Nokia is bringing its mapping data to Oracle software via a link between Oracle Fusion Middleware MapViewer and the Nokia Location Platform (NLP). At least in theory, that will give Oracle’s business customers the ability to coordinate operations over a shared, in-depth set of mapping data.
Oracle Fusion Middleware MapViewer is a toolkit that lets developers integrate maps and spatial analysis into enterprise applications. It’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that runs within an Oracle Container for J2EE (OC4J) instance (or another J2EE container). Other features include cartographic rendering thanks to the SDOVIS core rendering engine, a variety of APIs that give developer access to MapView features, and a graphical Map Builder tool.
Previously, the platform included Oracle Maps, which boasted a map cache and FOI (feature of interest) servers, the latter of which streamed live data for interactive map features. Oracle Maps offered developers customization and querying capabilities.
Nokia’s mapping data encompasses some 200 countries’ worth of roads and landmarks. That alone would be good reason for Oracle to make the deal. For Nokia, which has been struggling to reinvigorate its phone business in the face of strong competition from Google Android and Apple iPhone, an alliance with Oracle could give it a toehold with enterprise users, who have demonstrated an increased appetite for all kinds of data as a way to make businesses more efficient and profitable.
“NLP is an advanced location platform with a unique global footprint based on industry-leading technology and more than 30 years expertise in mapping,” Roy Kolstad, Vice President of Enterprise Americas, Location & Commerce for Nokia, wrote in an Oct. 1 statement. “It will help businesses save time, money and resources while allowing them to gain a geographic perspective on their business, enabling better decisions.”
The announcement also comes at a time when Apple and Google, who titans of the industry, are very publicly struggling over mapping technology. With the newly available iOS 6, Apple stripped out Google Maps in favor of its own proprietary Maps app; however, that app’s widely-reported inaccuracies and lack of landmarks sparked a good deal of user ire, leading Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a very public apology. Google is apparently working on a Google Maps app for Apple’s App Store, but reports indicate that software is months away from release.
It’s questionable whether that upheaval will give Nokia the opportunity to make further inroads with more IT vendors in need of mapping software. At the very least, though, the Oracle deal demonstrates how all sorts of data platforms—and the companies that provide them—are of increasing interest to business users.