Jul 8, 2015 · 5 min read

HERE provides navigation quality street, traffic, and POI data worldwide using the ArcGIS Platform.

By Karen Richardson, Esri

HERE is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Esri Business Summit. You can meet the fine people of HERE at the Summit in San Diego this July 18–21, 2015.To learn more about the conference and register, visit

In-car navigation started in 1984 with a single BMW. Today, four out of five cars with in-vehicle navigation use HERE Map Content. Many personal navigation devices (PNDs) companies, like Garmin, use HERE, as do popular web navigation platforms Bing Maps and Yahoo, and of course Esri uses HERE Map Content across its entire ArcGIS Platform.

What does HERE use to create the world’s leading navigational map technology? Esri’s ArcGIS Platform.

Randy Pitura, Senior GIS Data Analyst using ArcGIS to update the HERE transportation network GIS database — Fargo HERE facilities.

The whole world in a geodatabase

HERE has built a legacy by capturing and maintaining its core asset — street information used to build navigation products, in which ArcGIS plays a critical role. In fact, HERE has more than 1200 geographic analysts worldwide using ArcGIS to create accurate, up-to-date mapping data for 196 countries.

This is no small feat — the software manages almost three million updates from 80,000 sources each day. With more than 2 million features and tens of thousands of attributes, HERE needed a solution to streamline the collection, maintenance and productizing of all its street information.

HERE is an Esri Platinum partner and, because of the long relationship with Esri, it made sense for HERE to continue using ArcGIS to build its products. HERE implemented a geodatabase to help manage the vast amount of data that is created and edited. This spatial data storage system can be leveraged in desktop, server and mobile environments while storing the data in a central location everyone can access.

Scaling to a global enterprise

HERE is organized around its map data products (i.e., postal and census boundaries, streets, administration boundaries and POIs among many) which are in turn divided by regions (i.e., North America, APAC). As products are closed, they are placed in the geodatabase. Once complete, a continental product that covers the entire globe is created.

“Creating this continental product wouldn’t have been possible without using a geodatabase,” said Kolstad. “It has made it easier and more intuitive to manage our data across so many platforms and applications.”

HERE collects up to 154 different feature classes for its street data to enhance routing. These maps are the most used in the GIS world for navigation and location intelligence. In fact, Esri uses HERE Map Content in many of its product including StreetMap Premium, Business Analyst, ArcGIS Data Appliance, ArcGIS for Transportation Analytics, and of course, in ArcGIS Online.

HERE is revolutionizing the way users visualize Street Level Imagery (SLI) data combined with ArcGIS Online HERE Map Content in a seamless environment that leverages your ArcGIS Online Organization Subscription.

Other specialized data products available through ArcGIS Online include HERE Traffic, providing continuous traffic updates through dynamic content feeds; HERE pedestrian content, which is used to generate pedestrian routes as well as pedestrian service areas; and in the near future, Street Level Imagery (SLI) the most realistic view of street locations and their surroundings will be provided as content for ArcGIS online in the Esri Marketplace, beginning Q2 2015.

An ELA makes data management manageable

HERE manages the massive number of software licenses it uses to create all this data with an Esri enterprise license agreement (ELA). An ELA provides HERE with ready and unlimited access to all the ArcGIS software that they need, as well as timely and expert assistance from Esri support.

“The ELA helps to ensure that our staff has access to the technology they need to do their work, when they need it,” said Kolstad. “We are able to centrally manage the software licenses and deployment all around the world, quickly.”

About a thousand licenses of the entire ArcGIS platform are used throughout the enterprise, including field collection. HERE worked closely with Esri to create a flexible ELA program to help manage, disseminate and maintain its own licenses at all of its offices.

All ELAs include maintenance and technical support for named authorized callers, new software releases, patches and updates; complimentary registration to the Esri UC, and free subscriptions to ArcNews and ArcUser. With the ELA, scheduled payments are exchanged for a prescribed set of software, services and training over the term of the agreement. Unlimited licenses of ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS for Desktop and the extensions are available whenever staff around the world need them.

While the licensing model for such a large quantity of licenses was attractive, it was imperative for HERE was the ability to disseminate licenses quickly to staff.

“Many times, we may find out that an analyst needs a license for a particular project the day before they actually need it,” said Kolstad. “By being able to deploy licenses ourselves, we can provide the software almost instantly. This has been a true business changer for us.”

Mapping the Future — both 3D and indoors

As the world moves into representing information in a more realistic format — HERE is at the cutting edge. HERE has been collecting detailed, 3D mapping information using LiDAR for years. A fleet of cars gather point cloud information on features along the roadway including the width of roads, distances between signs, and the heights of bridges. It will be available as street level information for the ArcGIS Platform and also be used to enhance the automotive industry’s advanced driver assistance system. Information that is collected about the street including slope, absolute height and curvature can be used by vehicle companies to optimize car engines, for example.

HERE Traffic Center Headquarters — Chicago, IL.

Navigation and location intelligence doesn’t stop with the vehicle. HERE researchers are working hard to provide a ‘connected driving experience’ for drivers to continue navigation even when they leave their cars. This means that HERE needs to map and understand the insides of public venues that people frequent every day so it can help consumers navigate indoor locations, enabling them to find the best entrance and make their experience easier and more efficient.

“We are solving the conundrum of that ‘last meter guidance’ that so many of us are faced with once we get to a public venue,” said Kolstad. “Now, we can provide in-vehicle venue and extended navigation that provides precise directions to a particular store in the mall.”

To date HERE has mapped over one billion square feet of indoor space in 27 countries. This includes 3,784 malls and stores, 134 airports, 822 universities and 125 stadiums in North America. Approximately 3,000 new venue maps and 15 countries are to be added by the end of 2014.


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Esri pursues mapping and spatial analysis with visionary products and services that define the science of GIS.

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