HERE was the top location platform in 2021, ahead of Google and TomTom




The tech industry is going through an “intelligent” digital transformation wave as data collected from the billions of connected fixed and mobile assets is converted into actionable intelligence and insights. However, all the intelligence is less useful without adding richer “location data” as context. The power of location when merged with business and telemetry data is the new battleground and the mapping and location players are at the center of it transforming their offerings and business model taking a location platform-centric approach to address this massive opportunity.

The approach helps the traditional location and mapping data providers to share (or license) their location data and other location-reliant data from their partners using the marketplace in a very integrated and holistic way leveraging cloud technologies. Further, these players are building a robust set of modular platform capabilities to offer different services, development, analytics, and visualization tools to empower the developers to build powerful location-centric solutions. However, choosing the right platform is challenging for the enterprises, developers and which warrants a thorough evaluation and understanding of the vendor’s capabilities.

To help better understand the key location platforms’ capabilities and market trends, Counterpoint has released its latest edition of the Location Platform Vendor Scorecard report analyzing over 25 leading mapping and location platform vendors using our proprietary CORE (Competitive, Rankings & Evaluation) framework. This comprehensive and detailed evaluation is conducted based on over 65 key capabilities spanning across seven categories – maps data, location intelligence, location services, data platform, developer ecosystem, partners, and customer rolodex growth since our last update.

2021 Location & Mapping Platform CORE Scorecard Analysis:

Counterpoint Research CORE Analysis - Location Platforms Evaluation 2021HERE continues to lead the location platform for the fifth year in a row by scoring the highest in our rankings. In the last 18 months, HERE has expanded its portfolio, platform capabilities partnerships and customer base handsomely to widen the gap with rivals leading across all the categories, setting a gold standard of an ideal location data platform for the technology industry. The vendor expanded number of products and services to differentiate its platform such as HERE Anonymizer, HERE Consent Manager, EV Routing, ISA Map and so forth.

Commenting on HERE’s pole position, Counterpoint’s Research VP, Neil Shah, added: “With a few years in making, HERE Platform has thus evolved into an industry-first and one-stop platform with infrastructure and toolsets for companies to develop, license, and integrate first and third-party mapping, location intelligence data into their applications at scale. Further, help generate, analyze, visualize, and monetize the data using the same platform. HERE has become “Switzerland of location platform” with an open, neutral and privacy-centric offering compared to Google or other vertical players.”

Google is the second largest location and mapping platform provider globally behind HERE. Google scored well in terms of comprehensiveness, coverage, POIs, and freshness of the maps data and adding newer capabilities such as Augmented Reality in the consumer space leveraging with 3.5 billion Android users globally.

Commenting on Google’s evaluation, Senior Analyst, Prachir Singh, commented: ”Google continued to focus on consumer with Android app developers and B2C enterprises mostly in retail, T&L space with logistics, O2O services players adopting Google Maps Platform. Google’s strength has been around POIs, location based services integrated with its advertising platform for businesses. Google has also ramped up number of platform tools this year for visualization and analytics to compete with Mapbox and HERE.

Google though still lags when it comes to automotive, enterprise sectors behind HERE, TomTom and regional champions in key markets. Google has been relatively slow to transform into a full-blown platform model despite in mapping usage.”

TomTom is the third largest player in our CORE rankings with growth in the mapping and location intelligence capabilities mainly targeting the automotive industry and other maps data licensing opportunities.

Commenting on TomTom’s competitiveness, Research Analyst, Mohit Sharma, noted: “TomTom launched a number of mapping and navigation products focusing on newer opportunities such as Electric Vehicle services, ADAS & HD Maps, Digital Cockpit for the new generation cars through new offerings such as Horizon and Indigo. Another area where TomTom has done well is cracking maps data licensing deals with marquee clients such as Microsoft (Bing & Azure Maps), Huawei, Apple, Carto and others expanding its reach and enriching its location data.

Within automotive and enterprise space it is becoming a two-horse race between HERE and TomTom, though TomTom still lags on a comprehensive location platform capability compared to HERE in terms of developer workspace, visualization tools, marketplace and so forth.”

CORE Rankings: Location Platforms – Key Customers & Partnership Relationships

Counterpoint Research CORE Analysis - Location Platforms Customers & Partners Relationships Jan 2022Mapbox is one of the top five location platforms globally in our rankings building on its developer traction, advanced visualization, analytics tools and partnership roster. Mapbox also has been doubling down on its focus on automotive sector with launch of Dash to target the in-cabin cockpit experiences such as Navigation (lane guidance, live traffic, speed limits etc) Maps (instant updates), Search (voice, autocomplete, POIs), Apps (Music, companion) and Vision (Augmented Reality, ADAS and Monitoring) to expand newer opportunities with high ticket automotive OEMs.

Regional players such as AMapBaidu Maps and Navinfo continue to lead in China. A-Maps saw the most comprehensive transformation to become one of the world’s top five location platforms despite presence mainly in China. NaverKakao and Tmap also developed leading edge capabilities though focusing on markets in S. Korea and around with limited geographic reach and ambitions. MapMyIndia, one of the leading maps providers in the world’s second largest market, India, have also expanded its capabilities and customer rolodex in run up to its IPO to go into a further growth mode. Similarly, Zenrin has strong footing in Japan and have partnered with number of global players including HERE to expand and integrate the offerings into newer verticals and geographies.

The rise of potential data platforms startups such as OtonomoCarto and others are off to a good attracting a good set of customers and partners turning up the heat. Though, not owning the full stack of first party data, services like the big three makes them less unique and replicable and leave being just a competitive marketplace to exchange, integrate and analyze the location data.

  • HERE led in more than 40 capabilities including Maps Data depth, freshness, indoor maps, HD Maps, navigation, routing, EV services, tracking and positioning, developer support, platform privacy, security and so forth
  • Google led in overall maps data reach, coverage, depth, POIs, AR, Infotainment and so forth.
  • Tom Tom led in navigation, offline maps coverage, navigation and other areas.

Many more insights, evaluation, and analysis on the key platform players’ product offerings, business model, key focus areas, capabilities, major development partnerships, customer wins, and other parameters are captured in our comprehensive report which will be published on the Counterpoint portal.

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