Digital Mapping Company TomTom Launches Location-Based Platform, Portal, SDK To Drive App Licensing Revenues

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Digital mapping company TomTom has launched a location-based services platform and developer portal, complete with SDKs and APIs, as it seeks to drive licensing revenue of its mapping data. The company supplies maps to some big names in the mobile space, including Apple, HTC and RIM, but says it’s aiming to make it easier for developers of all shapes and sizes to contribute to its coffers.

TomTom said the new cloud-based developer platform gives businesses access to location and navigation services including map display, routing, traffic and geocoding, along with APIs and SDKs for building web and mobile apps.

“The launch of the TomTom LBS Platform is an important evolution,” noted Dan Adams, vice president of Location and Live Services at TomTom, in a statement. “Now we can provide application developers with web-based access to high-quality location content worldwide.”

The LBS Platform and Developer Portal can be accessed via developer.tomtom.com. Current capabilities are said to include

  • Map Toolkit API providing access to:
  • Map display web service, which delivers WMS-style raster maps based on TomTom’s flagship MultiNet map database. Tiles are pre-rendered at 18 zoom levels, ranging from a single global tile to 305×305 meter detailed map images.
  • Geocoding web service, enabling both free text forward geocoding (find a location by entering an unstructured address, place or POI) and reverse geocoding (identify a location from a pair of latitude and longitude coordinates).
  • Routing web service, which provides highly accurate point to point routing and route re-calculation using TomTom’s best-in-class algorithms.
  • Traffic web service, using TomTom’s award winning HD Traffic to deliver real-time traffic incident and delay information.
  • Downloadable iOS, Android, and JavaScript software development kits (SDKs) to efficiently develop location based applications using TomTom APIs.
  • Cloud-based performance and scalability, giving developers around the world 24×7 access to TomTom’s content and services.
  • Management tools that make it easy for developers to track usage.

There’s been a lot of activity in the digital mapping space of late, with Apple kicking Google Maps out of iOS to replace it with its own Apple Maps — albeit still a-work-in-progress — which is powered by TomTom data. And just this week Nokia rebranded its own mapping offering (used by the Windows Phone platform) as Here, and announced the acquisition of Earthmine in order to add 3D capabilities to its maps to better compete with Apple and Google.

TomTom, once a maker of the must-have sat-nav dashboard gadget, had its hardware business disrupted by increasingly powerful and capable smartphones stuffed with location hardware and software. The company does make and sell its own mapping apps for smartphones — but the days of being able to charge $50 for a mapping app look numbered, now that rich mapping and sat-nav capabilities are being baked into mobile OSes — hence TomTom’s fresh focus on driving licensing of its mapping data.