Have you ever wondered how they made the maps used on GPS navigation systems? PocketGPS World recently went behind the electronic scene and joined the men and women who create those virtual maps. A major supplier of maps, Navteq has a specially-equipped Renault that serves as a survey car. Six cameras — three facing front, one facing each side, and one covering the view over the right shoulder cover just about the entire road as the survey car is traveling. The images recorded by the cameras are integrated with the GPS signal and each frame of video is cross-referenced for location for the eventual final copy.
The mapping team drives around and captures data which is downloaded at the company’s office and then processed. All of this results in the creation of a data base which is used to generate maps and map overlays.