I’ll bet you know that Google is reinventing mapping from the ground up, swinging for the stars with layers of data, intelligence, and real-time insight.

But I bet you didn’t know that there’s a US three-letter agency dedicated to maps . . . or that we’ve already identified 109 mapmakers and vendors of one kind or another . . . or that Snap Map has slipped into your kid’s world without you noticing (see graphic) . . . or that Uber, like Apple, is making its own maps so that it can control its own destiny.

Or maybe you do know these things and are part of what I’m calling the mapping industry.

I’ve decided to launch coverage of the mapping industry with research on:

  • The layers of mapping intelligence and key vendors in each layer.
  • The power struggle to own core mapping layers.
  • The economics that drive mapping investments.
  • The intelligent applications that turn location into value.
  • The impact of real-time location intelligence.
  • The risk of location regulation or a consumer revolt.
  • The rebel alliance building open source alternatives.

I’m hitchhiking down this mapless road to ask for your help. My hypothesis is that maps are power and that we all need to become aware of the power dynamics that shape our access to location information and services. Will you help me? My first task is to understand the important questions and players.

I’ll join my colleagues James McCormick, Jennifer Belissent, Emily Miller, and Mike Chirokas, who are also analyzing mapping vendors, to expand Forrester’s understanding of and ability to help clients with location services. James and Emily will be first out of the gate with a Forrester Wave™ on location intelligence platforms coming soon.

Snap Map Has Appeared On A Phone Near You
Source: “Schools issue Snapchat Map warning,” July 5, 2017 (https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-40509281)