Google is said to be working with Automotive Navigation Data (AND), a Netherlands-based digital map provider, to get detailed mapping data of Europe.
Though not as well known as rivals Navteqand Tele Atlas, AND says it is the third-largest global provider of geospatial software. It was founded in 1984 and maintains a database of roads that link more than 200 countries. The company says several major Internet-based mapping services, such as Mapquest and Microsoft’s Bing Maps, rely on its data for some geographical areas. Google has used AND data for its Africa maps for several years.
A broader Google/AND tie-up is logical because other map providers have opted not to support Maps Navigation in order to protect their own franchises and paid licensing deals.
AND has been coy about a possible alliance. In its 2008 financial statement, released in April 2009, it noted that it “recently signed a license agreement with a large U.S. company for the use of its maps of Western Europe” and expected sales to triple and profit to increase five-fold in 2009 due to the partnership. AND has never named the “U.S. company.”
A spokesman for AND declined to comment on a possible deal with Google but said AND is moving quickly to map Western Europe. It has already completed several countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Portugal and Spain. The rest will be finished by the first quarter of 2010.
Google may be looking to use AND data for maps outside Europe, too. AND says it is in talks with mapmakers in China, the Middle East and North America with the goal of mapping the entire world.