InsideJo: Jordan’s homegrown GPS car navigator debuts in January ‘09

InsideJo GPS Navigation for Jordan

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..
Rainbow Street on Insidejo GPS map
Here is Abdoun Circle..

Abdoun Circle on InsideJo GPS navigation map for Amman

And here is Al Ashrafiyah’s police station in Al Wihdat area..

InsideJo Wihdat map

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).

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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..

InsideJo's GNav GPS system

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.


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29 Responses to “InsideJo: Jordan’s homegrown GPS car navigator debuts in January ‘09”

  1. Hani Obaid Says:

    Finally, now the question is will they offer a free online version to provide directions from point A to B like those that have already been available for most major cities in the world more than a decade ago, or do I still have to spend 30 minutes giving directions to the pizza place every time I order. Technically the maps have to have the street numbers integrated. (fingers crossed)

  2. Hameed Says:

    Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  3. sa_ma Says:

    The hardware and software were both taken from OEM company , no new design were made,the only thing they have to “maybe” is localization of the language and the local map,
    I am not sure if they made the map themselves ,since that require quite some work and some specific mapping vehicles ,
    add to that , without proper addressing system I am not sure there will be useful way to use it

  4. Bashar Says:

    I don’t think this is the first one, I mean maybe first navigational system…but the maps are already there. I’m already aware of another site called thinkspots.com which is covering Amman with more that 33,000 locations. The maps are even much more user friendly on the later …and no I don’t work with them!!

    But I reckon GNav is more oriented on providing the actual GPS nav-systems rather than a web service.

    Good Stuff and good luck to them.

    I think its time for a navigational system in our cars though I will miss asking by passers about directions!

  5. GPS Reviews Works - InsideJo: Jordan’s homegrown GPS car navigator debuts in January … Says:

    [...] Continued here:  InsideJo: Jordan’s homegrown GPS car navigator debuts in January … [...]

  6. hafez dajani Says:

    i navigate through this site and i even create an account, its pretty amazing to find a jordanian GPS and i really like the site but i think its need a little enhacment

  7. Maha Amro Says:

    Genie-soft Way 2 gooooooooooo :) )))) weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee … :D

  8. Sara Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    This is Sara with InsideJo. On behalf of myself and the team, I would like to Thank You for your valuable input. It has been such a remarkable journey for us and it’s just the beginning.

    With regards to your concerns, being able to develop the complete solution (hardware+software) on our own allows us to have more control; giving us room to expand and update as Amman continues to grow.
    Also, please note that free navigational online maps will soon be added as well as adding building numbers to the maps.
    We also have plans to give people the ability to update the device map easily using an SD Card.

    Be on the lookout as we work to unveil future surprises!

    Best Regards,
    Sara
    insidejo.com

  9. The Informer Says:

    Why don’t they parlay that information to Google for Google maps. I’m not sure how much they’d be paid, but it’d be an excellent way to develop their company – partnering with Google Maps. They could take the cash to build an even better NAV system and with Goog as a partner, they could begin to develop the map interactivity – a major stumbler it sounds like – and bring forth user interactivity that could take it to another level.

  10. Shadi Says:

    Google take their maps from teleatlas, they don’t draw maps, and they have no interest at the current moment in the in amman-jordan, furthermore, Insidejo.com draw the maps without any help, i was part of it, i got upset when i saw the negativity in people talk, the disbelieve that a jordanian people can do something advanced, you can easily check genie-soft.com site, their backup software is one of top 5 in the world, they worked hard to do, and no one ever helped them here, they are OEM for LaCie, AOS in Japan, Zyxel, and many other around the world, all the work done inhouse, and using C++ Development language
    They always receive from people in US and Europe saying: woow, we didnt know jordan in technology game!
    InsideJo, did the whole maps, programmed every street, every intersection, left, right, one-way street, etc…, sadly without any governmental help, cuz they didnt believe we (Jordanians) can do anything, very sad, the whole thing was and still cuz they wanted to do something for Jordan, it’s a team work, and we were part of hardware designed, it’s so easy, I can easily explain it to you!, we should all be happy, support any real technology company, and before any way start saying bad things, google the internet, read more, have faith in your country and in your people, enough of the negativity

  11. Cell phone gps tracking | Garman GPS Says:

    [...] 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 … GPS Tracking System News [...]

  12. Nas Says:

    what i know of gps in jordan is that it is currently banned or at least put on hold by the GID (mukhabarat) for “security reasons” at least based on what a number of high-level people have told me thus far.

    i wonder if the emergence of such companies signifies a loophole or a change of heart?

  13. Humeid Says:

    Thanks all for your comments.

    Sara: thanks for your comment and I look forward to more new from you.

