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NDS Helps to Overcome International Navigation Challenges (Part 2)

4. July 2023

In a two-part blog series, we report on current requirements in the development of international navigation data. While the first part was primarily about geopolitical conflicts, this second part deals with nationally varying requirements for map data. As a standardized format for map databases in navigation systems, the Navigation Data Standard supports developers and automotive customers alike. Robert Krumpolt,  product manager at HERE, explains how NDS can assist with challenges such as disputed borders or update regions.

A current example of territorial specifics that can be of importance for navigation developers and automotive players can be found in Turkey. On the one hand, there has been a requirement in the European Union since 2022 that new vehicles be equipped with Speed Assist. From June 2022, newly introduced car models will have to have a “speed brake” that can prevent drivers from exceeding the speed limit. From 2024, every new car sold in the EU will also need a so-called “speed limiter.” A “black box” directive is also to be introduced in the same period. Every car will then have a device for continuous data recording. This automatic speed warning system is also largely based on available speed information in the map. Turkey associates itself with this EU law. This means vehicles sold in Turkey must also be equipped with Speed Assist. Since Turkey has some disputed areas with Cyprus and also Greece, such as islands in the Aegean Sea, there may be navigation challenges.

Law and national outlook vary from country to country. That’s why map developers must be familiar with current affairs and be prepared for potential changes. (Image source: unsplash.com/ tingeyinjurylawfirm)

view was shown as a priority. The Turkish view tended to be ignored and a separate Turkish map was offered instead. Now, however, manufacturers are challenged to bring map data together. A fully European map must also be offered in Turkey. Map manufacturers are faced with the obligation to map requirements for Cyprus or Greece, for example, in such a way that Turkish concerns are also taken into account. This is very complicated, especially for the Greek islands, because Turkey does not recognize Greek names for map objects. Either Turkish names must be used, which are not always available, or English names or Latinized letters. On the Greek islands, there is effectively hardly anything that can be done with a Turkish card. Speed limits are recognized, but active navigation or route calculation is not possible: These islands are de facto Greek, and anyone who wants to search for something specifically needs Greek names and letters. Automobile manufacturers often accept these limited navigation options to at least offer a compliant Turkey map (with speed limits).

Other countries such as Ireland, Scotland, or the Basque country, which use more than one language for city names and the like, must also be considered by map producers. However, disputed territories and other legislations are much more difficult to address because changes occur frequently. It is important to know exactly the international world view versus independent, local requirements and optimally find a solution that benefits the users. For example, if Gaelic names are present, broad language support helps to switch maps so that users can decide whether they prefer the Gaelic or English display. The user experience can be enhanced by multilingualism. The language catalog is part of the customer requirements that can be mapped in NDS.

Geopolitical Policy Board

In order to keep a constant eye on national peculiarities and smoldering conflicts, it is worth setting up a geopolitical policy board. Ideally, representatives of various corporate divisions and departments, such as legal, are represented here. Geopolitical conflicts, government affairs and current events can be brought to the table. At the same time, the company’s own positions, which are as neutral as possible, can be discussed. It is helpful to be responsive to different perspectives and opinions in order to find the best possible denominator. What is the most neutral possible addiction to disputed territories between China and India, the situation in North and South Korea? “In joint discussions, you can learn a lot about conflicts that have previously attracted little attention – there are disputed territories between Japan and South Korea, for example. Constant exchange and up-to-date information are incredibly important,” says Robert Krumpolt, product manager and NDS expert at HERE. A list of all current border disputes can be found online. However, not all situations are critical or relevant to map developers. “Still, it’s worth keeping your eyes open so that you can be quick and have technical options at your fingertips whenever needed,” Krumpolt says.

NDS offers transparent modularity and the option to store parts of the database in different update regions. If this option does not exist and crises cannot be encapsulated, maps in two forms are necessary. In addition, there are different building blocks in NDS. Of these, some are rather non-political or non-critical such as the routing building block, which contains the road network. The map display building block or the POI block as well as the search-specific building blocks may need to be adjusted. Here, developers can restrict and weigh which parts of the database should be changed to meet geopolitical requirements. In addition, NDS supports partial delivery of map data, so not everything needs to be on the device.

Flexibility with NDS

For a long time, map requirements in some countries such as Turkey only applied if the map data was delivered in the country, i.e. already pre-installed on vehicles. NDS offers the flexibility to load data from the server only on the customer side. This is convenient to avoid having to run through the entire process in case of doubt or difficult situations, when an online solution might be preferred anyway. With NDS, companies are more flexible and can better adapt to individual requirements. You can read more about how to overcome intercultural challenges in map development in the first part of this blog here.

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