with a custom SLA and server installation inside our Amazon based cloud.  The map style was created using the Style Editor and our Cartography Design services.  If you like what you see, get in touch.

February 1st, 2012 - Posted by Nick Black in cartography, customers, products, style editor

Better for users, game developers and brands

CloudMade has found a way to add value for people playing mobile games, generate additional revenue for game developers and create a very compelling way for brands to drive retail traffic and revenue.

cute guy with a phone

Mobile games are a huge marketing opportunity
Millions of users are having fun playing mobile games every day. This creates a huge marketing opportunity for consumer brands.

Banners are not the perfect solution
The only way brands and game developers are really taking advantage of this huge marketing opportunity is through banner ads adopted from the web. The banners do add revenue for game developers, but most gamers don’t like seeing banners in the middle of their game. In addition, the banners are rarely the right tool for consumer brands and retailers to achieve positive branding, retail traffic and an increase in revenue.

Sponsored Locations
We need to find a tool that ensures that game developers make money and that brands get a great marketing tool in a way that people playing mobile games love.

CloudMade has solved this challenge by talking to leading brands and top game developers and building a service that meets their specific needs. The solution we have come up with is Sponsored Locations.

We look forward to talking to you too
If you are a game developer or a consumer brand that we have not yet talked to about tailoring Sponsored Locations to YOUR needs, we look forward to connecting with you soon. In the meantime, you can learn more about Sponsored Locations here.

December 19th, 2011 - Posted by in for developers, news, products

Announcing Leaflet: a Modern Open Source JavaScript Library for Interactive Maps

Web Maps API — our JavaScript library for putting CloudMade maps online — has been a hugely popular tool that has enabled web developers to create unique map experiences like these.  Web Maps API v2 has served our users very well, being praised for its performance and ease of use. But there’s a problem: it wasn’t designed with mobile devices in mind. Last years there was an overwhelming progress in what mobile browsers are capable of thanks to technologies like HTML5. What if online maps could work as smoothly as native apps on mobile?

There’s one more thing to consider: CloudMade developer community has a lot of talented people in it that could help with the development of the library, but so far Web Maps API was not a part of our open source efforts.

Today we’re announcing the first public release of Leaflet — a new open source JavaScript library for interactive maps for both mobile and desktop browsers, developed by CloudMade to form the core of its next generation Web Maps API.

Leaflet is built from the ground up to work efficiently and smoothly on both platforms. It’s very fast, lightweight while still having a strong browser support, and really easy to use. It also has a clean, simple and readable OOP-based code, and it’s hosted on the world’s best open source collaboration platform — GitHub, so contributing is a snap.

It’s still in the beta stage of development, so it lacks a couple of features and has some rough edges, but it’s moving fast — try it and give us some feedback, either by tweeting to @LeafletJS or reporting bugs and discussing features on the issues page.

Find out more on the Leaflet official website.

May 13th, 2011 - Posted by in for developers, geodata, products

Supercharge your web app with Facebook Places Integration

With the awesome news about the introduction of Facebook Places, we’d like to show you some sample code for our Web Maps API that allows you to plot checked-in Facebook Friends on a Stylized Map.

With just 60 lines of code you can now tap into the largest social network on the planet and add an exciting social media element to your web app. You could implement this code in a number of different ways: for example, in a bar or restaurant finder web site to immediately see which of your friends have been where and when. Other possible examples might include, web sites where you want to include a travel diary element to promote interesting places to visit.

checkin

Check out the sample code here and start experimenting with it today. We’d love to hear about your cool new implementations or help you integrate it into your web app, so please email us.

The CloudMade Developer Team

September 3rd, 2010 - Posted by Nick Black in products

Putting the Developer in Charge

Juha

Earlier on this year a smart VC, who multiple times has competed successfully against Google, told me that Google is generally willing to act as an “irrational economic player”. It’s willing to destroy value just so others can’t get at it, even if it means destroying value for itself.

Google just announced that it will offer navigation. Navigation has so far captured 70%+ of the $2 billion mapping market. The bad news for established navigation players like Tele Atlas and Navteq is that this will erode the value of navigation, just like the value of maps have been eroded. The good news for those players is that Google has now tipped its hand and shown that it’s willing to compete against the very ecosystem that it has been nurturing over the past couple of years.

