Turn left at the Temple: How SatNavs work in places without street names

40-india-map.jpgInteresting point from an employee of NavTeq, the satnav makers, at mobile location conference MoMoLo last night. He was explaining how navigation companies make maps and directions in countries where streets don’t have names.

The answer? They do just what humans do – use landmarks. Of course this is an early science, but it’s something GPS makers need to work with as they expand beyond Europe and America.

It’s a big issue in India where apparently many streets aren’t named.

“In India streets don’t have names or signs” Anwar Ahmed of Navteq said, “so we do – ‘at this temple turn left, or at this signpost go left’.”

Problems obviously come in choosing the right landmarks – as some are more temporary than others. And it involves more cultural understanding and local knowledge than just street names.

Still interesting huh? Anyone experienced this?

Anna Leach