WO2008018786A1 - System and method for exchanging geospatial data - Google Patents

System and method for exchanging geospatial data Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2008018786A1
WO2008018786A1 PCT/NL2006/050197 NL2006050197W WO2008018786A1 WO 2008018786 A1 WO2008018786 A1 WO 2008018786A1 NL 2006050197 W NL2006050197 W NL 2006050197W WO 2008018786 A1 WO2008018786 A1 WO 2008018786A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
computer system
geospatial data
according
server computer
client computer
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Application number
PCT/NL2006/050197
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Heinz-Friedrich Meuser
Original Assignee
Tele Atlas B.V.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Tele Atlas B.V. filed Critical Tele Atlas B.V.
Priority to PCT/NL2006/050197 priority Critical patent/WO2008018786A1/en
Publication of WO2008018786A1 publication Critical patent/WO2008018786A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01CMEASURING DISTANCES, LEVELS OR BEARINGS; SURVEYING; NAVIGATION; GYROSCOPIC INSTRUMENTS; PHOTOGRAMMETRY OR VIDEOGRAMMETRY
    • G01C21/00Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups G01C1/00-G01C19/00
    • G01C21/26Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups G01C1/00-G01C19/00 specially adapted for navigation in a road network
    • G01C21/28Navigation; Navigational instruments not provided for in preceding groups G01C1/00-G01C19/00 specially adapted for navigation in a road network with correlation of data from several navigational instruments
    • G01C21/30Map- or contour-matching
    • G01C21/32Structuring or formatting of map data
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/09Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions
    • G08G1/0962Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions having an indicator mounted inside the vehicle, e.g. giving voice messages

Abstract

The invention relates to a server computer system (100), comprising memory unit (113, 114, 115, 116, 117) being arranged to comprise geospatial data. The server computer system (100) being arranged to - communicate with a client computer system (200) via a communication link (27) using input-output device (126), - select selected geospatial data from geospatial data in the memory unit (113, 114, 115, 116, 117) according to selection parameters, and to - transmit the selected geospatial data to the client computer system (200) via the communication link (27) using the input-output device (126).

Description

System and method for exchanging geospatial data

BACKGROUND The present invention relates to a system and method for exchanging geospatial data.

Map databases are becoming more and more important in today's world. Such a map database is a collection of map data or geospatial data. Digital maps are commonly used to find locations of places from an address or from a search for a place of interest such as a restaurant. In combination with navigation software, they provide a strong tool for planning a route from a start position to a destination position. The geospatial data may also be used for computing navigation instructions for guiding a user from the start to the destination point. In combination with a positioning device, such as a GPS module, the map databases may also be used during the journey from the start to the destination, providing the user with navigation instructions depending on his/her current location as measured by the positioning device.

Map databases may therefore be used in combination with a number of devices, such as personal computers, servers, laptops, personal digital assistance (PDA), palmtops, (mobile) telephones, car radios and dedicated navigation devices, such as portable navigation devices and built-in car navigation devices. These devices may or may not comprise a positioning device.

US 6,278,939 refers to transferring parts of a geographic data from a central server to a remote client, such as an in-car navigation system. The basis for this is the request for a route (meaning: providing information about current position and planned destination) by the client system. However, this document describes how a server computer provides a client computer with geographic data during travelling. Data are constantly transferred from a remote computer, via a suitable network, to the remote client, in such a way that the remote client always has geographic data available of its direct surroundings.

US 6,577,949 describes a method and system to provide end-users with the ability to exchange routing data, i.e. information about one specific route. However, the transferred data itself cannot be used to perform route calculations. US 6,182,006 describes a system for exchanging data from a first computer to a second computer using a intermediate data carrier formed by a remote control.

SUMMARY An aspect of the invention relates to a server computer system comprising a processor unit, a memory unit and an input-output device, the processor unit being arranged to communicate with the memory unit and the input-output device,

- the memory unit of the server computer system being arranged to comprise geospatial data, the server computer system being arranged to

- communicate with a client computer system via a communication link using the input- output device,

- select selected geospatial data from geospatial data in the memory unit according to selection parameters, and to - transmit the selected geospatial data to the client computer system via the communication link using the input-output device.

According to a further aspect, the invention relates to a client computer system comprising a processor unit, a memory unit and an input-output device, the processor unit being arranged to communicate with the memory unit and the input-output device, - the memory unit of the client computer system being arranged to comprise geospatial data, the client computer system being arranged to

- communicate with a server computer via a communication link using the input-output device, - receive selected geospatial data from the server computer system using input-output device, and to

- store the selected geospatial data in the memory unit.

According to a further aspect the invention relates to a system, comprising a server computer system as described above and at least one client computer system as described above.

It will be understood that according to a further embodiment, there is provided a computer that may function both as a client computer and a server computer, i.e. being a computer system that is arranged to receive geospatial data as well as transmit geospatial data upon request.

According to a further aspect the invention relates to a method for exchanging geospatial data, comprising - selecting selected geospatial data from geospatial data according to selection parameters, and

- transmitting the selected geospatial data to a client computer system via a communication link using an input-output device.

According to a further aspect the invention relates to a method for exchanging geospatial data, comprising

- transmitting a request for geospatial data to a server computer system using an input- output device,

- receiving selected geospatial data from the server computer system using input-output device, and to - store the selected geospatial data in a memory unit.

According to a further aspect the invention relates to a navigation device, being arranged to perform the methods described above.

According to a further aspect the invention relates to a computer program that, when loaded on a computer arrangement, is arranged to perform the methods described above.

