Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Highlights from the Ovi Maps Satellite Launch Q&A

Posted on 15:00 by SlipKoRnSaad

Remember that Nokia Satellite Launch we talked about last week ? Well late yesterday Nokia WomWorld hosted a little Q&A with a couple bloggers, to get to talk to the CEO of Digital Globe as well as representatives from the Ovi Maps service.

(Note: Many of these questions were asked by the othe Bloggers present at the event, not me).


Answers from a Digital Globe representative :

Q: What does Nokia hope to gain by launching their own satellite? I realize that these projects have a long life cycle, so planning was started some time ago, but in the current economy, what potential benefits do they see from doing something this expensive?

A: The satellite is not a Nokia satellite, DigitalGlobe in launching and operating WorldView 2 satellite providing imagery collected to Nokia.

Q: As I understand it, DigitalGlobe provides data to many goverment and commercial agencies.

A: That is correct, we provide our imagery to commercial and government entities around the world.

Q: How exactly this would impact Ovi Maps. Better Images ? Navigation ?

A: DigitalGlobe provides to Nokia imagery as part of OVI Maps, the customers are going to benefit from higher resolution and considering the large collecting capacity there will be extented availability of our contents in many more countries.

The navigation experience is going to improve due to high resolution, especially for pedestrian navigation.

Q: Megapixel rating on the camera, producer of the actual optics ?

A: You can check out this link for more information the optics components are built by ITT.

Q: What I want to know is what timeframe are we looking at before we start seeing the benefits of this launch.

A: We should release first image approx 90 days after the launch considering the calibration process required on the satellite.

Q: It can distinguish items on the ground what distance apart?

A: This satellite has very high native accuracy and we expect to have a good product to be used in offboard navigation.

Q: I’d heard about the proprietary online portal for clients to access your data. Is this something clients will link to in real time to its consumers, or will they download the data and use it in its own applications?

A: DigitalGlobe is an equal opportunity provider to all portals and mobile applications, we are planning to provide imagery to other customers as well.

Q: Can you give it an actual megapixel rating for laymen like me?

A: The resolution of the satellite is 50cm so we can clearly identify items on the ground.

Q: How much did the entire launch cost, including the satellite and launch vehicle?

A: It is difficult to comment on operational costs related to the satellite, the cost of WorldView 2 was approx $460 million.

Q: Can you tell us what regions will be benefitted first? When can I expect to see improvements around Asia, India specifically.

A: It is difficult to define who is benefit more from this new satellite in terms of geographic coverage as with the current aggregated capacity we can provide an annual update to the entire world’s land mass.

Q: What is the main purpose of this launch and the part that Nokia is playing in it??

A: The main purpose of the launch is to satisfy needs of our existing customers and complete the DigitalGlobe constellation of satellites to provide imagery to both commercial and government markets.

Q: Can I know since when nokia started this partnership with digital globe ?

A: DigitalGlobe and Nokia started their agreement in 2007.

Q: Is the new satellite going to be able to improve the ovi maps services such as routing ?

A: The imagery is not improving routing capabilities but they are helping tremendously as background information especially in pedestrian navigation and local searches.

Q: Was the satellite a response to the recent launch of the other satellite that was better than the WorldView1, a move to stay competitive, or just the progression of technology? How long do you expect to be the “baddest on the block” imaging satellite? And is TeleAtlas a customer as well as Navteq/Nokia?

A: We started building WorldView2 5 years ago so it is not a direct response to our competitor but more the evolution of our own offering in terms of technology, Because WV-2 has eight bands, CMGs for agility, and 1.1m aperture we can safely say that there are NO other advanced commercial satellites like WV-2 in operation.

Q: No megapixel rating on the sensor?

