Mapping the World, One Centimeter At a Time


From stone tablets to atlases, cartographic innovations have long gone unnoticed in geopolitics and everyday life. In addition to wayfinding, the use of maps was the backbone of World War II. Propaganda maps were used to influence public opinion and mobilize forces. Instagrammers and TikTok use them to reach the hottest restaurants. In their latest incarnation, high-precision maps are changing the future of navigation, logistics and spatial data collection.

At the forefront of the little-known Japanese startup – Dynamic Map Platform Co. or DMP is located. Backed by government funds, (1) it has multibillion-dollar mandates to support next-generation industries and counts domestic giants such as Toyota Motor Corp. among its shareholders.

DMP is creating a collection of high-quality, 3D maps that are far more accurate than the standard maps we know: iPhone maps, apps like Waze, and GPS-based in-car navigation systems. use. Its data can also be used for precision drone flights.

Data collection is key. The likes of Intel’s Mobileye rely on crowdsourced data from participating manufacturers’ cars (they collect it automatically and anonymously). The strategy of the Japanese company allows for ownership and high precision. Data are accurate – distances and locations in centimeters. Other mapping systems that navigate the global geodetic system are generally approximate and rely heavily on sensors. It’s very annoying when Google Maps crashes in dense areas or when it sends you in all directions and doesn’t recognize turns.

Also Read :  World Bank's private arm launches $2 bln program to help Ukrainian businesses

Additionally, sourcing data from others – such as car manufacturers – faces privacy and storage issues. or that the details of third parties are not available. Self-generated information is more secure.

Creating these maps is a huge technological effort. Using the Global Navigation Satellite System or GNSS, precise locations are determined. Vehicles equipped with sensors and cameras then collect and generate point cloud data—or a group of points, where each has a set of Cartesian coordinates (think X-axis and Y-axis). The mapping system brings them all together and integrates the information. It picks up everything, including road signs, structures, curbs, curbs and curbs, before drivers even reach a point.

This may sound like a lot of deep and unnecessary information, but mapping and data collection are increasingly at the center of navigation technology and security. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, one of the biggest tech events on the calendar, software-driven cars and autonomous driving systems were all the rage. They have fueled the boom in automated and smart technology cars. These maps are integrated into drones, windshields, and cockpits and take passengers seamlessly to their destinations. In China, the rapidly expanding market for such vehicles is expected to reach 960 billion yuan ($141 billion) by 2025. In the US, a team at the University of Texas Radio Navigation Laboratory is harnessing signals from Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink satellite to create A navigation technology that is independent of GPS geopolitics, Russia, China and Europe.

Also Read :  Hacker demands $10m to stop leaking Australians’ medical records | Cybercrime News

High-resolution, detailed maps finally allow people to visually immerse themselves in faraway places. Analysts and academics are increasingly using satellite imagery and other geolocation data to see what is happening thousands of miles away. Hedge funds also use this to track activity in factories and warehouses. In recent months, open source information has helped track troop movements in Ukraine. 3D mapping systems like DMP will eventually allow logistics companies to deliver packages through windows and move through warehouses as society ages, using 3D street and building maps. It also allows electric vehicles to be more efficient with accurate information about gradients, lanes and chargers. Mapping today is even more powerful than it was a few decades ago.

So far, DMP has information on more than 30,000 km (18,641 mi) of highways and expressways in Japan, about 640,000 km in the United States, and more than 300,000 km in Europe. In 2018, the company acquired Ushr, which at the time counted GM Ventures and EnerTech Capital as investors. Together, the two companies backed $100 million to expand high-quality coverage in North America, along with a Japanese government fund, JOIN. Meanwhile, last year, DMP and JOIN invested about $90 million to expand beyond North America and Japan. The company has already signed up automakers and hopes to become a key tool for logistics and infrastructure providers. General Motors’ Cadillac models, including the CT6, XT6 and Hummer, known for their semi-autonomous systems, have these maps installed.

Also Read :  Brazil vs South Korea live: World Cup score, highlights, result from 2022 Round of 16 match

As geopolitical tensions begin to boil over, mobility innovations increase and people travel more, maps are essential. Crucially, data accuracy – and increasingly, ownership – will matter and support further mapping developments.

More from Bloomberg Opinion:

• US Can Defend Taiwan Against China – At High Cost: Tobin Harshaw

• Are you afraid of driverless cars? China has the answer: Anjani Trivedi

• Tesla may take itself out of the running: Gary Smith

(1) Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development, or JOIN, and Japan Innovation Network Corporation, or INCJ

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Anjani Trivedi is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. He covers industries including policies and companies in the machinery, automotive, electric vehicle and battery sectors across Asia Pacific. Previously, he was a columnist for the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street and a financial and markets reporter for the paper. Before that, he was an investment banker in New York and London

More stories like this are available at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button