A Dialog with Jay Clark, Tele Atlas

By Hal Reid

Tele Atlas Dialog Tele Atlas LogoOn October 19th, 2005 Location Intelligence Magazine had a dialog with Jay Clark, Director of Content Management "" Americas, Tele Atlasâ„¢ about data quality and methodology.

These are excerpts from that dialog.

Awesome Facts about Tele Atlas

  The Tele Atlas database contains 100 million objects
  Each object can have as many as 300 attributes and three confidences classes for each attribute
  They maintain a confidence level for the entire of interstate systems of the U.S.and Canada of
  99% confidence within 6 months (currency of data).
  For all the other objects, there is a 95% confidence within 6 months(currency of data).


LI: As the premier supplier of street centerline files and a pioneer in the way street centerline data is captured, what are some of the persistent problems in maintaining data quality?

JC: The most difficult problem is to be everywhere all the time.We manage thousand of relationships with municipalities, other local governments and the various Federal and State highway infrastructures to keep our data current, which is the management of change.Some of these changes are new roads like in North Las Vegas, where streets are being built almost daily and we try to capture that while it is happening, even before it is happening.There are other changes that you can't predict that are natural disaster based, for example, the earthquakes in Oakland, California and the resultant change in roads and highways.

Address ImageLI: Address ranges are key to address matching, do you capture hard addresses or do you narrow the ranges so the average between range extents are minimized?

JC: We actually do both, hard addresses and ranges.This accuracy of capture and the ability to route against the data is especially demanding for in-vehicle navigation.

LI: Because street names seem to either change as the street goes on or have an alternative name - e.g.Main Street & Highway 1, how difficult is it maintaining the extents of the aliases?

JC: We keep all valid alternative names; usually these come from external sources "" municipalities, public parcel maps.Typically, we have up to 5 alternatives (aliases) and one primary name.

Maintaining the aliases is not a matter of difficulty; it is a matter of standards and built-in quality control algorithms.

LI: There is a perception that when you buy Tele Atlas
that you have bought the top of the line, do you have a product hierarchy?

JC: Generally, Tele Atlas creates a set of products relative to the need.For example, there is a basic or display product for just producing pretty maps, it has limited attributes and no address ranges at all.Then there is the general GIS framework product "" Dynamap® which supports find and has attributes and it supports segment level and address point find.

We also have MultNet® which supports voice and is designed for in-vehicle navigation.

In the pipeline is DynaMap Logistics® which is for the trucking industry and includes things like height and weight restriction by state.This is due for release in January 2006.

So the spectrum of products is for display, find and locate and then guide.

LI Comment

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Tele Atlas
, is that maintenance of massive amounts of data is a given.That is, it goes on every day, and data quality is what makes them a premier supplier.Tele Atlas seems to have mastered ability to embrace dynamics, change and challenge and provide a quality product that is truely global in scope.

Published Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

Written by Hal Reid

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