According to a further aspect the invention relates to a data carrier, comprising a computer program as described above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The present invention will now be discussed in more detail using a number of exemplary embodiments, with reference to the drawings, which are only intended to illustrate the present invention and not to limit its scope which is only limited by the appended claims:

Figure 1 schematically depicts a computer system according to an embodiment, Figure 2a and 2b schematically depict a system according to an embodiment,

Figure 3 schematically depicts a flow diagram according an embodiment, Figure 4 schematically depicts part of a map according to an embodiment, Figure 5 schematically depicts a flow diagram according an embodiment, Figure 6 schematically depicts a part of a map according to an embodiment, Figure 7 schematically depicts a flow diagram according an embodiment, Figure 8 schematically depicts a flow diagram according an embodiment, and Figure 9 schematically depicts a flow diagram according an embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The detailed description as given below, refers to several kinds of devices, such as personal computers, servers, laptops, personal digital assistance (PDA), palmtops, (mobile) telephones, car radios and dedicated navigation devices, such as portable navigation devices and built-in car navigation devices. The detailed description with reference to Fig. 1 is also an example of a server computer system and client computer system as will be discussed below. All these devices are different kinds of computer systems. Figure 1 shows a schematic example of an embodiment of such a computer system 10. Figure 1 shows a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a computer system 10, comprising a processor unit 11 for performing arithmetical operations. The processor unit 11 is connected to memory units that may store instructions and data, such as a tape unit 13, a hard disk 14, a Read Only Memory (ROM) 15, an Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM) 16 and a Random Access Memory (RAM) 17. The processor unit 11 is also connected to one or more input devices, such as a keyboard 18 and a mouse 19, one or more output devices, such as a display 20 and a printer 21, and one or more reading units 22 to read for instance floppy disks 23 or DVD's or CD ROM's 24. In an embodiment the computer system 10 comprises a database stored in said memory units 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 containing map information or program instructions readable for the processor unit 11 to perform the embodiments described below.

The computer system 10 may further comprise a positioning device 25. This positioning device 25 may be arranged to determine its position based on signals received from satellites or ground beacons or other position determination equipment, individually or in combination. It may for instance use satellites from the Global Positioning System (GPS) or any other kind of GNSS (global navigation satellite system) such as the European Galileo system. However, the positioning device 25 may also determine its position in other ways, such as for instance by using inertial positioning systems, such as using acceleration sensors and/or gyroscopes. The positioning systems may be any combination of inertial and radio (satellite or terrestrial) systems as well. The positioning device 25 is arranged to provide positional information to the processor unit 11. The positional information may be any combination of the following: position (e.g. GPS coordinates), heading, speed, acceleration, turning speed, elevation, etc.

The computer system 10 shown in Fig. 1 also comprises an input-output device (I/O) 26 that is arranged to communicate with other computer systems (not shown) via a communication network or communication link 27. However, it should be understood that there may be provided more and/or other memory units, input devices and read devices known to persons skilled in the art. Moreover, one or more of them may be physically located remote from the processor unit 11, if required. The processor unit 11 is shown as one box, however, it may comprise several processor units functioning in parallel or controlled by one main processor unit that may be located remote from one another, as is known to persons skilled in the art.

It is observed that, although all connections in figure 1 are shown as physical connections, one or more of these connections can be made wireless. They are only intended to show that "connected" units are arranged to communicate with one another in someway.

The computer system 10 is shown as a computer system, but can be any signal processing system with analog and/or digital and/or software technology arranged to perform the functions discussed here.

Note that all the devices described below, such as personal computers, servers, laptops, personal digital assistance (PDA), palmtops, (mobile) telephones, car radios and dedicated navigation devices, such as portable navigation devices and built-in car navigation devices, may comprise at least a selection of the elements shown in Fig. 1 and described with reference to Fig. 1. In the examples below, the different devices are described and shown in a more schematic way.

The inventors have recognized that users of geospatial data may want to use the geospatial data at not just one computer system, but at more than one computer system. Therefore, it is often desired to exchange geospatial data between different computer systems. Several reasons for transmitting geospatial data from a first computer system to a second computer system may be identified.

A first reason for exchanging geospatial data may be because not all the computer systems have the physical storage capacity to have all the geospatial data stored on it. In this case, a user may use a first computer system to store the complete geospatial data (personal computer) and transmits a desired selection of the geospatial data to a second computer system, having less storage capacity (PDA).

A second reason may be that the first computer system may have limited processing capability or display capability for certain functions (such as perspective view, coloured displaying). So, in case a user wants to use such capabilities in combination with the geospatial data, he/she may transmit a selection of the geospatial data from a first computer system to the second computer system.

A third reason may be a mobility issue, the first system may be linked to an automobile and the second system may be some form of handheld computer with more limited storage and capabilities than the first system but with the essential capability of being carried outside the car to find a final destination for example on foot.

Also, the geospatial data may be a cost item, and a user may therefore not want to buy duplicate copies of geospatial data for every computer system he/she owns.

According to the above examples, exchanging geospatial data is done between different computer systems owned by a single user. However, it will be understood that exchanging geospatial data from a first computer system to a second computer system may also be done between computer systems owned by different parties. For instance, the first computer system may be a commercial server computer system billing users which request transmitting geospatial data from this commercial server computer system to their own computer system.

According to an embodiment, the geospatial data is exchanged between computer systems via a direct communication link. The term direct communication link as used here refers to a communication link in which the two data exchanging computer systems are in direct contact with each other, without using an intermediate communication station, such as a communication server. The term direct communication link as used here does not refer to a communication link for instance using the Internet, or a mobile telephone network. Such a direct communication link may limit the transfer of data to a short distance, for instance in case Bluetooth is used as a direct communication link, the transfer may be limited to a distance of a few meters (e.g. 10 meters).

The direct communication link may use any kind of suitable technical devices, for instance USB, Firewire, infrared, Bluetooth, WLAN, CAN bus, etc.

Using a direct communication link has the advantage that it provides a very useful, cost-efficient way of exchanging data without the need of (third -party) communication stations. This makes it an easy to use solution.

Figure 2a depicts a system according to an embodiment. The system comprises a server computer system 100 and, in this example, two client computer systems 200, 300.

The server computer system 100 comprises a processor unit 111, memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 and an input-output device (I/O) 126. The memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 may be formed by a combination of all kinds of memory units, such as described above with reference to Fig. 1. In Fig. 2a, the memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 are depicted as one block (dashed line).

