Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

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wwloon
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Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

Postby wwloon » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:43 am

http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.a ... =lifefocus

Marvellous maps
By Michael Cheang

What started out as a hobby has resulted in the map that is held as the gold standard.

SEVEN years ago, Adil Othman and his Singaporean friend Allen Teoh set out to make their own GPS maps of Malaysia and Singapore compatible to the Garmin Mapping GPS unit, and uploaded them online for all to download and use.

Little did they know that their hobby would grow to include a community of almost 100,000 people, all of whom also contribute to the map that is now the de facto gold standard for GPS maps of Malaysia and Singapore.

Now called Malsingmaps, the maps have grown to cover not just Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, but also Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei as well, with an unmatched number of Points of Interest (POI).

The Singapore map is apparently so good that even the Land Transport Authority of Singapore relies on it to find out information about turn restrictions and other details of their own roads. And best of all, you can still download these maps for free on malsingmaps.com.

Considering how successful it is today, it is hard to believe that Adil started Malsingmaps as part of their hobby.

“Back then, people were not even aware that we had GPS in Malaysia. We started Malsingmaps as a hobby but the community began to grow after we were featured in StarTwo, and more users came in to contribute to the map,” he recalled. “By 2005-06, we were the leaders in Malaysian and Singaporean digital maps. And because we were giving it out for free, official mapping companies found it very difficult to get into the market.”

Malsingmaps eventually became so comprehensive that instead of trying to compete with them, GPS receiver manufacturer Garmin cut a deal with the site to provide the default maps for their GPS receivers in Malaysia and Singapore.

“At one point, we had even considered shutting down the site because we were afraid of being sued by one of the major GPS players. But to Garmin’s credit, they were willing to think out of the box and decided to work with us instead of against us,” said Adil.

The result of their deal – the new Garmin nüvi devices now come loaded with the latest Malsingmaps already installed as the default map for Malaysia and Singapore.

“We are the first bunch of hobbyists in the world to sign up with a major GPS manufacturer. After doing a market survey here, they realised that none of the buyers here wanted to use official maps, only Malsingmaps. So in the end, Garmin approached us last year to officially use our maps in their units,” said Adil, proudly showing off the Malsingmaps logo prominently displayed onscreen in the device.

GPS Foundry’s Kelvin Chua reckons that if not for Malsingmaps, the number of sales of GPS units in Malaysia or Singapore would have been virtually zero because the maps were not up-to-date. “Every dealer who sells GPS units would load Malsingmaps as the default content these days,” he said.

Points of interest

One of the key advantages Malsingmaps and MySgFreeMaps have over commercial mapmakers is the sheer number of POI in their maps – spanning thousands of interesting locations that range from leisure spots, food places and tourists attractions, to hospitals, police stations and petrol stations.

“An empty road is useless without POIs along it – they galvanise the map,” said Adil. “With Malsingmaps, we started out putting in our own POIs for the best wantan mee or nasi lemak in town. Then others would come to the site and add their personal favourite wantan mee or nasi lemak. As a result, we have an unmatched number of POIs in our maps – you can find almost anything you want!”

Malsingmaps was also light years ahead in terms of being up-to-date with the maps. They update their maps every other week, compared to commercial mapping companies which usually update the maps every six months to a year. This is thanks to the sheer number of people contributing to the map, each focusing on they own specific areas, and correcting errors on the way.

Adil gave an example of how current the maps are: “We take pride in the fact that when the Guthrie highway was officially opened, we already had people driving up the highway recording tracks the next day! Within two to three days, it was already in the map. We have also updated the map to include the (recently opened) Duke highway.”

Today, Malsingmaps has become so big that it has close to 100,000 members contributing to the maps and chatting on their online forum. And it’s not even the only kid on the block.

In fact, Malaysian and Singaporean GPS users are spoilt for choice, with not one but two comprehensive GPS map providers – Malsingmaps and MySgFreeMaps (MFM).

Community-minded

MFM founder Anthony Yong reckons that both maps have their own pros and cons, and that one should just try out both of them out. According to him, MSM has better coverage of Sabah and Sarawak, and more Singaporean POI. Nevertheless, he also reckons that MFM has better coverage of Peninsular Malaysia and better information regarding HDB flats in Singapore.

All the same, the biggest winners here are Malaysian GPS users, who not only have some of the best and most comprehensive GPS maps to upload into their devices, they can also get these maps for free.

