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 — 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.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

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