The input-output device (I/O) 126 may be arranged to enable communication with other computer systems via a communication network or communication link 27, for instance a direct communication link 27.

The processor unit 111 may be arranged to communicate with the memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117. The processor unit 111 may further be arranged to control the input-output device (I/O) 126 to transmit messages. Also, the processor unit 111 may be arranged to receive messages via the input-output device (I/O) 126. The memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 may comprise geospatial data (map database). The geospatial data may for instance be a collection of accurately positioned data points (e.g. collected by differential GPS) and vectors, describing the location of points of interests, roads, areas, buildings, rivers etc as well as attributes such as names, addresses, road classifications, driving restrictions, elevations etc. The geospatial data may be in a form that can be used by navigation software to find a destination and to plan a route from a start point to the destination. The memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 may further comprise program instructions readable for the processor unit 11 to perform the embodiments described below.

The geospatial data and/or the program instructions may also be stored on a data carrier, for instance floppy disks , DVD's or CD ROM's (not shown in Fig. 2a), that may be read by the server computer system 100 using one or more reading units (not shown in Fig. 2a).

The server computer system 100 may also be a computer system that can be accessed via the internet.

The system depicted in Fig. 2a further comprises client computer systems 200, 300.

The client computer system 200 comprises a processor unit 211, memory units 213, 214, 215, 216, 217 and an input-output device (I/O) 226. The memory units 213, 214, 215, 216, 217 may be formed by a combination of all kinds of memory units, such as described above with reference to Fig. 1. In Fig. 2a, the memory units 213, 214, 215, 216, 217 are depicted as one block (dashed line).

The input-output device (I/O) 226 may be arranged to enable communication with other computer systems via communication link 27, for instance a direct communication link 27.

The processor unit 211 may be arranged to communicate with the memory units 213, 214, 215, 216, 217. The processor unit 211 may further be arranged to control the input-output device (I/O) 226 to transmit messages. Also, the processor unit 211 may be arranged to receive messages via the input-output device (I/O) 226. The memory units 213, 214, 215, 216, 217 may comprise program instructions readable for the processor unit 211 to perform the embodiments described below.

The geospatial data and/or the program instructions may also be stored on a data carrier, for instance floppy disks or DVD's or CD ROM's (not shown in Fig. 2a), that may be read by the client computer system 200 using one or more reading units (not shown in Fig. 2a).

The client computer system 200 may further comprise a positioning device 225. This positioning device 225 may be arranged to determine its position based on signals received from GPS satellites or ground beacons. However, the positioning device 225 may also determine its position in other ways, such as using any kind of GNSS (global navigation satellite system) or inertial positioning systems, such as acceleration sensors and/or gyroscopes or any of these approaches in combination. The positioning device 225 is arranged to provide positional information to the processor unit 211. It will be understood that the positioning device 225 is not necessarily present at the client computer system. For instance, client computer system 300, as depicted in Fig. 2a, does not comprise a positioning device. Such a client computer system 300 may for instance be used as a device for displaying geospatial data, for instance in combination with a planned route.

The other client computer system 300 may be similar to the client computer system 200, comprising a processor unit 311, memory units 313, 314, 315, 316, 317 and an input-output device (I/O) 326. However, client computer system 300 doesn't comprise a positioning device. Client computer system 300 may for instance be used as a map displaying device.

It will be understood that both the server computer system 100 and the client computer systems 200, 300 may be any kind of computer system as described with reference to Fig. 1, such as a personal computer, server, laptop, personal digital assistance (PDA), palmtop, (mobile) telephone, car radio and a dedicated navigation device, such as portable navigation device and a built-in car navigation device. Fig. 2b schematically depicts an example of a system as described with reference to Fig. 2a, in which the server computer system 100 is a car radio and the client computer systems are a mobile telephone 200, a personal digital assistance (PDA) 300 and a portable navigation device 400.

The server computer system 100 may be an in-car navigation device or any other computer system that is locally available but can not be moved or is not wanted to be taken from its place (such as a personal computer). The client computer system 200, 300 may be any kind of computer system which is capable of running a navigation application (software tool), and may for instance be arranged to be moved or taken along by a user. For that reason the client computer system 200, 300 may be suitable for use independently, i.e. without an external power supply. The client computer system 200, 300 may be suitable for being carried by user. Most likely this will be devices like PDA's, mobile phones etc.

The communication link 27 may be any kind of communication link. The communication link 27 may for instance be a mobile telephone network (e.g. GSM or UMTS network), a public switched telephone network (PSTN), a local area network (LAN), metropolitan area network (MAN), wide area network (WAN), intranet, internet etc.

According to an embodiment, the communication link 27 may be a direct communication link 27 as explained above.

It will be understood that the choice of the communication link may for instance depend on the distance between the computer systems that exchange communications. For instance, as long as the server computer system 100 and the client computer system 200 are located "close" to each other, there may as well be a direct data connection between the server computer system 100 and the client computer system 200 using standard connections, like USB-connections, serial part connections, high speed serial busses such as fire wires, etc..

It will be understood that the communication link 27 may be a wired communication link, a wireless communication link, or a combination thereof. The communication link 27 may also be a wireless personal area network, such as

Bluetooth. It will further be understood that the communication link 27 may also be a combination of the mentioned communication links 27.

According to an embodiment, a first network (e.g. SMS) may be used for communication from the client computer system 200 to the server computer system 100, while a second network (internet) is used for communication from the server computer system 100 to the client computer system 200.

In general, the communication between the server computer system 100 and the client computer system(s) 200, 300 may be referred to as a communication link, encompassing all sorts of communication networks, communication protocols etc.

According to an embodiment, geospatial data is transmitted from the server computer system 100 to one or more of the client computer systems 200, 300. This may be the complete geospatial data as stored in the memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 in the server computer system 100, but may also be a selected part of the geospatial data. The server computer system 100 may transmit the selected geospatial data in response to a request of one of the client computer systems 200, 300.

Fig. 3 schematically shows a flow chart describing the actions as performed by the system as shown in Fig.'s 2a and 2b.

