New Report Maps the Wide World of…Maps

Location and mapping are certainly among the primary drivers of local commerce. One can remember not too long ago how maps were only good at points of interest or POI. Nowadays, maps are as essential as the search box or an email server. While in the U.S. we tend to think only about Google and Apple Maps, the world has a multitude of mapping players.

We found this report on the mapping industry coming out of the research and advisory firm Counterpoint quite interesting. For context, on a global basis, devices spin off billions and billions of data on any given day. That data is then converted by really smart technology into intelligence. This data then gets merged with business data and time data and all sorts of data. And the results power the world of location and local commerce. 

All that data and intelligence gets pushed around and back and forth via license and partnership deals. We’re bound to see remarkable advances when visualization technologies are married with robust location and mapping data. Counterpoint made it a point to consider the global nature of the mapping and location business and did some interesting market mapping. The result, called the Location Platform Vendor Scorecard, looked at more than 25 of the leading mapping and location vendors.

Here’s the Winner

The scorecard takes 65 variables into account in seven key categories. Those seven categories are maps data, location intelligence, location services, data platform, developer ecosystem, partners, and customer growth.  The chart below summarizes their findings for the 2021 analysis. 

Counterpoint Research CORE Analysis - Location Platforms Evaluation 2021

According to Counterpoint, Here, is the leading location platform based on their analysis. Apparently, Here — now some 37 years old —  has been the leading platform, for fives year running.

The research company’s Vice President said the following about Here.

“With a few years in making, Here has thus evolved into an industry-first and one-stop platform with infrastructure and toolsets for companies to develop, license, and integrate first and third-party mapping, location intelligence data into their applications at scale.

“Further, help generate, analyze, visualize, and monetize the data using the same platform. HERE has become ‘Switzerland of location platform’ with an open, neutral and privacy-centric offering compared to Google or other vertical players.”

The notion of a “Switzerland of location platforms” is probably how Here has retained and built its position. By being Switzerland, players from all around the world can partner with Here to advance their own individual mapping solutions. 

Google’s Weak Points

It should come as no surprise that Google comes in second place in their analysis.

“Google’s strength has been around POIs, location-based services integrated with its advertising platform for businesses. Google has also ramped up a number of platform tools this year for visualization and analytics to compete with Mapbox and HERE,” the Counterpoint analysts wrote.

“Google still lags when it comes to automotive, enterprise sectors behind HERE, TomTom, and regional champions in key markets. And Google has been relatively slow to transform into a full-blown platform model despite in mapping usage.”

Counterpoint Research CORE Analysis - Location Platforms Customers & Partners Relationships Jan 2022

In third place is TomTom. The Counterpoint research team had this to say about the now 31-year-old company. “TomTom launched a number of mapping and navigation products focusing on newer opportunities such as Electric Vehicle services, ADAS & HD Maps, Digital Cockpit for the new generation cars through new offerings such as Horizon and Indigo.”

Why So Down Apple?

Another area where TomTom has done well is cracking maps data licensing deals with marquee clients such as Microsoft (Bing & Azure Maps), Huawei, Apple, Carto, and others. This expands its reach and enriches its location data. Within automotive and enterprise space it is becoming a two-horse race between HERE and TomTom, though TomTom still lags on a comprehensive location platform capability compared to HERE in terms of developer workspace, visualization tools, marketplace and so forth.”

Most interesting to us is the position of Apple in the scorecard ranking. Ranking in 15th position seems odd to us here in the U.S. where iPhones are such an important player. But we often forget that while Apple’s iPhone has a 60% market share here in the U.S., its market share globally is just 27% with Android having over 70% share according to Statcounter.  

As the chart above shows, there are numerous regional mapping players. As part of the Counterpoint report, they also made a terrific visualization of the mapping ecosystem, as seen above.

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