Garmin has announced that it is buying Maine-based GPS manufacturer DeLorme. “Garmin will retain most of the associates of DeLorme and will continue operations at its existing location in Yarmouth, Maine following the completion of the acquisition. The Yarmouth facility will operate primarily as a research and development facility and will continue to develop two-way satellite communication devices and technologies. Financial terms of the purchase agreement and acquisition will not be released.” (Presumably that means that Eartha won’t be moved to Olathe.)
[A]s Google aimed its maps mostly at consumers, Esri was able to hold on to its revenue base among power users in business, government and other organizations. Google is great for directions or locating your home on Zillow. But if you are, say, the Bavarian police charged with securing the G7 Summit near Munich and need a detailed real-time dashboard that can pinpoint every delegation, police officer, emergency vehicle, first responder, protest site, road closure, mountain trail and access point to the summit’s venue, you’ll use Esri. Last year Google pulled the plug on a halfhearted push into enterprise maps and began moving its customers to Esri.
Notable that Esri has stayed private rather than raising capital through the stock market, which in the tech sector is just unbelievable. Its estimated value is $3 billion.
Peter Bellerby is interviewed in Fashion Times. Bellerby is the founder of Bellerby & Co., which makes hand-made, hand-painted—and very expensive—globes. (When I blogged about them last August, the cheapest globe I could find in their catalogue was £999.) Bellerby’s PR and marketing is fairly sophisticated and positions a globe as a serious luxury good; being interviewed in Fashion Times is consistent with that. They’re not exactly in the same market as Replogle, if you follow me. [via]
Last October the Wichita Eagle profiled Ken Gebhart, the 79-year-old owner of Celestaire, a local company that sells navigation equipment, including sextants. The sextants are Chinese imports; Celestaire itself makes the navigation tables and almanacs that accompany sextant use. You might have thought that sextants had gone the way of horses and buggies, but apparently the U.S. Navy is reviving celestial navigation training, as a fallback in the event of a GPS failure. [via]
Bellerby & Co. produces gorgeous hand-made, hand-painted globes. Peter Bellerby started the company six years ago—he wanted to make a globe for his father for his birthday, but got a bit carried away. Very much a luxury product: the least expensive item I could find in their catalogue was £999, and the higher-end and custom globes climb well into five figures. Not, in other words, comparable to Replogle’s product line.
Citing changing priorities, Yahoo announced today that Yahoo Maps is among the products that it will be shutting down; it’ll go dark at the end of this month. “However,” says Yahoo chief architect Amotz Maimon, “in the context of Yahoo search and on several other Yahoo properties including Flickr, we will continue to support maps.” Business Insider, TechCrunch, VentureBeat.
For a few years Yahoo Maps got frequent upgrades and improvements. The current map platform launched in May 2007; it replaced a Flash-based map engine that first debuted as a beta in November 2005 and became the default map a year later, replacing an even older map service that, if my memory serves, was like the pre-Google Maps MapQuest. Since then Yahoo Maps has stagnated—but for a while there, before Google Maps became the dominant juggernaut it is today, it could have been a contender.
Google Maps turned 10 years old on Sunday—a milestone observed by Samuel Gibbs in the Guardian. See also Liz Gannes’s retrospective at Re/Code. My reaction on launch day was pretty effusive—I was blown away mainly by the user interface. But it wasn’t immediately dominant: it took roughly four years for Google to surpass MapQuest in traffic.
Meanwhile, the Pro version of Google Earth, which used to cost $400/year, is now free. Google Earth itself launched in June 2005, so is approaching its own 10-year anniversary, but it began its existence a few years earlier as Keyhole EarthViewer 3D.
Speaking of map anniversaries, National Geographic Maps is marking its centennial.
The photo above marks another anniversary: It shows Apollo 14 astronaut Ed Mitchell consulting a map during his second lunar EVA on February 6, 1971. Apollo 14 returned to Earth 44 years ago yesterday.
“Google Street View wasn’t built to create maps like this, but the geo team quickly realized that computer vision could get them incredible data for ground truthing their maps.” The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal gets an exclusive look at Google’s “Ground Truth” program, which uses Street View cars to check and improve map data. I can’t help but see giving press access to this as another example of Google explaining how hard making their maps is for competitive reasons.