Microsoft taps mapping companies TomTom, HERE and Esri to help 'create the next world graph'

Microsoft has announced that it has partnered with a trio of mapping companies (opens in new tab) — HERE, TomTom and Esri — in an effort that will see the companies' data used across the board in various Microsoft services. The ultimate goal of the partnerships will be the creation of "the next world graph," Microsoft says.

For its part, TomTom will tie its location services into Microsoft Azure in an effort to make it easier for developers to create location-aware apps, Microsoft says. Esri's geographic information system (GIS) tech, on the other hand, is already "deeply integrated" in Microsoft applications and services with its ArcGIS products. Lastly, HERE, which already has a long-standing deal with Microsoft to provide data for its various services, is expanding that agreement to expand HERE data into car-related applications.

When put together, Microsoft is hoping to use the data from all three services to help create a "world graph." In short, Microsoft views this as an index of "physical places, objects and devices and their interconnectivity." The information could ultimately provide a platform for some rather interesting applications. From Microsoft:

Scenarios could include connected cars that combine up-to-date mapping, traffic and weather data with a driver's schedule, to-do lists and preferences for personalized planning and routing. Intelligent cars could re-route away from accidents, recommend nearby restaurants and find commutes with good cell coverage for work calls. To increase safety and efficiency, data from road conditions, car sensors and driver behavior can inform predictive car maintenance.Cities could use location-based services to analyze, influence and improve traffic. Location data can help businesses manage logistics, optimize fleets and track customer engagement.

That's certainly a lofty goal, but partnering with some of the biggest mapping data providers is certainly a good way to move toward that goal. For much more on Microsoft's goals with these partnerships, be sure to check out the company's full post (opens in new tab).

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • I think this will be a good idea. Finally using all if the companies strengths to make a better making product.
  • Please restart your car to finish installing updates.
    Connect USB drive to drive.
  • That's funny I don't care who you are... Roflmao
  • That would be a bad forced restart time!
  • Being as Autodesk has partnered with Microsoft for Map data and as Autodesk software is used by millions of land engineering professionals the inclusion of Esri data is a major win.
  • Hope there will be a good app for that.
    For W10 and W10M. -   
  • A decent interface or a software would come later when the service is perfected.
  • Definitely will be one for iDroid
  • ESRI had an app way back in the WP7 days!
  • Just wish it was as easy to correct flaws as it is with Google maps.
  • Easy, you are kidding right. We moved into our new build 9 months ago. Here and Google had the wrong location for our postcode, putting it some 3 miles from here. I got here to change it within a couple of months but Google are refusing to accept the change insisting that I am wrong. I only live here, what would I know! So even now we have to put up with missed deliveries from drivers who can't find us, have to guide them in by phone or even occasionally go out in the car and lead them here!!!
  • Select the POI in Google Maps and choose "Claim this Business". You will have the right position on map and details in maximum two weeks.
  • "self driving" car, looks like MS want that too.
  • Ofcourse... Their business strategy is - look at what Google is doing and follow.
  • Unlike Google, msft can make a hell of a service with self automation software incorporated in to 3 major car manufacturers who own HERE right now. That's a win win for both ends.
  • That's until they lose interest and cancel support, in favour of some new service with less features.
  • You mean like a lot of Canceled Google Projects?
  • Google is a startup, Microsoft shouldn't compare themselves to them.
    They should innovate like they did when Bill was around.
  • You're a funny guy... You know that??? First google is not a start up hasn't been for a decade!!! Second google doesn't do anything of what you are talking about, Alphabet does! Third pretty sure Alphabet just gave independence from google to their autonomous car department, so their is that! But finally the funniest part is about innovation... MS R&D is among the most massive in the world their budget trumps almost all competition and they more patent and licences every year that most companies... Alphabet but especially google has nothing on MS on that front.... Actually google pays more licencing fees to MS than the other way around...
  • What's funny is that you actually agree with me and you don't even see it.
    You may want to get someone to read your own comment to you.
    """R&D... trumps... licensing""" BTW Google is a startup as they have not mastered their craft.
    You don't stop being a start up when you make it to year two.
    There are 20 year old start ups. Lastly on R&D, Microsoft haven't innovated in years.
    They've been bleeding money with useless acquisitions like Linkedin.
  • Still no turn-by-turn nor voice navigation in Japan on Windows/Bing Maps. :-(
  • All of this is Mobile and I think it's a grand idea...
  • In the mean time, please allow importing Here maps data to Windows maps app