GPS users may soon have their digital maps paid for by local businesses, according to mapping heavyweight Navteq.
"We're still a licensing fee based company," Clifford Fox, Navteq's senior VP map division, told ZDNet.com.au, but added that change is coming. "More and more we're looking at advertising to make revenue."
Advertising revenue comes from sources such as retailers paying the map maker to include their location as a point of interest (POI) on the maps alongside information on streets, traffic lights, road signs and buildings.
Navteq has recorded 76,000 core POIs in Australia, and 570,000 extended POIs according to Kirk Mitchell, Navteq director of business development. Core POIs are locations such as ATMs, fast food outlets or emergency services such as hospitals and fire stations. Extended POIs include businesses such as florists.
According to Mitchell, keeping POIs up to date is tough, since they change more than roads do -- for example, the chances of a restaurant closing are 20 to 25 percent a year, he said.
Mitchell said he had met a Starbucks employee in the US who loved Navteq maps, but complained that the locations of Starbucks was always wrong. Navteq set up a program where a nominated Starbucks employee could verify the locations of its cafes are correct.
This program will be used to allow businesses to put themselves onto Navteq maps after paying a fee -- until now businesses have been put in as the field team sees them.
"Going to merchants directly is a great way to do it," Mitchell said.
Navteq will not be the only company considering the move according to Fox: "Definitely this industry, like many, is migrating to advertising type revenues."