A: MEGAPIXEL – It is difficult to describe the WorldView-2 sensor in the same terms of a typical digital camera. The WorldView-2 sensor can collect a swath width of 16.4 km from an altitiude of 770 km at slightly better than 50cm resolution (US regulations limits us to 50cm) . To add to this, the sensor is capable of recording information beyond the traditional visual spectrum at a bit depth of 11bits which greatly increases the amount of information that can be captured. The imagery is downloaded to our ground stations and processed to a degree which can be then integrated into various applications and platform.

Q: Is the US military a customer as well, and if so, have they restricted the level of resolution to foriegn goverment agencies for strategic reasons?

A: The US government is an important customer for DigitalGlobe, as US company we are following the government regulations to provide our imagery according with the license that was granted to us.

Q: When can I expect to see improvements around Asia, India specifically.

A: Regarding India, we are working to complete the global coverage and we need to coordinate with the Nokia OVI team to release additional imagery according with product plans.

Q: For how long do u all expect the satellite to be in operation for?

A: The design life of worldview class satellite is 7.25 years.

Q: Can Digital Globe control the orbit of the satellite from the ground? And can they place the satellite in a certain orbit at a client’s request, or must they wait for the data when you get it? And how “dumbed down” is the imagery to commercial vs. government agencies? Will there be images from multiple angles to possibly form 3D imagery via software?

A: The satellite makes several orbits per day and is aligned with the sun. In these orbits, DigitalGlobe is able to “point” the satellite to acquire different areas which are prioritized by Nokia and other customers. There is no plan to change the final orbit of the satellite.


Questions about Ovi Maps :

Answers from Pino, from the Ovi Maps team in Berlin.

Q: I was wondering whether all existing Ovi Maps capable devices be able to get the benefit of these better images or will it be restricted to a few.

A: Well, as soon as we have new images for our maps, they will be available OTA to all the Ovi Maps users.

Q: As I understand it the N900 does not have voice navigation for now despite having Ovi Maps, so when can we expect that to be included? Will future Maemo devices also get the benefit of this improved data or will it be Symbian centric for a while. Even S40 has an Ovi Maps client if I am not mistaken.

How do u all expect to promote the s40 version of Ovi Maps? Since most people who buy s40 devices arent all that experienced ?

A: Both Ovi Maps for Maemo and S40 are going to be improved soon in order to include navigation too.

However the current focus for Ovi Maps is the touch version of S60. At least until end of November when the current Ovi Maps Beta is going to be commercial.

Unfortunately I can’t commit to any timeline for navigation on the N900 ;-)


Answers joined in by Luis from Nokia in Espoo.

Q: Tell us how actually the OVI maps are befitted from this,is it only in the signal reception department or will there be added richness to the maps application?

A: This is not a GPS satellite, but an imaging satellite. The way it benefits Ovi Maps is by getting better satellite images. These can also be used for other purposes such as extracting terrain data.

Q: So can Luis or Pino please tell us when will we see improved map data for India as even after what seems like ages only a few cities are covered. Google Maps and other companies have much more extensive maps.

Just how exactly do they expect Maps 2 become social?Is there any chance of some kind of London Transport app using the SDK?

A: It’s difficult to say right now when we are going to get better map data for India

regarding the social part: there are some features that have been launched in beta (Ovi lifecasting) and more coming (Ovi journeys).

The SDK is also available and everyone can register for that, so now it’s up either to a developer to bring something for the London Transport or the London Transport Authority itself to develop an application with the Ovi SDK.

Q: Ovi Journeys sounds awesome. It has part sports tracker functionality ?

A: It’s the evolution of Sport Tracker :-)


And that’s it. As you can see we came out of that Q&A with a wealth of Information. I’m particularly interested by the “Ovi Journeys” app they mentioned towards the end, which is apparently an evolution of the much loved Nokia SportsTracker app.

As you might already know, development on the Sports Tracker app for S60 was halted recently & noone seemed to have any idea what was going to happen to it.

Well, atleast now we know that we have “Ovi Journeys” to look forward to.

Via : zomgitscj

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