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Navigation gets a ‚Human Touch’

Navteq, provider of maps, traffic and location data enabling navigation, location-based services and mobile advertising around the world has launched a new product that is said to change the way navigation systems and applications interact with end users.

Navteq Natural Guidance enables humans get guidance through the use of descriptive reference cues.

Launched at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Navteq Natural Guidance leapfrogs today’s linear navigation instructions‚Äîe.g. ‚turn right in 50 meters on Kurfuerstendamm‚Äîby guiding the way humans instruct each other, through descriptions of orientation points such as distinctive points of interest and landmarks‚Äîe.g. ‚turn right after the yellow shop‚ or ‚turn right at the traffic signal.’ Research shows consumers desire more intuitive and practical directions because it is easier to follow and allows the user to keep their eyes on the road. Navteq Natural Guidance enables applications to use recognizable and easily understandable points of reference close to the decision point to highlight the next maneuver.

‚Natural Guidance provides the kind of directions we crave as humans,‚ said Tiffany Treacy, Navteq senior vice president of product management. ‚It challenges the man-machine status quo of how navigation systems have worked for years by finally enabling the kind of guidance that sounds like it’s coming from a friend who is riding along with you. This is a revolutionary first step toward more natural and ultimately more personalized experiences.‚

Over the past 25 years, Navteq has continually strived to create content specific to navigation that elevates the user experience. Only as an expert and innovative leader in the navigation industry, was Navteq able to create a product that translates user experiences into data and data models that allow applications to generate humanized guidance. Navteq Natural Guidance also employs a variety of importance criteria to help optimize when and how the guidance is presented to consumers. Reference cues can look very different—or be partially or fully obscured—depending on such factors as: which direction the user is approaching, the size of the reference object (a cathedral vs. a corner pub), or whether it is winter or summer (when trees might block the visibility).

Navteq Natural Guidance is currently only available for Berlin, Chicago, National Capital Region of Delhi, London, Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Paris with aggressive expansion plans to add more cities throughout Europe, North America and Asia Pacific by the end of 2011.

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