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Satellite imagery norms loaded against local firms: MapMyIndia seeks level playing field with Google

In addition, MapMyIndia also offers professional-grade maps and products directly to retail customers through the Mappls app and GPS IoT-enabled gadgets and devices.

Satellite imagery norms loaded against local firms: MapMyIndia seeks level playing field with Google
However, Google Maps does not comply with this directive and offers even finer and crisper resolution on their maps to consumers, making this regulation a grey area.

Domestic device manufacturers and app makers may have got relief from the Competition Commission (CCI) against Google’s monopolistic practices in the Android space, but homegrown MapMyIndia, which works on geospatial data, continues to seek a level playing field with the US tech giant on the usage of satellite imagery.

The Indian government’s regulations put a limit on domestic companies working with geospatial data with regard to satellite imagery, but as Google is a US company, it is free from such restrictions.

“Private companies in India using satellite imagery for either consumer or enterprise use cases cannot put out imagery finer than one-metre resolution. However, Google Maps does not comply with this directive and offers even finer and crisper resolution on their maps to consumers, making this regulation a grey area. This way Google is able to offer fine imagery on its apps, which we are not able to do, and this is definitely not a level playing field,” Rohan Verma, CEO and executive director, MapMyIndia, told FE.

MapMyIndia, which started operations in 1995, today offers multiple, digital mapping, navigation, and geospatial tech offerings and currently has a client base of 2,000 enterprise customers. “From 1995 to 2004, we were primarily in the B2B space selling tech to large corporates, especially in FMCGs like Coca-Cola and Marico. But 2004 is when we launched our consumer internet mapping platform which was India’s first interactive mapping platform. But building a consumer-facing digital map is a tough business and it took us 10 years to cover a majority of the country,” Verma said.

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The company currently earns the majority of its revenue from enterprise customers across three major categories, namely, corporate, automotive, and government. In addition, MapMyIndia also offers professional-grade maps and products directly to retail customers through the Mappls app and GPS IoT-enabled gadgets and devices.

“We now have around 95% digital mapping coverage of India alone, and now we use a combination of computer vision and AI to digitally map out geographies. We have moved on from strict feet-on-street options to drones and crowdsourced data to build more coverage, especially for our 3D view maps,” he added.

MapMyIndia’s recently rebranded consumer-facing app Mappls also offers features like road conditions, traffic patterns and conditions in real time using its partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and mobility fleet. It has also extracted some 400 crore geotagged photographs, panoramas and videos of millions of kilometres of roads across India which the company plans to expand further.

The company has made two noteworthy acquisitions this year, including a 9.9% stake in geospatial company Pupilmesh, and a 26.37% stake in Kogo Tech Labs in the travel & hyperlocal discovery space.

According to Verma, the first acquisition will allow MapMyIndia to offer critical technology to logistics clients to further drive down their overall shipping costs, while the acquisition in the travel commerce space will enable it to disrupt the hyperlocal commerce segment.

The company also plans to offer location-based suggestions to travellers on the navigation search results which is aimed at further driving up engagement on its consumer-facing app.

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First published on: 21-11-2022 at 06:10 IST