Google’s strategy is to leverage maps, including navigation, to extend its current search franchise into local search. We’ve believed from day one of CloudMade that contextual search, using location data and some knowledge about the user (for example which app he/she is using) creates much more valuable CPM/CPC/CPAs. If you’re an advertiser or a merchant, you will pay more per impression if you know someone is a mountain biker and is near the bicycle mega store you own.

Google betting on one-size-fits all model
Google is betting on building a horizontal, local search franchise. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but please read on, it gets clearer. Google is building a one-size-fits-all set of services around mapping, and will serve the masses with those. Think about Google Maps, Latitude or Earth. They are horizontal one-size-fits-all web apps with little or no segmentation. Everyone uses the same app.

Meanwhile, in the process of building out end-user applications rather than sticking to being a platform player, Google is causing considerable collateral damage. Its move into the territory normally occupied by mobile operators, OEMs and small, medium and large developers is turning the marketplace against itself. The honeymoon is over and the do-no-evil days have ended. Google has declared any monetizable pocket in tech a target, including the key franchises of Apple, Microsoft, the mobile operators and now also mobile application developers. The problem with Google’s approach is, the value is not in horizontal services, but in leveraging the democratizing effect of the app stores to use the 100,000+ vertical apps as a way to divide the market into tiny segments and let them flourish and gain traction.

iphone

CloudMade believes vertical apps will inherently nano-segment the market
Most of the impressions that will hit consumers, and most searches that are contextually and location oriented, will occur through vertical apps. Take the mountain biker example. Where will I be more likely to respond if I want to a) navigate my mountain bike though a new trail and b) click on that ad from the bicycle mega store? A horizontal Google app, or a well crafted, vertical app written by a focused developer who understands my special interests? We believe the latter. We believe the mountain biking savvy, app developing expert who knows the hidden trails in his/her community will be better at providing relevance to local mountain bikers.

As I speak to mobile operators and handset manufacturers about the CloudMade business, it’s clear that most of the players understand the value of their immense reach, and want to pick long-term partners with whom they can build a franchise in local search, local advertising and local geo services.

It’s clear that Google’s latest move has served as a lighting rod for clarity in the value chain. Over the past days I have spoken to people throughout the ecosystem. So far, the uncertainty about what Google was doing has actually caused a lot of mobile operators, handset manufacturers and app developers to take a wait-and-see attitude. Now, with Google showing their hand, and making it clear that it’s willing to compete directly with substantial parts of the eco system to get at the local search market, we’re seeing that the wait-and-see is over. With Google choosing to go it alone rather than cooperate with the ecosystem, the ground rules have been laid down, and the competitive landscape is clear.

So what are we doing at CloudMade?
We’re building out our traction in the vertical mobile application area, signing developers within key categories that we believe will drive massive volume. This is a real micro-segmented approach, aimed at driving traffic to thousands of narrow verticals. We’re already seeing this scale.

Local, relevant ads: We’re jumping the learning curve on Location Based Advertising and Sponsored POIs. We’ll shortly be offering developers, mobile operators and handset manufacturers a revenue share on Sponsored POIs and ads that they include in their apps. This is big news to developers, who so far have had to depend on the modest revenues from selling apps at $0.99, $1.99 etc.

Data Marketplace: We’re building a massive marketplace for geo data. In fact, in a few weeks we have our “opening day” at the CloudMade Data Marketplace, the Turkish Bazar from which developers can choose a variety of content that they can mash into their maps. This will result in more app diversity, deeper functionality and even completely new types of vertical apps.

Offering for operators and handset manufacturers: CloudMade has created a super interesting set of propositions for mobile operators and handset manufacturers. We’re doing rev share deals with them where we work side-by-side to build franchises in the local geo spatial arena. We offer them onboard maps (built into their devices) and offboard maps (loaded from our servers), we offer them navigation jointly with our navigation partners and we offer up relationships with our many vertical app developers. For Tier 1, 2 and 3 operators and handset manufacturers this is turning out to be very compelling. The big differentiator is that the operators get to decide what the services look like, they get to brand them and they get to make money from them. That is as opposed to the alternative, which is to take someone else’s services, accept that they are all branded by someone else, who also pockets the ad revenues from them.

cloudmadestyle editor

We’re focusing on making maps look the way the merchants and developers want them to look. Through CloudMade’s Style Editor anyone, even non-technical people, can produce advanced, custom maps that reflect the brand and identity of their company or their customers company. We’ve found that many, especially those with no yellow in their corporate identity, prefer this to a one-size-fits-all yellow map.