In a first action 30, the processor unit 211 of one of the client computer systems, for instance client computer system 200, prepares a request for the server computer system 100. The request may comprise selection parameters, comprising information about which geospatial data the server computer 100 is to send to the client computer system 200. The request may further comprise all kinds of request information, as will be discussed in more detail below.

The processor unit 211 then transmits the request to the server computer system 100 via communication link 27, using input-output device 226. This is done in a second action 31. In a next action 32, the request is received by the server computer 100 using input-output device 126. Upon reception, the processor unit 111 processes the received request and the selection parameters and selects geospatial data to be transmitted to the client computer system 200 in accordance with the request, in a fourth action 33. The processor unit 111 of the server computer system 100 retrieves the selected geospatial data from the geospatial data stored in the memory units 113, 114,115, 116, 117.

In a fifth action 34, the processor unit 111 of the server computer system 100 transmits the selected geospatial data to the client computer system 200 via the communication link 27 using the input-output device 126. The server computer system 100 may also use a different communication link. In an action 35, the processor unit 211 of the client computer system 200 receives the selected geospatial data. In a final action 36, the processor unit 211 of the client computer system 200 may store the transmitted geospatial data in the memory units 213, 214, 215, 216, 217. After this last action 36, the processor unit 211 of the client computer system 200 may use the stored geospatial data to perform navigational computations, for instance to plan a route from a first to a second point.

The actions described above may be performed by the processor units 111, 211 in accordance with program instructions stored in the respective memory units. According to the embodiment, the server computer system 100 comprises an input-output device 126 to receive a request for geospatial data and transmit the requested geospatial data. Also, the server computer system 100 comprises program instructions that allow the processor unit 111 to perform the actions as described with reference to Fig. 3.

According to the embodiment, the client computer system 200 comprises an input-output device 226 to transmit a request for geospatial data and receive the requested geospatial data. Also, the client computer system 200 comprises program instructions that allow the processor unit 211 to perform the actions as described with reference to Fig. 3.

The request as prepared by the client computer system 200 may be composed in many different ways, also depending on the type of communication link 27, for instance a direct communication link 27, and communication protocol used.

According to an embodiment, the request comprises an identification of the client computer system 200, for instance a network address, and an identification of the server computer system 100, for instance a network address. This is to make sure that the request is properly transmitted to the server computer system 100 and the selected geospatial data is properly transmitted to the client computer system 200.

According to an embodiment, the request further comprises selection parameters providing an indication of the selection of geospatial data that is to be transmitted to the client computer system 200. Such an indication may have several forms.

Position and radius

According to an embodiment, the request may comprise as selection parameters a position A, for instance expressed in GPS coordinates (latitude/longitude) and a radius R, for instance expressed in meters or kilometers. The position A may also be expressed in any other suitable way, and may for instance also be an address (street name, house number and city).

This indicates to the processor unit 111 of the server computer system 100 that a selection of the geospatial data is to be transmitted from the server computer system 100 to the client computer 200 that comprises all the geospatial data stored in the memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 of the server computer 100 that is within a circle around position A, the circle having a radius of R. This is shown in Fig. 4, schematically depicting geospatial data, in which a position A is indicated, as well as a circle around position A having radius R.

This embodiment may for instance be used in a case wherein the server computer system 100 is a built-in vehicle navigation device and the client computer system 200 is a palmtop. In case a user parks his vehicle at a certain location, and the users wants to continue his/her journey by foot, the user may instruct the client computer system 200 to send a request to the server computer system 100 to transmit geospatial data to the client computer system 200. This geospatial data may for instance be geospatial data describing the area around the current position A of the client computer system 100, within a radius R.

The position A and the radius R may be inputted by a user of the client computer system 200 using one or more input devices, such as a keyboard 218 and a mouse 219. The position A may also be automatically selected by the processor unit 211 of the computer system 200, for instance by selecting the current position of the client computer system 200 using a positioning device 225, as described with reference to Fig. 1. Also, the radius R may be automatically selected by the processor unit 211 of the client computer system 200, and may for instance be a default value (e.g. 10 km).

The position may also be requested from server computer system 100, by requesting data around the current position of the server computer system 100. According to this embodiment, the client computer system 200 doesn't need to comprise a positioning device 225.

Also, according to this embodiment, the client computer system 200 is able to use the transmitted geospatial data to compute navigation directions from a later inputted first point to a later inputted second point, both within the geospatial data transmitted to the client computer system 200.

Fig. 5 schematically depicts a flow chart depicting the actions as may be performed according to an embodiment by the client computer server 200 and the server computer system 100. The actions as may be performed by the client computer server 200 are depicted in the left column of Fig, 5, while the actions as may be performed by the server computer system 100 are depicted in the right column of Fig. 5.

In an action 40, the client computer system 200 starts executing program instructions for carrying out the following actions. This action 40 may be triggered by a start command, for instance inputted by a user, using one or more input devices, such as a keyboard 218 and a mouse 219.

Next, the client computer system 200 determines the selection parameters. In an action 41 the client computer system 200 determines a position A. This position A may be determined by requesting input from the user. The position A may also be determined by determining the current position of the client computer system 200 using positioning device 225.

In a next action 42, the client computer system 200 determines a radius R. This radius R may be determined by requesting input from the user. The radius R may also be determined by selecting a default value for the radius R, stored in the memory units 213, 214, 215, 216, 217 of the client computer system 200.

In action 43, the client computer system 200 composes a request signal that is to be transmitted to the server computer system 100. The request signal may comprise the selection parameters (position A, the radius R), identification information identifying the server computer system 100 and the client computer server 200.

In action 44 the request is transmitted to the server computer system 100 using the input-output device (I/O) 226 of the client computer system 200. After transmission of the request, the client computer system 200 waits for the reception of a reply signal from the server computer system 100, as indicated by block 45. In an action 50, the server computer system 100 starts executing program instructions for carrying out the following actions. This action 50 may be triggered by a start command, for instance inputted by a user using one or more input devices, such as a keyboard 118 and a mouse 119. After the server computer system 100 is started, the server computer system 100 waits for the reception of a request, indicated by block 51. In action 52, the server computer system 100 receives a request via the input- output (I/O) device 126, transmitted by client computer system 200.

