On July 27, tech major Google announced the launch of its Google Street View mapping product here in India, taking advantage of the Indian government’s new geospatial policy. Shortly after Google’s announcement, homegrown MapMyIndia, announced a product called Real View Maps, which provides “360-dgree panoramic street view” and also includes a 3D Metaverse Maps Service.
Though India is one of the leading markets for Google Maps, its Street View was rejected by the country’s regulators back in 2016, after objections from security agencies. The country’s new National Geospatial Policy, 2021 however, allows products like this to be operated by foreign companies, as long as the imagery data is owned by Indian firms.
To that end, Google today said that it is licensing the data from Tech Mahindra and mapping firm Genesys International to launch Street View in India. MapMyIndia, on the other hand, doesn’t have to deal with such limitations.
The company’s Real View Maps works on similar lines as Google Street View and allows users to “virtually explore and interact with full 360-degree panoramas of streets” along with famous tourist, residential and commercial areas of major Indian cities, the same as Street View.
The company calls its primary mapping product Mappls, which competes with Google Maps, and RealView will compete with Street View. MapMyIndia said that Mappls RealView maps repository already covers “hundreds of thousands of kilometers”. Google said that Street View will be available in 10 Indian cities right now and covers 150,000 kilometres in the country. It plans to increase to 50 more cities by the end of the year.
Both Street View and RealView are available to public and private sector companies that want to integrate it into their apps and services, and to regular users.
Rohan Verma, CEO and executive director of MapmyIndia emphasized that RealView Maps is a “fully indigenous” alternative to foreign map apps.
Anupam Shukla, partner at law firm Pioneer Legal, said that roll out of such features by companies other than Google is good from a customer point of view as it gives users more options.
Having said that, Shukla noted that given the ubiquitousness of Google products and how seamlessly it (Street View) will integrate with Google Maps, gives Google an advantage over MapMyIndia, since the former’s product is a default on Android devices. As a result Google's Street View will get “much faster market penetration" than its rivals unless they are able to offer a "differentiated experience" to users.
MapMyIndia, on the other hand, is known for its navigation devices for automobiles. The company has made progress in its digital maps portfolio by launching several new apps catering to different sectors. For instance, MapMyIndia Navic alerts fishermen about adverse weather conditions in sea or when they cross the international maritime boundary. Similarly, WorkMate apps allows companies to manage their on-field staff, while MyKids is a school bus monitoring app for parents.
The company also provides map data to Apple Maps in India. In February 2021, the company announced a partnership with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to develop mapping portals, apps, and geospatial software. The satellite imagery from ISRO has allowed MapMyIndia to offer vegetation, heat and air quality maps in their apps.
RealView locations will also use satellite imagery provided by ISRO along with data captured through drones and vehicles.