Today at an event in San Francisco, Nokia announced the expansion to its existing mapping platform, which it is calling Here. While many of the functions and services are consistent with prior releases, the company has used a recent acquisition of POV mapping technology company EarthMine to create Street View-style experiences. The platform comes accompanied by a new web portal, which is already live at Here.com. The website syncs with a user's Nokia account, allowing you to access your personalized maps data from any device. It also includes a new tool called Map Creator, which allows users to take stock maps and satellite imagery, identifying streets and adding various attributes, like traffic direction. Using the collaborative user-submitted data, Nokia takes the information and integrates it into its own official maps. It also integrates an updated 3D mapping feature, creating rendered models of buildings.
Under the hood, Nokia is touting its "capture, compute, experience" system, which combines both local and cloud-based computing. The method, Nokia says, offers faster local rendering, low-bandwidth requirements, and a more robust offline experience. The same system will also be extended beyond Windows Phone, with Nokia planning to release dedicated Here apps on Android, iOS, and Mozilla's Firefox OS (Here is also accessible through mobile web browsers).
During some brief testing on a Mac, we found that Here's new 3D option to be a significant step up from the similar mode available in Nokia Maps. Not only does the service not require the installation of Nokia's own specialized plugin, but it also appeared to be much more responsive than its predecessor.
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