Hot on the heels of Nokia’s announcement of a Amman GPS map (made exclusively on 360east) comes another, pretty amazing announcement.
Two Jordanian home-grow companies, GenieSoft and Reborn Industries have created a joint venture and launched InsideJo, a full GPS map and navigation system for Jordan.
The announcement was made using a full page ad in yesterday’s papers and I checked out their site as soon as I came home last evening. I can tell you that these people have done something quite remarkable. This homegrown team not only created and publicly launched a map that comprises Amman, Aqaba and the Kingdom’s national road network (complete with 8000 points of interest), they will also be selling a Jordanian-developed GPS hardware system.
If my understanding of this is correct, then this is the first consumer-oriented integrated software-hardware system that I have seen in the country.
Genie-Soft, started by a young entrepreneur, Muayyad Shehadeh in 2001, already made a global name for itself as a developer of PC backup solutions. One thing to note here is that Muayyad studied architecture
As for Reborn Industries, this is the first time I hear of them, but apparently they already have an impressive record in developing electronics for the industrial sector. They are a younger company, started 2005.
I took InsideJo’s website for a spin yesterday. As a beta product it is quite impressive. I tested the map:
Here is Rainbow Street..
Here is Abdoun Circle..
And here is Al Ashrafiyah’s police station in Al Wihdat area..
I was impressed with both the level of street name detail and the amount of information about points of interest on the map. This is a great start for a company that intends to have 30,000 points of interest on the map by next.
Presentation wise, this is not Google Maps quality. As you can see from the above screenshots, place names are overlapping, for example. I also had some problems interacting with the map. Double clicking an area does not make it bigger and you have to keep using the zoom in/zoom out slider.
But just forget about those glitches. The effort of finally getting Amman down on an electronic map, complete with restaurants, hospitals, banks, gas stations, government offices, etc, is simply a major milestone for Amman and Jordan.
This map is available for free on the net. It is searchable. It has the telephone numbers of the establishments it shows. Great stuff.
Better still, people can add their own businesses on the map. I successfully added SYNTAX on the map (it has not appeared in public yet).
Now, before you rush out to SmartBuy to get your hands on GNav, which InsideJo’s navigation hardware, just take it easy. It won’t be here till next month..
I am actually quite amazed that InsideJo decided to develop their own hardware. I don’t know enough about the global GPS navigation market, but I know that companies like Garmin and TomTom dominate. The most crucial thing for such a device is not just hardware reliability, but a seamless user experience. How easy and smooth will the interface be. We’ll have to wait till January to find out, unless of course the InsideJo people decide to give me a test unit to blog about.
Now, this effort will be pitted, head to head with Nokia’s effort. Nokia has acquired Navteq, a major mapping and navigation company for US$ 8 Billion in 2007. Which means that Nokia is now a global navigation company. They have big plans. Soon you will be able to point your mobile phone at any building and your phone will tell you what’s there!
Nokia’s Amman map is coming out soon. Their voice assisted navigation comes in Arabic and English. And this map will be available for free too, ready to be used on probably hundreds of thousands of Nokia Nseries, Eseries and other devices already in people’s pockets.
But I can’t but help admire the spirit and the product of these young Jordanian companies. Some years ago I blogged, saying “let’s GPS Amman ourselves.” A number of enthusiasts and even companies commented on that post expressing interest or promising projects and products.
Well, InsideJo have done it.
Read these related posts on 360east:
- Queen Rania mentions Ikbis, Toot and Akhtaboot as examples of homegrown web innovation
- Amman’s GPS map on Nokia should be released within weeks..
- Toot announces Top 10 bloggers for January 2006
- Skype Video For Macs debuts Today!
- Say Happy New 2010 on Amman’s 1st Cricle tomorrow
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