In action 53, the server computer system 100 reads the selection parameters: position A and radius R, from the received request. In a next action 54, the server computer system 100 selects geospatial data from the geospatial data stored in memory means 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 of the server computer system 100 that are within a radius R from position A, as schematically shown in Fig. 4. After the geospatial data are selected in action 54, the server computer system 100 transmits these selected geospatial data to the client computer system 200 in action 55.

After the transmission of action 55, the server computer system 100 returns to block 51 and waits for the receipt of a further request.

Then, in action 46, the client computer system 200 receives the geospatial data as transmitted by the server computer system 100. Upon receipt, the client computer server 200 stores the received geospatial data in memory means 213, 214, 215, 216, 217 of the client computer system 200 in action 47. This ends the execution of the program instructions, as indicated by block 48.

Start, destination and width

According to a further embodiment, the request may comprise selection parameters, formed by a first position S, a second position D and a width W. The first position S may be a start position S, the second position D may be a destination position D, which will be explained.

The start position S and the destination position D may be inputted by the user, using one or more input devices, such as a keyboard 218 and a mouse 219. The start position S and/or the destination position D may for instance be one of an address, a point of interest, a set of coordinates (e.g. GPS coordinates). The start position S may also be a current position of the client computer system 200 as determined by positioning device 225 or the current position of the server computer system 100 as determined by positioning device 125.

According to this embodiment, the server computer system 100 selects geospatial data that is within a rectangle (quadrangle) as indicated by the four dashed lines depicted in Fig. 6. The rectangle may be formed by two substantially parallel lines, having a length L that is substantially equal to the distance (as the crow flies) between the start position S and the destination position D.

The request further comprises a width W that is an indication of the width of the rectangle, as indicated in Fig. 6. The rectangle is positioned such that start position S is substantially halfway one of the sides of the rectangle having length W, and the destination position D is halfway the opposite side of the rectangle. This embodiment may be used when a users wants to transfer geospatial data from the server computer system 100 to the client computer system 200 to travel from the start position S to the destination position D. The geospatial data within the rectangle depicted in Fig. 6 allows the client computer system 200 to compute a route from the start position S to the destination position D.

The server computer system 100 may for instance be a personal computer, located at the house or office of the user, and the client computer system may for instance be a personal digital assistant (PDA) or a built-in car navigation device.

According to this embodiment, the client computer system 200 is also able to use the transmitted geospatial data to compute navigation directions from a later inputted first position to a later inputted second position, as long as both first and second position are within the geospatial data transmitted to the client computer system 200.

The start position S may be inputted by the user, using one or more input devices, such as a keyboard 218 and a mouse 219, or may also be a default start position (home address of the user), the current position of the client computer system 200 as determined by a positioning device 225 of the client computer system 200 or the current position of the server computer system 100 as determined by a positioning device 125 of the server computer system 100.

The destination position D may be inputted by the user, using one or more input devices, such as a keyboard 218 and a mouse 219, or may also be a default destination position D stored at the client computer system 200 (home address of the user) or a default destination position D stored at the server computer 100 (for instance the destination associated with the server computer system).

Fig. 7 schematically depicts a flow chart depicting the actions as may be performed by the client computer server 200 and the server computer system 100. The actions as may be performed by the client computer server 200 are depicted in the left column of Fig, 5, while the actions as may be performed by the server computer system 100 are depicted in the right column of Fig. 7. Similar references used in Fig. 5 and Fig. 7 refer to similar actions and are discussed above with to Fig. 5. After the client computer system 200 has started in action 40, the client computer system 200 determines the selection parameters. First, a start position S is determined in action 41.1. This start position S may be a default position or may be determined by requesting input from the user. The start position S may also be determined by determining the current position of the client computer system 200.

In a next action 41.2, the client computer system 200 determines a destination position D. This destination position D may be determined by requesting input from the user or may be a default destination position D.

However, according to an alternative embodiment, the start position S and/or the destination position D may be determined by the server computer system 100.

In an action 42.1, the client computer system 200 determines a width W. This width W may be determined by requesting input from the user. The width W may also be determined by selecting a default value for the width W, stored in the memory units 213, 214, 215, 216, 217 of the client computer system 200. The width W may also be computed based on a computed distance between the start position S and the destination position D, for instance being equal to halve the distance between start position S and destination position D. The further actions for the client computer system 200 are similar to the actions as discussed with reference to Fig. 5.

After the request is received in action 52, the server computer system 100 reads the selection parameters (start position S, destination position D and width W) from the receive request in an action 53.1. In a next action 54.1, the server computer system 100 selects geospatial data from the geospatial data stored in memory means 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 of the server computer system 100 that are within a rectangle defined by the start position S, destination position D and width W, as described above with reference to Fig. 6.

After this, the server computer system 100 proceeds with action 55 as discussed above.

Continued navigation

According to an embodiment, the processor unit 111 of the server computer 100 not only transmits geospatial data using input-output device 126 to the client computer server 200, but also a list of computed navigation directions, guiding the user for instance from a first position, such as a current position to a second position, such as a destination position D. This embodiment may for instance be used in case the server computer system 100 is a built-in car navigation system and the client computer server 200 is a mobile telephone, e.g. provided with a positioning device 225. The user travels from a start position S to a destination position D and a first part of the journey is done by car, using the server computer system 100 as a navigation device, and a second part of the journey is done by foot or by public transportation, using the client computer system 200 as a navigation device. In such a case, when the user changes from the first part of the journey to the second part of the journey, geospatial data may be transmitted from the server computer system 100 to the client computer server 200, where the geospatial data may comprise the current position (= the position where the user changes from the first to the second part of the journey, e.g. a parking lot) and the destination position D. The geospatial data may be in the form of a visual map or in the form of only text directions for the remaining route.

