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Car-top and back-pack versions of 360 degree and 3-D cameras for digital mapping
 
 
Hey map, tell me how to get there!

 Indian companies are giving the ancient art of cartography, a digital spin -- with  3-D, video and voice
Gurugram, National Capital Region: Robert Louis Stevenson,   best known as the author of the kids' classic 'Treasure Island',  once wrote: 'To travel hopefully,  is better than to arrive.' It may have been true in an earlier age when anticipation was as enjoyable as achievement. Not  anymore. Today, we want to get there  by the fastest -- not, the most scenic -- route.    The days of the well-thumbed school atlas have gone. Today's maps are  digital, portable -- and  vocal.  And Indians are in the vanguard  when in to comes  to innovation in maps, location and navigation. A national conference on "Map the Future" in Delhi last week  highlighted how desi  enterprises are giving the ancient art of cartography, a digital spin -- with  3-D, video and voice.
The biggest domestic  digital mapper is Okhla-based  MapmyIndia  whose maps  created over  a period of  22 years,  fuel  a wide slate of   commercial  solutions in  navigation, location-based services and geographic information systems.
Yet,  for you and me,  the  core of the company's Indian maps are available as  a free app for Android or iOS (called simply 'Map') that  we can run on a mobile phone.  You can use it for step-by-step driving directions from your current location to most of the parts in India. And usefully, you can add  your own home or business on the map  in a 6-character code --eLoc- India's First Nation-wide Digital Address System,  developed by Bangalore-based Reverie Language Technologies. Like the voice assistants that can be found  on may phones, Map  has a speaking mode. You can say 'HeyMap!'  -- and ask for spoken directions.  The app uses imagery  from Bhuvan,  ISRO's 2D and 3D imaging platform which will soon  fuel  NAVIC, the country's own  sat-nav system that  will make India,  independent of GPS if required.
"Map" has variants that help Indian fisherman to remain within territorial waters.  Idea Cellular  uses essentially the same map base to create a GSM phone-based  tracking solution for  trucks and transport players. Reverie  has  also helped  create India's first  language-based keyboard for MapmyIndia maps: an Ola cab driver in  Andhra Pradesh who may not know English,  can use the Telugu  version of the route finder.
Healthcare is another arena for map-based services -- and these same maps fuel  "Visit"  ( www.getvisitap.com) an  Artificial Intelligence-driven m-health app  from a Delhi start-up,for anyone to get free medical advice  and also locate nearest   pharmacy, hospital or ambulance service.  Indeed  harnessing digital maps  can kickstart the most unusual services:
Aatapaha is a Gurugram-based   lighting specialist  who is working on a project to  automate 1.5 million street lights in India.  Location-sensitive smart street lamps  can switch on and off depending on  the traffic that flows past them.
Perhaps the most exciting outreach of the   maps business is the transition from 2D to 3D maps and from 3D static to video maps.   Bangalore startup   Vidteq ( acquired this month by MapmyIndia) has produced  3-D  video maps for 20 cities  that are used by builders,  resorts and educational institutions.   Their next project:  the world's first  Digital Map twin of the real world,  with 3D and 360 degree views of indoors and outdoors, captured by GPS,  laser and panoramic cameras, mounted on vehicle or as a backpack.  At the  Map the Future conference, these cameras were  parked at the entrance to the venue appropriately called Kingdom of Dreams -- ready to record and digitize the world.  This was one digital dream , that was being 'made in India'  -- for the world.




    


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