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Navteq/Nokia Offer Advanced Traffic Updates

11/17/2008 02:35:00 PM Eastern

New York — GPS map maker Navteq is working with Nokia in a traffic program that converts Nokia cellphone users into roving traffic monitors, or “probes.”

Under the pilot program in San Francisco, more than 10,000 handset owners will allow their GPS data to be tracked. The data is then aggregated to create a real-time traffic report. The data is filtered to keep it anonymous, said Navteq.

The program, called the Mobile Millennium, was launched Nov. 10 and formally announced today at the ITS World Congress in New York.

This type of “probe” data that turns cellphone users into roving traffic “probes” is considered the "next generation" of traffic information, said Navteq, as it provides traffic-flow data on back roads and at the times of day that are most relevant to average drivers.

The data could become available commercially in the first half of next year, where it could be used by owners of consumer navigation devices for improved traffic updates.

A similar program was undertaken by Dash Navigation earlier this year, where owners of an Internet-connected, two-way portable GPS device acted as the traffic probes, but Dash recently stopped selling that device.

"The inclusion of live mobile data represents a significant technological advance for the traffic industry, and will provide more accurate real-time traffic information for travelers," said Howard Hayes, VP Traffic for Navteq. "Nokia offers more than 10 GPS-enabled phone models — the industry's widest range and this ITS demonstration of Mobile Millennium signals the beginning of utilizing consumer devices as accurate providers of real-time traffic information."