The transmitted geospatial data may for instance be a strip, as explained under reference to Fig. 6, where the start position S is now the current position of the change. The width W may be determined by the server computer system 100, the client computer system 200, or may be inputted by the user on either the client computer system 200 or the server computer system 100, using one or more input devices, such as a keyboard and a mouse. The server computer system 100 may further transmit the computed route and navigation directions for the second part as already stored in the memory means 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 of the server computer system 100. This way, the client computer system 200 does not need to be provided with the functionality of computing a route and navigation directions.

City/area

According to a further embodiment, the request may comprise selection parameters that comprise an indication of the geospatial data that is to be transmitted from the server computer system 100 to the client computer system 200 in the form of a topographical indication such as a name of a city, village, province, region, county, nature reserve etc. Based on such a request, the server computer system 100 selects all geospatial data that meet the request. GPS coordinates

According to a further embodiment, the request may comprise selection parameters in the form of coordinates, such as GPS coordinates (degrees of longitude and latitude). The request may for instance comprise four sets of coordinates, defining a (irregular shaped) quadrangle. The request then indicates that the server computer system 100 is to transmit all geospatial data within the quadrangle to the client computer system 200. Of course the coordinates may also comprise an other number of coordinates, defining a selection of geospatial data. The request may comprise three coordinates defining a triangle, five coordinates defining a pentagon, six coordinates defining a hexagon, etc. In general, the request may comprise three or more coordinates defining a polygon. Of course, such a polygon doesn't necessarily need to be equilaterally shaped.

In general, the request may comprise a number of selection parameters indicating the selection of geospatial data that is to be transmitted from the server computer system 100 to the client computer system 200. The selection parameters may for instance be a position A and a radius R, or a start position S, a destination position and a width W, or a name of a city or area. However, it will be understood that other selection parameters may be used.

Request made at server

According to a further embodiment, the request is not transmitted from the client computer server 200 to the server computer system 100, but generated at the server computer system 100.

Fig. 8 schematically depicts a flow chart depicting the actions as may be performed by the client computer server 200 and the server computer system 100 according to this embodiment. The actions as may be performed by the client computer server 200 are depicted in the left column of Fig. 8, while the actions as may be performed by the server computer system 100 are depicted in the right column of Fig. 8. Similar references used in Fig. 5, Fig. 7 and Fig. 8 refer to similar actions and are discussed above.

So, instead of receiving a request comprising selection parameters, the server computer system 100 determines selection parameters itself in an action 52.1. This may be done automatically, or by requesting input from a user. After the server computer system 100 has determined selection parameters, the server computer system 100 selects geospatial data based on the selection parameters in an action 54.2.

The actions as may be performed by client computer system 200 are similar to the actions shown in Fig. 5, except for the fact that actions 41, 42, 43, 44 that all relate to the composition and transmission of the request, can be omitted.

According to this embodiment, a user can initiate the transmission of geospatial data from the server computer system 100 to the client computer system 200 from the server computer system 100. It will be understood that the selection parameters may further comprise an indication identifying the client computer system 200 the geospatial data is to be transmitted to.

Request made at further computer

According to a further embodiment, the request is generated at a further computer system, not being the server computer system 100 or the client computer system 200. This is schematically depicted in a flow diagram in Fig. 9. The flow diagram comprises three columns, of which the left column depicts the actions as may be performed by the client computer system 200, the middle column depicts the actions as may be performed by the server computer system 100 and the right column depicts the actions as may be performed by the further computer system. Similar references used in Fig. 5, Fig. 7, Fig. 8 and Fig. 9 refer to similar actions and are discussed above.

In an action 60, the further computer system starts executing program instructions for carrying out the following actions. This action 60 may be triggered by a start command, for instance inputted by a user using one or more input devices, such as a keyboard and a mouse. In a next action 61 the further computer system determined the selection parameters, such as a position A and a radius R. However all kinds of selection parameters, e.g. as discussed above, may be determined here. Again, the selection parameters may be determined by asking input from a user, or may be determined automatically. Once the selection parameters are determined, the request is composed in action

62 and finally transmitted to the server computer system 100 in action 63.

The server computer system 100 receives the request in action 52 and performs actions 54.2, 55 and 56 as discussed above with reference to Fig. 8. The client computer system 200 performs actions 40, 45, 46, 47 and 48 as discussed above.

The further computer system may for instance be a personal computer. The request as transmitted to the server computer system 100 in action 63 may then for instance be transmitted to the server computer system 100 via the internet. This enables the server computer system to maintain a web page, allowing users to determine selection parameters and compose a request. The request may further comprise an indication of the client computer server 100 the geospatial data is to be transmitted to, such as a mobile telephone number.

As described above, the selection parameters may be generated at the server computer system 100, the client computer system 200 or the further computer system. However, it will be understood that the selection parameters may also be partially generated at a first computer system, such as for instance the client computer system 200 and partially at a second computer system, such as for instance the server computer system 100.

It will be understood that the server computer system 100 and the client computer system 200 may changes roles. Thus, a computer system may be arranged to play the role of a server computer system, as well as a client computer system. Such a computer system may be arranged receive selected geospatial data as explained above, and transmit selected geospatial data as also explained above.

Level of detail According to a further embodiment, the selection parameters may further comprise an indication of the level of detail of the selected geospatial data from the geospatial data that is to be transmitted from the server computer system 100 to the client computer system 200 via communication link 27. This may be useful in cases that the client computer system 200 does not have enough storage capacity at its memory units 213, 214, 215, 216, 217 to store full detail information. Also, downloading a selection of geospatial data with a low detail information may be cheaper and more time efficient. The level of required detail may be determined automatically or may be entered by a user. The level of required detail may be a measure of resolution, and may simply be indicated by a number, for instance 1000 pixels/km.

According to an alternative, the level of detail might be indicated by the type of information that is to be transmitted, such as for instance the level of road detail, for example only highways, or all roads including residential.

Also, the type of information may be indicated by specific types of points of interest (for instance only shops and restaurants) that are to be included. All further points of interest are left out. Of course, also other restrictions are possible, for instance street names and house numbers may be left out.

