HERE Reality Lens ushers in a new era of mapping in the Philippines. Over the past year, six HERE field cars have mapped 50 per cent of the road network in 3D, covering a staggering 45,000km of roads.
The quest to provide the first comprehensive digital map of the Philippine road network has seen HERE partner with Geodata Systems Technologies as part of a two-year project that will eventually revolutionise infrastructure for the people of the Philippines.
HERE is creating a highly detailed three dimensional and 360-degree real-world view of the road network. To do so, we are capturing a vast amount of road and roadside data that includes everything from road width and length to road surface conditions, guardrails, street signs and traffic lights.
Comprehensive 3D mapping is vital to the successful rollout of a major infrastructure upgrade across the country, with the government looking to make travel safer, faster and more efficient for more than 100 million citizens across 7,000 islands.
It’s a much-needed upgrade. Manila has recently been voted the most congested city in the world, with roads and cities across the Philippines struggling to support the 20 per cent rise in vehicle ownership last year.
Mark Whitmore, a senior customer market development manager at HERE, explains:
“Traffic in the Philippines is an impediment to economic growth. The ability for people to travel and move goods around is under severe stress because of the infrastructure and the lack of systems at a centralised level to manage traffic.”
“A huge challenge at the moment is that when the sub-districts of the Philippines request funding for the development of new roads or improvements, they really don't have any centralised systems for understanding what the state of the roads are, or a reference for the investment.”
That’s where HERE Reality Lens – a HERE platform that enables governments and municipalities to see, map and measure the world from a computer – comes in. It provides the Philippine Road Board with the ability to identify discrepancies with older data and access to information it never had before.
With accurate information at its fingertips the Road Board can make smarter funding decisions, resulting in better maintained local roads, more infrastructure upgrades and less traffic congestion.
When planning future changes, transport authorities can use HERE Reality Lens to take measurements of height, width, length and areas. And with the street level images, they can create and edit GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data and 2D/3D special database content without leaving the office, proving both time and cost effective.
The project provides the latest digital tools to help meet the challenge of supporting sustained and inclusive economic growth, creating jobs and reducing poverty thanks to the maintenance and upgrading of local roads.
“When you have these countries with isolated regions disconnected from technology, the road network is a key economic enabler”, adds Mark. “This project is going to help make sure the investments are well targeted and focused towards improving that, which will have an enormously positive impact on the economic viability of a lot of areas, improving the liveability and lifestyle.”
“It’s a really important project that we’ve been privileged to be involved in.”
With comprehensive mapping painstakingly created from scratch, HERE Reality Lens is also ideally suited to an autonomous future. The highly detailed machine-readable 3D maps are the same foundation needed to help driverless cars navigate, and could help the Philippines be a world leader when it comes to infrastructure for autonomous vehicles.
Currently half way through the two-year project, HERE Reality Lens is ahead of schedule, with the balance of planned Philippines road network coverage on track to be mapped in detail before October 2017.
It’s a project that’s likely to have a big impact on the people of the Philippines, and we’ve already started to see just how mapping can help other countries when it comes to traffic and congestion.
It’s also the largest Reality Lens project that HERE has undertaken. Mark concludes: “It’s really pioneered a whole program of data collection, and has been a catalyst for the improvement of our products. It’s been an incredible achievement for the local team.”