How Technology Is Used In Map Making


Have you see a resort website with a custom map illustration on the landing page? It is very likely that the map illustration is hand drawn which means that the map differs from all other maps of the same area. However, the more popular maps nowadays are digital maps that use satellite imagery to tag road features and show drivers some details of a route to help in navigation.

Based on the model that was invented by researchers at MIT and Qatar Computing Research Institute, if satellite imagery is used in digital maps to tag road features, it would improve GPS navigation. It is very difficult for drivers to navigate unfamiliar roads. By showing drivers more details about the route they can plan ahead for the travel.

One example is lane counts that can enable a GPS system to warn drivers that there are merging or diverging lanes they need to prepare for. It also makes sense to inform drivers about parking spots and bicycle lanes to help them navigate busy streets in a city.

However, the creation of well detailed maps is an expensive and time consuming endeavour that only big companies like Google can afford. To create Google Maps, the company sends vehicles with cameras strapped to their hoods in different locations. The cameras capture images and videos of area roads to create up-to-date accurate maps. The problem is some parts of the world are ignored.

Machine learning models on satellite images is the most likely solution to obtain and regularly update road features automatically. When the roads are obstructed by trees and buildings, obtaining satellite imagery can be challenging. However, Road Tagger that makes use of a combination of neural network architecture can automatically determine the number of lanes and road types in residential spaces and highways that are behind the obstructions.

For marketing promotions, resorts and campuses including cities and towns prefer to use brochures with a custom map illustration that is more aesthetically pleasing and interesting.  The idea is to catch the attention of a visitor and encourage him to visit and experience the place, its culture, history and what it can offer.