It will be understood that the level of resolution also indirectly indicates the type of information that might be offered. If a low resolution is requested (say, 5 pixels per km) it is likely that only highways will be transmitted, as there are not enough pixels to correctly show smaller roads (residential roads) as well. If a high resolution is requested (say, 1000 pixels per km) residential roads and road names may be added.

Based on the above it will be understood that the level of detail may be indicated in many different ways, such as for instance by defining a level of resolution or type of information.

Organization of geospatial data

The geospatial data stored in the memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 of the server computer system 100 may be stored according to a certain type of data organization. The geospatial data may for instance be organized in tiles, each having a unique identification. The geospatial data in these tiles may represent a substantially rectangular part of the earth's surface. Therefore, the selection parameters may also comprise an indication of the requested tiles, such as the unique identification associated with the tiles.

Also, the geospatial data that are transmitted based on selection parameters, may not exactly match the selection parameters, as a result of the type of data organization. For instance, if the geospatial data is organized in tiles and the selection parameters comprise a position A and a radius R, defining a circle as described above, it may be more convenient to transmit a number of tiles, covering an area larger than, but fully comprising the requested circle. Selecting the geospatial data that substantially match the requested circle may computationally be more expensive and less time efficient. The request may be fulfilled by transmitting the minimum set of complete tiles that complete the desired area.

Billing techniques

According to a further embodiment, the server computer system 100 may check for authorization or charge the client computer server 200 for the selected geospatial data that is transmitted from the server computer system 100 to the client computer system 200. In order to do so, the server computer 100 may execute a so called digital rights protection scheme. This digital rights protection scheme may include checking for previously established authorization or alternatively, checking a debit account of the client computer system, asking and checking a credit card number or executing any other known way of initiating or checking a payment. The digital rights protection scheme may also check whether a client computer system 200 is registered with the server computer system 100. This solution is relatively simple for the end-user and avoids additional costs. The client computer system 200 may be arranged to cooperate in such a digital rights protection scheme.

In case the digital rights protection scheme is not completed successfully, i.e. if no authorization is verified or no payment has been done, the server computer system 100 may not allow the transfer of geospatial data to the client computer system 200 because it does not indicate the necessary authorization for this use. These and other aspects of copyright and digital rights protection may be done in many different ways, such as for instance using Digital Rights Management (DRM) techniques.

DRM techniques are used for authorizing the viewing or playback of copyrighted material on for instance a client computer system. DRM techniques may be used for all kinds of data, such as copyrighted music, but may also be used for geospatial data. DRM techniques may be used in conjunction with a digital map database as stored in the memory units 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 of the server computer system 100 and may be designed for various distribution scenarios. For example, selected geospatial data transmitted from the server computer system 100 to the client computer system 200 may only be transmitted as long as the client computer system 200 maintains a subscription at the server computer system 100. Transmitted geospatial data may be configured to expire after they have been used some number of times or on a particular date. In other cases, the transmitted geospatial data is tied to some number of client computer systems 200. Software may prohibit the user from further transmitting geospatial data on other client computer systems 200 without obtaining additional licenses or permission from the server computer system 100.

Physical storage format

For the future a common physical storage format (PSF) for navigation data has been requested by automotive industry. Up to now, different physical storage formats are used for navigation data by different client computer systems. It will be understood that this limits utilization of the above embodiments to systems all using the same PSF. However, the embodiments described above will be uniformly applicable once such a common PSF is agreed upon.

Further remarks

According to an embodiment, the selection parameters comprise or are based on navigational parameters, such as a start and destination and/or an already computed route. Based on such navigational parameters, it is possible to select geospatial data from geospatial data in the memory unit 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, and to transmit the selected geospatial data to the client computer system 200 via the communication link 27 using the input-output device 126. This has the advantage that a user doesn't need to exactly identify the part of the geospatial data he/she is interested in, but simply uses the system as he/she is used (i.e. planning a route) and the system determines an appropriate selection of geospatial data.

Based on the above it will therefore be understood that the selection parameters defining the geospatial data that are to be exchanged, are not predetermined, but may be determined 'on the spot', i.e. may be determined based on a current situation, such as the current position, current selected destination, current route that is being travelled. This means that

- the current position doesn't need to be entered by a user, but is determined on the spot and may for instance be provided by the server computer system 100, - the maximum amount of data which may be transferred may be limited by the server computer system 100 or by the communication link 27 that is used,

- within this limit the amount and shape of data that are to be transferred are determined on the spot and may for instance be defined by client computer system 200, 300,

- no destination needs to be defined prior to transfer of data,

- information of an already planned route (by server computer sytem 100) may optionally be transferred (e.g. in case the route to destination has been calculated but destination can not be reached by car the information about "rest of route" can be transferred),

- information about route may be used for definition of data to be transferred, i.e. defining the selection parameters.

It will be understood that the above embodiments provide a solution for end-users that may want to use geospatial data available on a first computer system on a second computer system. By selecting part of the geospatial data in a smart way a relatively small amount of data needs to be transferred, which can be done with a direct communication link. Also, since all geospatial data that is to be transferred is available locally, a direct communication link can be used.

For the purpose of teaching the invention, preferred embodiments of the method and devices of the invention were described. It will be apparent for the person skilled in the art that other alternative and equivalent embodiments of the invention can be conceived and reduced to practice without departing from the true spirit of the invention, the scope of the invention being only limited by the annexed claims.

