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May 20, 2009

Ovi Maps comes of age

SAN JOSE, USA – Featuring at today’s Where 2.0 Conference in California, are some interesting announcements for Ovi Maps. Where 2.0 is THE event for location based services and with the evolution of Maps, the perfect place to talk about what’s new and exciting. First up is the true evolution from Nokia Maps to Ovi Maps. This marks a keystone moment for Maps as all the work of the last couple of years begins to bear fruit. The second, and potentially most exciting news is the introduction of the Ovi Maps Player API, which enables developers and third party sites to integrate the best of Ovi Maps into their own online properties.
Ovi Maps is dynamic. Whether you want to do a simple address search, or spend some time having fun with the mapping features (3D view, night view and various other modes) it’s rapidly becoming a powerful application in its own right. What makes it really interesting though is the way it seamlessly works across the desktop (or laptop) and your mobile device. Set up routes in one, and use them in the other. Save favourite locations when you’re out and about and then share them when you get back to base. There’s a bunch of functionality in there that helps this service really come to life, and become indispensable to those who get to know it.

Which leads us neatly onto the exciting news. For developers and third parties, the Ovi Maps Player API means it now only takes a couple of lines of JavaScript to add Ovi Maps functionality to third party websites and web applications. The possibilities here are pretty endless. Signup is open now for developers to start making the most of the Ovi Maps Player API beta program. Head over to Forum Nokia if you’re interested.

Lonely Planet and Internet leaders AKQA are two of the companies who have already been playing with the Player API and, if you check out the video below, you’ll see they’ve been pretty impressed.

It doesn’t stop there though. To help get developers excited about working with the API, Forum Nokia has added a new category to the Calling All Innovators competition. Apps on Maps is designed to get developers thinking about useful ideas for services and content relating to Ovi Maps and the Ovi Maps Player API. Developers can sign up at Forum Nokia.

This weekend I’m taking a road trip on my own. I’m not going to bother with a dedicated satnav for the car. Instead I’m going to plot my route on Ovi Maps, sync it with my E71 and sign up for some voice guidance. I’ve got four different routes I’m taking over the weekend, each of them laden with speed cameras and no doubt road works too. All of them though, are destinations I’ve never been to. I’ll let you know next week how it goes. Meanwhile, check out the introduction video to Ovi Maps Player API and what the folks from Lonely Planet and AKQA think of the new service.