Navigation: We’re continuing to ramp up our work with key players in the turn-by-turn navigation field to increase the scope for navigation solutions. We are building assets to help drive the verticalization of the field, so we see custom navigation for different verticals. Again, CloudMade doesn’t believe in one-size-fits-all. We think different types of navigation will require different types of apps. For example, if I’m hiking in the mountains I don’t care about roads. I want to navigate hiking trails, be directed to places where I can fill my water bottle, and I want to know where the vista points are.

Last, but not least, the most important component of CloudMade’ approach.

libs

Tools, tools, tools: CloudMade is focusing a lot of effort on the tools side. We believe that the best way we can serve the community of mappers and developers is to put all the control in their hands. We’ve demonstrated this through our efforts already, for example with our iPhone libraries. We’re similarly putting the control of Location Based Ads and Sponsored POIs into the hands of developers. Put yourself in the shoes of the vertical app developer. You know better than anyone else how your constituents want to be advertised to, what ads they want (and don’t want) to see and how to place those apps in your app.

Similarly, we’re readying a suite of tools that makes mapping easier, faster and more powerful.

mapzen

CloudMade’s web based Mapzen tool, and Mapzen POI Collector for iPhone will be available shortly. This suite of tools enables us to further serve the 180,000 person large OpenStreetMap community that is building the most detailed, finely textured and accurate map of the world. The community was founded by the founders of CloudMade, and most members of the CloudMade team are active members of the OpenStreetMap community. The map we’re building in the community is stunning in it’s detail. It’s essentially the Wikipedia of maps. After all, who knows better how to map a community than people who live in the community.

The Mapzen suite enables us to bridge the needs of app developers, who serve as a proxy for consumers in a given vertical segment, and the mappers, who are members of local communities or specialists in a certain type of mapping (e.g. mountain biking trails). Bridging the consumers needs for maps and the mappers’ desire to create maps that truly reflect their local community will result in mobile and web applications that both feature better maps and be more attractive to users.

So what’s the bottom line?
Over the next twelve months, we will see hundreds of thousands of vertical apps use maps and location services to better serve consumers with data about where they are, where they are going, how they get there and what is surrounding them at their location. We will see mappers collect map data that is highly relevant to local, narrow communities. We will see owners of diverse datasets make their data available though the Data Marketplace. In turn, we will see app developers jump on the opportunity and leverage the map data and Data Marketplace datasets into highly targeted, compelling and enchanting apps. Many will choose to monetize the apps through a combination of app store revenues as well as carefully selected Location Based Advertising and Sponsored POIs.

If you are with a larger company with a need for a mapping provider that does not compete with you email me at juha@cloudmade.com.

October 30th, 2009 - Posted by Emma Williamson in for developers, iPhone, news, products, style editor

Tesco’s troubles and reverse geocoding

Talk about coincidence. Just as I was about to share a couple of numbers from our geocoding traffic report, someone sent me a link to an interesting read by Nick Lansley of Tesco. In a nutshell, he, as well as dozens (hundreds?) of other iPhone developers have suddenly found themselves cut off from Google geocoding.

Back to our latest traffic report. I thought it was interesting enough to share some of it with everyone. While it is expected that all of our products show usage growth over time, the usage of geocoding has simply skyrocketed lately. According to our traffic report, the number of geocoding requests has increased more than ten-fold over the last four weeks, without any sign that the trend is changing. I am also quite impressed by adoption of version 2 of our geocoding API. Given that most requests come from mobile applications that have necessarily longer update cycles, the new API’s 30% share of traffic in only three weeks is really a large number. The most popular request type?

In the meantime, we’ve been working on better support for EU-style addressing, which will be available real soon. Also in the works, fast and accurate US addressing which will be brought online by the end of next month. More to come…

October 30th, 2009 - Posted by in api, iPhone, products

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