After the search box, perhaps no other Google product is so synonymous with the company as Maps. Over time Google has come to see its mapping offering — now extended to mobile — and the underlying local data as more and more strategic. To that end, last October in the US Google replaced maps data provider TeleAtlas, which itself had replaced Navteq, as the provider of data to Google Maps.
In other words Google became the primary source of its own mapping data. Google continued to work with TeleAtlas in Canada and Europe. But it now appears that the same thing has happened in Canada. Without mentioning TeleAtlas, Google has said that its approach to maps data in Canada is now in alignment with the US:
To keep up with all these changes, we’ve started using new map data in Canada. This new base map is built from a wide range of sources, just as we recently announced for the US in October. In Canada, we’ve made use of data from organizations such as the National Hydrography Network and Canadian Council on Geomatics. Once again things like satellite imagery and Street View were also helpful to make a rich, thorough base map.
There are still third parties “in the mix” but no primary data vendor as has existed in the past. There’s nothing really controversial or even surprising about all this. It’s just a clear statement that Google sees the map and its associated local data as a strategic and competitive advantage — especially as the Internet mobilizes.
Next stop Europe?