Tele Atlas eyes more mobile mapping vans to Asia

Digital cartographer Tele Atlas has brought its first orange mapping van to Asia as a part of its effort to collect global data for portable, Internet, in-car and wireless navigation systems, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report quoted CEO Alain de Taeye as saying that the Dutch-based company will eventually operate 50 of the vehicles throughout the region.

'Asia-Pacific will most likely be the biggest region for digital mapping in the world,' he was quoted by the report as saying.

Tele Atlas, founded in 1984, competes with US-based Navteq to provide digital mapping data to major companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, MapQuest and Google, the report said.

The bright orange sport utility vehicle shown in Taipei, flown in from Belgium a few days ago, was laden with six high resolution cameras, global positioning system receivers, laser scanners and onboard computers, it added.

Tele Atlas vans gather data for standard two-dimensional maps for car navigation systems and handheld devices, augmenting traditional methods such as networks of people in cars and on motorcycles, the report said.

Data collected on board will be sent to one of the company's two production facilities, in Poland and India, for processing into maps that enable consumers not only to move efficiently from point to another, but also to locate key services like parking lots and restaurants.

Mark Steele, Tele Atlas COO for the Asia-Pacific, said that Tele Atlas operates in 10 countries and territories in Asia, the report further said.