Smartphones, digital mapping driving innovation for Navman

Navman's recently announced free monthly verified mapping updates from HERE, a Nokia business, in its new GPS range for New Zealand and Australian drivers is just one way Navman is pushing to stay ahead of the technology curve.

Computerworld New Zealand asked Navman executive Noeleen Lechner how consumer demand had changed the personal navigation device market over the past four years and how Navman had responded.

Lechner says that four to five years ago GPS was about getting from A to B. “But with the emergence of smartphones and digital mapping, the need to stay relevant and offer consumers a better driving and navigation experience has driven our feature set. Safety features became a large focus for Navman in 2010, and navigation innovation has been driven to stay ahead of smartphone technology.”

New features introduced over the past four years include fresher map updates, the inclusion of speed camera locations and spoken alerts, live traffic updates, landmark guidance, smartfind keyword search, voice destination entry, a shortcut button to identify cafés, premium driver alerts that warn of upcoming overtaking lanes and the like, and an enhanced Bluetooth hands-free function.

Lechner says Navman’s market share in New Zealand has been steady over the past four years, ranging from 30 per cent to 36 per cent.

However, the staggering number of changes happening to roads each year is a challenge, Lechner says. Last year HERE made changes to 21,800 km of roads, 2600 street names, 1700 turn restrictions, 500 one-way streets and 1700 road directional signs for its New Zealand map.

As the roading system continues to evolve, the New Zealand Transport Agency estimates that from 2012 to 2015 national spending on local roads will be $4.1 billion and $5.1 billion on state highways.

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