Claims

1. Server computer system (100) comprising a processor unit (111), a memory unit (113, 114, 115, 116, 117), and an input-output device (126), the processor unit (111) being arranged to communicate with the memory unit (113, 114, 115, 116, 117) and the input-output device (126),
- the memory unit (113, 114, 115, 116, 117) of the server computer system (100) being arranged to comprise geospatial data, the server computer system (100) being arranged to - communicate with a client computer system (200) via a communication link (27) using the input-output device (126),
- select selected geospatial data from geospatial data in the memory unit (113, 114, 115, 116, 117) according to selection parameters, and to
- transmit the selected geospatial data to the client computer system (200) via the communication link (27) using the input-output device (126).
2. Server computer system according to claim 1, wherein the server computer system is arranged to communicate via a direct communication link (27).
3. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the claims 1 - 2, wherein the selection parameters are at least partially received from one of: the client computer system (200, 300) and a further computer.
4. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the claims 1 - 2, wherein the selection parameters are at least partially generated at the server computer system
(100).
5. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the claims 1 - 2, wherein the selection parameters are at least partially received from a user via one or more input devices of the server computer system (100), such as a keyboard (118) and a mouse (119).
6. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the selection parameters comprise a position (A) and a radius (R), defining a circle having the position as midpoint and the selected geospatial data are within the circle.
7. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the selection parameters comprise a first position (S), a second position (D) and a width (W), defining a quadrangle and the selected geospatial data are within the quadrangle.
8. Server computer system (100) according to claim 7, wherein the first position is a start position (S) and the second position is a destination (D).
9. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the selection parameters comprise three or more coordinates defining a polygon and the selected geospatial data are within the polygon.
10. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the selection parameters comprise a topographical indication, such as a name of a city, village, province, region, county, nature reserve etc.
11. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the selection parameters comprise a position (A, S) determined by a positioning device (125) of the server computer system (100).
12. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the selection parameters comprise an indication of the level of detail and geospatial data from the geospatial data in the memory unit (113, 114, 115, 116, 117) are selected with a level of detail according to the indication of the level of detail.
13. Server computer according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the selected and transmitted geospatial data cover more than the geospatial data as defined by the selection parameters.
14. Server computer system (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the server computer system (100) is further arranged to
- transmit a request to a further server computer system via the communication link (27) using the input-output device (126), the request comprising selection parameters,
- receive selected geospatial data from the further server computer system using input- output device (126), and to
- store the selected geospatial data in the memory unit (113, 114, 115, 116, 117).
15. Client computer system (200) comprising a processor unit (211), a memory unit (213, 214, 215, 216, 217), and an input-output device (226), the processor unit (211) being arranged to communicate with the memory unit (213, 214, 215, 216, 217) and the input-output device (226),
- the memory unit (213, 214, 215, 216, 217) of the client computer system (200) being arranged to comprise geospatial data, the client computer system (200) being arranged to
- communicate with a server computer (100) via a communication link (27) using the input-output device (226),
- receive selected geospatial data from the server computer system (100) using input- output device (226), and to
- store the selected geospatial data in the memory unit (213, 214, 215, 216, 217).
16. Client computer system according to claim 15, wherein the client computer system is arranged to communicate via a direct communication link (27).
17. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 15 - 16 , wherein the client computer system (200) further is arranged to
- transmit a request to the server computer system (100) via communication link (27) using the input-output device (226), the request comprising selection parameters.
18. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 15 - 17, wherein the selection parameters are at least partially generated at the client computer system (200).
19. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 14 - 18, wherein the selection parameters are at least received from a user via one or more input devices of the client computer system (200), such as a keyboard (218) and a mouse (219).
20. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 14 - 19, wherein the selection parameters comprise a position (A) and a radius (R), defining a circle and the selected geospatial data are within the circle.
21. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 14 - 20, wherein the selection parameters comprise a first position (S), a second position (D) and a width (W), defining a quadrangle and the selected geospatial data are within the quadrangle.
22. Client computer system (200) according to claim 21, wherein the first position is a start position (S) and the second position is a destination (D).
23. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 21 - 22, wherein the first position is a current position (S) of one of: the client computer system (200) and the server computer system (100).
24. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 15 - 23, wherein the selection parameters comprise three or more coordinates defining a polygon and the selected geospatial data are within the polygon.
25. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 15 - 24, wherein the selection parameters comprise a topographical indication, such as a name of a city, village, province, region, county, nature reserve etc.
26. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 15 - 25, wherein the selection parameters comprise a position (A, S) determined by a positioning device (225) of the client computer system (200).
27. Client computer system (200) according to any one of the claims 15 - 27, wherein the client computer system (200) is further arranged to:
- select selected geospatial data from geospatial data in the memory unit (213, 214, 215, 216, 217) according to selection parameters, and to - transmit the selected geospatial data to a further client computer via the communication link (27) using the input-output device (226).
28. System, comprising a server computer system (100) according to claim 1 and at least one client computer system (200) according to claim 15.
29. System according to claim 28 in which the server computer system (100) and the client computer system (200) are arranged to communicate with each other via a communication link (27), the communication link being a direct communication link.
30. Method for exchanging geospatial data, comprising
- selecting selected geospatial data from geospatial data according to selection parameters, and
- transmitting the selected geospatial data to a client computer system (200) via a communication link (27) using an input-output device (126).
31. Method according to claim 30, in which the communication link (27) is a direct communication link.
32. Method according to any one of the claims 30 - 31, further comprising executing a digital rights protection scheme.
33. Method according to claim 32, in which the digital rights protection scheme comprises digital rights management.
34. Method for exchanging geospatial data, comprising
- transmitting a request for geospatial data to a server computer system (100) using an input-output device (226) via a communication link (27), - receiving selected geospatial data from the server computer system (100) using input- output device (226), and to
- store the selected geospatial data in a memory unit (213, 214, 215, 216, 217).
35. Method according to claim 32, in which the communication link (27) is a direct communication link.
36. Method according to any one of the claims 34 - 35, in which the method further comprises cooperating with a digital rights protection scheme.
37. Method according to claim 36, in which the digital rights protection scheme comprises digital rights management.
38. Navigation device, being arranged to perform the method according to any one of the claims 30 - 37.
39. Computer program, when loaded on a computer arrangement, is arranged to perform any one of the methods according to claims 30 - 37.
40. Data carrier, comprising a computer program according to claim 39.
PCT/NL2006/050197 2006-08-11 2006-08-11 System and method for exchanging geospatial data WO2008018786A1 (en)

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US6075467A (en) * 1997-08-21 2000-06-13 Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha Map data selection supporting device, and map data processing system and map data processing device including the same
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