With AI and machine learning, smart cities and Location of Things navigation is closer than ever to reality. To find out how highly accurate, real-time maps can revolutionize everything from autonomous cars to connected cities, catch up on this VB Live event featuring Forrester principal analyst Jennifer Belissent, TomTom’s co-founder, and Principal PM at Azure Maps.

Access this VB Live event on demand right here.

“Location is not just about points on a map — it’s about context,” says principal Forrester analyst, Jennifer Belissent. Geospatial coordinates must be absolute and static, but location is dynamic, offering a complex and rich source of intelligence. And the more context you have — from urban to rural, built environments or natural, weather and time passing to the number of Starbucks you have along the way — the better maps can help you visualize the insights that this location data delivers.

Consumer play products like MapQuest and Yahoo Maps were a revolution, but the biggest move from there was mobile, when maps showed up on phones and meant you’d never be lost again, says Chris Pendleton, principal PM at Azure Maps. But it turns out that your position, while you use the device, could actually benefit the map itself.

“There’s been this pivot of reciprocation — not just the map providing benefit to me, but me providing benefit to the map,” Pendleton says. “That’s where the location of things concept for connected devices really plays an imperative role.”

This growth of the internet of things, or the internet of everything, as it’s sometimes called, has ramped up interest in the the value of location insights. A Forrester survey found that 57 percent of companies have implemented solutions specifically for location analytics, and 69 percent tell us that they’ve implemented solutions to help them improve the accuracy of their location data or enrich their location data.

“We used to think the internet was connecting people — now things comprise the vast majority of the internet, and we’re starting to add location to those things, with GPS and other positioning technologies,” says Peter Frans Pauwels, co-founder of TomTom.

It’s a growing avenue of opportunity with the explosion of sensors, from advanced cars with video, to lidar and radar, webcams and temperature press sensors, and the data that’s captured by them plus the proliferation of new channels for capturing that data that connect customers and companies.

“Over time we’ve seen a transition to focusing more on the sensors and the penetration of sensors — the more sensors we have, the more accurate and up-to-date the maps are going to be,” Pendleton says. “Once you have a GPS receiver, you can see where you are, but getting that information back to a corpus of data is the criticality of keeping the map fresh.”

With GPS probes, we can then generate streams and strings of information that become the actual road outlines and positions. It’s a reciprocal relationship that’s now pivoting more to the sensors, where the more accurate the sensors beyond GPS are, such as cameras tied with GPS, the richer the data for the map, which then reciprocates and proliferates out to every other user using that map.

Next-generation systems will bring increased precision and reach, Belissent says. We’ll be able to track smaller things at a much lower cost with much higher accuracy — deeper inside buildings for example.

“With the type of maps that the industry is bringing to the self-driving space, we see that what those cars will be observing is going to be much more accurate in terms of positioning than is possible today,” she adds. “We’re on the verge of a big leap, an explosion of the amount of data we’ll have. We’ll have a much deeper sense and a complete description of the world around us.”

And with advanced spatial context, as well as a deeper and more accurate look in the real world of things we’re connecting to the internet, and how they change over time, we can start looking at patterns, Pauwels says.

That’s where the power of AI comes in. Artificial intelligence has also helped the location of things concept evolve over time via the entification of objects on the map — which means that every single thing on the map, whether it’s a business, a building, a road, a park, hydrology — all become objects, or entities, in a larger graph, which means they can be updated at scale.

AI and computer vision can show what needs to be updated on the map, but also take what happens to the map over time and start correlating and connecting that with other sets of data. For example, you can look at congestion in a city and how that links to weather, or big sporting events. That allows you to do predictions around what will happen given certain weather conditions and upcoming games.

Take that to the next level and you find a local highway authority that’s considering investing tax dollars into building a bridge or a tunnel. Now you can envision the impact of that bridge by inserting it into the map and stress testing it using AI-derived insights, to see whether it will work — and how.

Location is dynamic, and with the increasing amount of data we have in real time, as 5G proliferates and the technology advances, companies will be able to gather more insights and analyze at the edge and in the cloud.

Learn more about how contextualized location data is going beyond the automotive world and enriching every industry, how real-time location data is being leveraged now and will be used in the future, and more when you catch up on this VB Live event.

Don’t miss out!

Access on demand for free right here.

In this webinar you’ll learn:

  • How to leverage the power of the cloud, AI, and machine learning across devices by contextualizing location data in real time
  • Understand the role of location-based data mapping in the “Location of Things”
  • The application of data-enriched mapping to industries like retail and automotive
  • How “Location of Things” powered by geographical data can be used to connect autonomous driving, smart mobility, and smarter cities


  • Chris Pendleton, Principal PM, Azure Maps
  • Peter Frans Pauwels, Co-founder, TomTom
  • Jennifer Belissent, Principal Analyst, Forrester
  • Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VentureBeat

Sponsored by TomTom