    Shadi: thanks for sharing some of the development experience. Yest I sensed some negativity in a couple of the comments. But don’t even worry about that. I think you guys did something great and I really hope to see the whole system in action. I am very interested in the fact that you guys drew the map yourselves. A comment above said you needed special vehicles for mapping. It would be great if someone from Genie-soft explained a bit more about how you did it.

    Nas: There are already thousands upon thousands of GPS enable cell phones in the country. Even without map, I can get a satellite view of where I am on my phone (N95) using Google Maps for mobile. People use Google Earth and Wikimapia all the time. Nokia will post its map of Amman soon and people will be able to download it. I don’t know the exact security implications but it seems to me that the technology is already out there.

  14. Hani Obaid Says:

    thanks sarah for answering my questions

  15. Hameed Says:

    Any idea how much it will cost?

  16. Zaid Says:

    great news, glad it’s finally here . The question I have : Is there an Arabic version or will it only be in English. Obviously an Arabic there will solve the (very serious) problem with name spellings, plus it would open the product to much wider Jordanian audience which could have amazing implication some services.

  17. Qais Shelbayeh Says:

    Am so glad to hear this news, where i wish if start implement this technology since 5 years ago, where am so sorry to said that it’s too late to announce that Navteq already hire since 8 months ago a GIS MAP drafter so they planning to cover the remain MENA region.

    Where you can find the map already developed by Info-graph jordan, they where located on Abdalli, i f you need any cntact there i can help.

    where my advise try to study the behaviour of nokia map, they had long trip of successful in this field.

    while am one of hose track nokia development tier.

    Good Luck c”,)
    Qais Shelbayeh

  18. nashwan habib Says:

    dear , i have new GPS GERMIN NUVI 770 , the problem i need to down load Jordan-Amman map if there is way to do it from where i can buy the Amman map software
    regards.

    nashwan habib

  19. Shadi Says:

    To answer some of your questions:

    Currently it won’t work with Germin Nuvi Devices, For example Tomtom maps wont work with Garmin, and our maps wont work with any other device

    The Cost is not yet determined, lots of factors here, like customs, government fees, etc…

    I know Navtel and Nokia made Maps for Amman, and it will be on all Nokia GPS Devices, but our target is different, the technology is owned by Navteq, but in insidejo, we have the technology to enable us to update the maps on the fly, in the future we can add TMC (Traffic Message Channel), add Building numbers, update new streets, new buildings, work with any one in Jordan to integrate this with their own work, like touristic areas, industrial areas, lots of ideas, lots of creativity here, add this system to public transportation, it can be done easily, the whole project is done cuz we love Amman, and we really want to improve the quality of life here, and it won’t be improved unless we own the technology and we have faith in our work

    We are currently working on insdiejo.com beta 2.0, which will make the maps looks like Google, add more control over the maps, enhance adding POI, add lots of new stuff

    Also a Version for navigation will be available for Windows CE Mobiles, Like PDA, HTC Mobiles etc..

    The Arabic version expected to be released in quarter three 2009 (Hopefully)

    Thank you all

  20. Qais Shelbayeh Says:

    Good Luck c”,)

  21. Hameed Says:

    “Also a Version for navigation will be available for Windows CE Mobiles, Like PDA, HTC Mobiles etc..”
    Make it an application for the iPhone and I will officially love you

  22. NK Says:

    I send my business partner to Jordan frequently with a small quadraband GPS tracking device that is supposed to work via T-mobile’s cell phone partners in Jordan. I am not able to track his movements on my computer; the data is not being transmitted from over there, despite the fact that T-mobile advises me that a cell phone tower there is “aware” of the GPS unit when it is turned on. Any theories as to whu it won’t work, or how to get it to work?

  23. Eszter Says:

    Will this map be extended to Aqaba as well? Right now I can not find streets of Aqaba on it.
    Thanks.

  24. Shadi Says:

    Yes, it will support aqaba

  25. orvvan Says:

    Hello

    Of course, after a long wait Thank God map has been done to Jordan this has been a dream for me, because twice in the knowledge of all areas of Jordan, Thank God, but after this map will be the task of easy movement in Jordan
    I have a question, but how?
    Any date will be Sdro map Tired of waiting I
    Can we installed on Nokia devices that support GPS
    Does will be available for Nokia devices or must purchase of a navigation map and then withdraw to the cellular services
    I hope no one can answer these questions because it is important for me
    Thank you ….

  26. Hameed Says:

    So January 2009 is almost over…anything yet?

  27. Baha Amro Says:

    Good job guys. Long live Jordan

  28. orvvan Says:

    Iajmall Win Win navigation map

    Has not been issued and the site said in a 1 / 2009

    Where to now, I hope to respond to one

    Thanks

  29. nabil tillawi Says:

    we are intersting in jordan map gps navigator system soft ware pls inform how to get this operation soft ware .
    thanks

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