Reshaping the Mapping Landscape with Data Ownership

The dynamic landscape of the mapping industry has presented significant challenges for companies relying on location-based services. Many businesses, including logistics companies, have generated substantial amounts of valuable data that hold immense potential for leveraging their operations. Yet, they find themselves at a crossroads, as companies struggle to retain control and ownership of their hard-earned data and proprietary insights while collaborating with traditional mapping providers.


This predicament leaves companies grappling with a crucial question: 

How can businesses unlock the full potential of their data without compromising their ownership?

Some attempt to address this challenge by investing in developing their own mapping solutions which prove costly and complex. Others opt to relinquish control by sharing their data with established players or open-source platforms like OpenStreetMaps.


Given the complexities at hand, there is a growing need for a transformative solution. To delve further into this matter, we spoke with Eamonn McEvoy, Chief Technology Officer at UNL. Eamonn embarked on his UNL journey three years ago, bringing with him over a decade of experience in software engineering spanning diverse industries.

Where is the mapping landscape heading?​

In the coming years, the vision for mapping solutions is expected to shift towards a more distributed nature. As the demand for ownership and control over data grows, an increasing number of companies are taking the initiative to create and utilize their own maps, tapping into the vast data they generate. This emerging trend indicates a shift in the industry, with companies prioritizing the retention of ownership rather than relinquishing it.


Currently, big companies dominate the market by offering comprehensive location services based on large, aggregated datasets. However, even these companies rely on data collected by their partners, which results in a loss of ownership for those partners. OpenStreetMap provides a platform for data contribution, but there is no reward system in place for contributors. Although this model works well in some parts of the world, particularly in Europe with excellent coverage, it lacks traction in emerging markets.


The advancements in AI are also expected to have a profound impact on location-based solutions in the coming years. While the exact implications are hard to predict, the influence of AI will undoubtedly play a significant role. However, regardless of the direction AI takes, the emphasis remains on maintaining ownership of data and establishing mechanisms for contributors to be rewarded for their efforts.

In what ways do you think UNL's micro-location infrastructure fulfills present requirements and establishes a framework for future maps that cater to forthcoming needs? ​

First and foremost, safeguarding the privacy and ownership of our clients’ data is our utmost priority. With UNL Virtual Private Maps (VPMs), companies can create business maps with just one click, eliminating the need for coding or technical expertise. This streamlined process empowers companies to securely and seamlessly integrate their business data and utilize it to power their location services.


VPMs offer a unique advantage by allowing companies to bring in their own location data while maintaining 100% ownership and autonomy in terms of access management. The design of VPMs is data-agnostic, enabling companies to enhance the power of their own data while also leveraging 3rd party, public, and private data sources. This comprehensive approach not only enriches the quality and depth of the data but also expands the range of insights and possibilities for location-based services.


Integration is key, and UNL ensures that VPM data seamlessly integrates with all the offerings in our Location Services portfolio. This integration provides a significant boost to the quality and performance of location services such as search, geocoding, tour planning, turn-by-turn navigation, and more. By leveraging the power of VPMs, companies can deliver highly accurate and efficient location-based experiences to their customers.

How can businesses maintain high-quality location data with VPMs?​

At UNL we are creating an ecosystem where individuals and organizations can bring their data to power spatial services while maintaining ownership. But to truly transform the mapping space, it is crucial to enable contributors to be recognized and rewarded for their contributions. This would incentivize participation and lead to significant improvements in data quality and coverage.


UNL VPMs go beyond data integration and enable companies to incentivize their workforce and consumers to actively participate in identifying, capturing, and validating points of interest (POI). Through intuitive editing, data contribution, and reward tools, VPMs foster a collaborative environment where contributors are recognized and rewarded for their valuable inputs. This approach not only enhances the accuracy and completeness of POI data but also encourages ongoing engagement and improvement within the mapping ecosystem.

Harness the full potential of your location data and take control of it with UNL VPMs today!


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