Now, you can navigate Delhi roads by satellite

Bangalore Sept. 6. In what is possibly the first satellite-based car navigation tool for an Indian city, a Belgian company — Tele Atlas — has produced a navigation Compact Disk for Delhi.

The CD maps 2,200 sq. km. of the capital including over 11,000 km. of roads. It can be used with any standard satellite-based car navigation system that harnesses the 24-satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) to fix the vehicles precise position on earth at any given time. The company, a leader in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS), says it deployed 23 survey vehicles with 400 volunteers earlier this year and completed the data capture working round the clock for 48 hours.

The Bangalore-based Spatial Data Pvt. Ltd., was the first out with CD-based city maps and since 1999 it has brought out route finders for Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi and Pune in its CD-based "MapCue" series.It has also created countrywide CD-based map resources for corporate customers.

Car navigator models such as Blaupunkt, Kenwood, Clarion, Philips `CARiN' or Seimens typically cost the equivalent of Rs. 20,000 - Rs 30,000 in dollars and this in itself may not be a barrier for those Indians who increasingly go for premium cars costing Rs. 15 lakhs and more.

However, the car navigation market in India was hitherto very small — partly due to a "Catch 22" situation: Because there was no navigation software for Indian cities, few owners found it worth while to install a navigator and with the navigator population so small, no one came forward to create the India-specific software.

That may change — with the entry of Tele Atlas — and motivate the GIS industry, here and abroad, to put more of India on the "satnav" map.

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