When Microsoft launched Streetside a few days ago (a direct competitor to Google’s StreetView), I wondered how they could possibly catch up with the huge amount of coverage that Google already has in place. Their answer: Navteq.
Navteq has vehicles on the road all the time, collecting road data (speed limits, bridge heights, etc). Microsoft plans to “strap a few cameras on their vehicles to record some photos”. It certainly seems like a great way to start playing catch-up. I still imagine it’ll be quite a while until they have anywhere close to as much imagery as Google, but this gives them a solid plan to start gaining some ground.
They also revealed that they’ll be doing monthly releases of new Streetside imagery, similar to their monthly aerial/satellite releases. Those releases tend to be rather impressive is their coverage, so we’ll see if their Streetside releases can match that.
Like most of these kinds of battles, the winner will be you. Both companies will work hard to add better features and greater coverage, and we get to reap the benefits. Kinda nice. 🙂