While Malsingmaps’ successful model has been replicated around the world in countries like Argentina and Indonesia, Adil and his pals are not letting the success of the site get to their heads.

“Our motto has always been ‘built by the community for the community’,” he said. “We do this for our own pride and joy, and don’t make any money out of it. We started it as a hobby, and six to seven years down the road, we’re still keeping that spirit even though we have grown so much.”

■ To download the latest version of Malsingmaps, go to malsingmaps.com. For the MySgFreeMaps maps, go to malfreemaps.com.

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tuah
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Re: Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

Postby tuah » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:13 am

Count me in if there's a need to pool resources to track Sabah & Sarawak.

andoropoi
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Re: Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

Postby andoropoi » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:05 am

tuah wrote:Count me in if there's a need to pool resources to track Sabah & Sarawak.

Count me for Beaufort Cptunk Kuala Penyu and Membakut area....

Hulk
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Re: Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

Postby Hulk » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:49 pm

Yup..read all 4 pgs article in Sec 2 of Star. Interesting indeed.

Now hope to read something about coming GG in Ipoh. \:D/

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sharkteef
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Re: Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

Postby sharkteef » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:52 pm

tuah wrote:Count me in if there's a need to pool resources to track Sabah & Sarawak.



arrangements on the way.
Image

AW*
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Re: Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

Postby AW* » Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:56 pm

Is this a rehash article by The Star? I'm sure i've seen this article or at least certain paragraphs before, also in The Star.

it's definitely a case of "lembu punye susu, sapi dapat nama"

but we users know that MFM aka MyAseanFreeMaps ROCKS

:rox: :rox: :rox: :rox: :rox:

come to think of this, this article is definitely a rehash otherwise they'd call it MyAseanFreeMaps... !!!! :mrgreen:

but any news / publicity is good publicity, non? \:D/
" The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Mahatma Ghandi
" In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place." - Mahatma Ghandi


255W,1460, 2465 & 2465LM

AW*
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Re: Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

Postby AW* » Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:17 pm

i've been testing msm map against mfm since i bought my unit in march this year (how time flies). although msm has JV which is supposedly useful for navigating the vast, intricate and confusing networks of highways within klang valley and the rest of malaysia, msm in itself has nothing much to recommend other than JV because it is definitely not as accurate or as updated as MFM and definitely does't have that much POIs compared to MFM. Even the much vaunted JV is nothing to shout about as it is not complete and the choice of which JV is feature leaves much to be desired and from a driver's view-point msm's JVs are certainly not useful as driving within Klang Valley, i only came across a handful (literally).

Furthermore msm only updates like once every few months whereas mfm updates every week =D> and this high frequency of updates at MFM makes it easier to spot and revised errors or improve on the map.

i'd give mfm the thumbs up anytime (not because i'm biased), based on a user's point of view, it really gets thumbsup from me. just wish (still wishing) that mfm can find a way to incorporate or enable 'speak' street names in languages other than english. that would be more useful especially for those that can't visualise or think in "meters". :mrgreen:
" The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Mahatma Ghandi
" In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place." - Mahatma Ghandi


255W,1460, 2465 & 2465LM

truck
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Re: Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

Postby truck » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:02 pm

Thomas,

This article is not a rehash .... the previous one, Mad Over Maps in the Sunday Star, concentrated mainly on how maps are created by enthusiasts - people in both the MFM and MSM communities. This one goes way deeper into the workings of GPS as a whole.

Yes, there is always going to be some overlap. You cant write an article on GPS in Malaysia and not mention the maps, right? There is some repetition, but there are four other pages of new stuff to read.

FYI, Michael wrote the articles long before the one in Sunday Star appeared. His was stuck in the article stockpile for a few months. When he wrote it, it was still mysgfreemaps :-)

cheers!

BlackAltis
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Re: Another GPS article in The Star today 24-Aug

Postby BlackAltis » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:40 pm

The quotation below extracted from the article seems to have an error in the reporting!. Does MSM really update and release their maps fortnightly? The reporter should have reported that MFM trully updates and releases their maps weekly.


"Malsingmaps was also light years ahead in terms of being up-to-date with the maps. They update their maps every other week, compared to commercial mapping companies which usually update the maps every six months to a year. This is thanks to the sheer number of people contributing to the map, each focusing on they own specific areas, and correcting errors on the way."

:thumbsdown:


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