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To the Mapmobile!

Tele Atlas is driving a map around Singapore to create a 3D image system.

Crave Asia

If there was ever a comic book hero named Mapman, this would be his ride. Tele Atlas, a map content company out of Netherlands, is the owner of this orange van and the attached equipment. It creates maps of the roads it plies using a potpourri of location capture devices.

Mounted on top are four cameras, each capturing three images per second. The van can be configured with up to eight cameras depending on the landscape it is mapping, making it possible to capture 24 images per second when needed. Those are accompanied by laser scanners that help to determine the outline of buildings, allowing Tele Atlas to make 3D models of the environment for its 3D navigation maps. Check out our photo gallery to see more of what's in and on Tele Atlas' mapping van.

Tele Atlas operates 47 mapping vans all over the world, and this one in Singapore is the second vehicle in Asia Pacific after Taiwan. The company already has maps of Singapore since 2000 derived from GPS data and field survey. The purpose of the van is to improve on those maps already available, as well as to create 3D models of the cityscape.

It will take the van anywhere from six weeks to two months to complete its drive around Singapore, after which it will be deployed in other countries in Southeast Asia. It will be redeployed in Singapore at least once every year so that map data can be updated.

3D maps for Europe are already used by some device manufacturers. An example is the Mio which has deployed the 3D maps into some of its PNDs (personal navigation devices). Mark Steele, chief operating officer of Tele Atlas in this region, told us that 3D maps of Singapore will be available in navigation devices from the third quarter of next year.

(Source: Crave Asia)