From the NZ Herald last week, TomTom, the Dutch In-car GPS maker, launched their products in NZ Market, choosing to use mapping data from a local software provider , Geosmart , in place of Sensis’s NZ product, Whereis TM.
Why is this interesting?
TomTom own a reported 39% of the Australian In-car GPS market. That’s big bucks for Sensis, when you consider that since 2005, every TomTom device sold in Australia has had Sensis’s WhereIS maps pre-loaded on to it.
When TomTom launched in Australia in 2005, TomTom signed an agreement for Whereis to provide Australian mapping data to TomTom, marking TomTom’s entry into the Australian portable car navigation market.
Now since that TomTom/Sensis agreement, Navteq entered the Australian market in 2007, after 2 years of mapping Australian roads. No word on which GPS manufacturers Navteq will be working with locally (can’t purchase the data on the Navteq website yet)
Update: According to CNET, Navteq will be working with Nokia (parent company), Ausway & Peugeout-Citroen.
So would TomTom switch to Navteq data in Australia, if the price was right?
In Europe, in May this year Navteq lost a contract to supply European mapping data for all TomTom devices. So it looks doubtful that TomTom would partner with Navteq locally.
Ok, how about local outfit MapData Sciences (MDS), who supply Google Maps Australia with their mapping data?
Turns out that MDS still don’t have a navigation-quality dataset for in-car GPS devices (although they host a variety of GPS tracking/mapping applications).
Other news on the local GPS device front, Intelematics is currently trialling a traffic message channel (TMC) which will allow certain GPS devices to receive messages related to traffic in their local area
For now Sensis still has its stronghold on the in-car navigation mapping data market in Australia, but as the NZ TomTom deal shows, locally it would only take a relatively small mapping data provider like Geosmart to seriously rock the boat.