TeleAtlas to Acquire GDT

In the turn-by-turn routing business segment, most people think of Mapquest, Vicinity, Mapblast, Yahoo Maps, or any number of other providers of web-based maps data. But the reality is that, for the map data, all of these companies typically turn to just three players in the capital-intensive GIS (Geographic Information Systems) industry. Navteq, TeleAtlas, and GDT were essentially the only sources, with Navteq dominating the US market, but being challenged by European-bred Tele-Atlas. Now, in order to compete against Navteq, TeleAtlas has bought the smaller GDT. This purchase will broaden the coverage, increase the available data, and increase the accuracy of TeleAtlas map data. GDT was also stronger in non-road types of GIS used in industry. Despite the fact that there are now only two providers of turn-by-turn raw data, we still feel this is a highly competitive space, mostly because of TeleAtlas’ entry into the US market a few years back (when they purchased Etak). As the challenger, TeleAtlas is particularly aggressive in new markets like mobile devices, while NavTeq tends to want to protect the auto OEM market, where they command huge margins. The next time you look at a map online, have a look in the corner of the map for the “powered by” label to see who provided the data – these days it’s likely to be NavTeq, but we see their share declining over the medium term.

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