News Column

Patent Issued for Advanced Map Information Delivery, Processing and Updating

June 3, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Technology -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Schunder, Mark (South Lyon, MI); DiMeo, David M. (Northville, MI); Scalf, Mark (Santa Clara, CA), filed on August 6, 2013, was published online on May 20, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8731823 is Ford Global Technologies, Inc. (Dearborn, MI).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Navigation systems are prevalent in many vehicles and on many nomadic devices, including, but not limited to, cellular phones, smartphones, personal data assistants (PDAs), etc. These systems, generally, will use global positioning system (GPS) coordinates to determine the present location of a user, and can also have a destination entered therein.

"Navigation systems are prevalent in many vehicles and on many nomadic devices, including, but not limited to, cellular phones, smartphones, personal data assistants (PDAs), etc. These systems, generally, will use global positioning system (GPS) coordinates to determine the present location of a user, and can also have a destination entered therein.

"The destination is typically, although not necessarily, entered in the form of an address, a location name, or a cross-roads. While original GPS systems were used by hikers and outdoorsmen, modern GPS are generally used to navigate from one location to a predetermined address or spot that usually corresponds with a map location.

"Accordingly, most modern GPS systems incorporate the usage of some form of map data in planning directions. That is, instead of making a bee-line route or just giving a heading for the user to follow, the systems incorporate map-data so that the route to be followed will generally be set along existing roadways. This is because of the prevalent usage in vehicles, the traveling of which is typically confined to accepted pre-defined roads.

"Of course, construction, road changes, new roads, demolition of roads, etc. is constantly ongoing throughout the world. Data that is days, weeks, months or even years old may simply no longer be accurate. A good example of this is found in Washington D.C., following the attacks of Sep. 11, 2001.

"As a result of increased security concern, roadways were closed down, made one-way, blocked by barricades, and an entire highway running near the Pentagon was moved to be further away from the Pentagon. Old map data pre-dating this event, however, would have shown all the old roads, and it would be easy for a user to become confused using this data, since the GPS would show them as driving in a field, or instruct them to go down a road that no longer exists.

"In a more general sense, new subdivisions are constantly being built, and all the roads created therein are not present on outdated maps. Thus a user moving into a new home may find that their entire subdivision is nothing more than a blank-spot on the GPS.

"Many companies that provide map information to users also provide an option to update map information. This information, however, could be very vast in its entirety, and not all that useful. For example, a user who generally travels in south-east Michigan may have little or no use for a map-update of the roads of Hawaii.

"Further compounding potential update issues are bandwidth concerns. The entire United States roadway system is an extremely complex network of highways, roads, streets, courts, etc. Adding to this complexity are varying speed limits, detours, stop signs, street lights, elevations, traffic patterns, etc. If all of this information were updated at this level of detail, the bandwidth requirement for useful transfer could be immense.

"Additionally, if several tens of millions of users were trying to update the data at the same time, this could further strain the servers serving this data.

"Finally, when new roads are created, there isn't a general 'clearing house' to which these roads are submitted, so there could be an instance where a road is created and the only way to discover the road is for an actual person to either travel to that location, or a satellite image to reflect the creation of the road."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "A first illustrative method of updating map tiles includes determining that a map data tile stored in a vehicle database is in need of updating and qualifying the permissibility of an update. The qualifying may be done based on, for example, without limitation, a subscription held by a user/driver.

"The illustrative method also includes, contingent on the qualifying, providing an updated version of the map data tile. Finally, the method includes repeating the steps of determining, qualifying and providing for at least all tiles included in a route within a predetermined proximity of a vehicle's current location along the route.

"In a second illustrative embodiment, a vehicle computing system apparatus includes update determination programmed logic circuitry operable to determine that a map data tile stored in a vehicle database is in need of updating. The apparatus further includes update qualification programmed logic circuitry operable to qualify the permissibility of an update and update provision programmed logic circuitry operable to, contingent on the qualifying, provide an updated version of the map data tile.

"In this illustrative embodiment, the update determination, update qualification and update provision programmed logic circuitry are operable to repeat the determining, qualifying and providing for at least all tiles included in a route within a predetermined proximity of a vehicle's current location along the route.

"In yet a third illustrative embodiment, a computer readable storage medium stores instructions executable by a server in communication with a vehicle computing system. The execution of the instructions causes the server to determine that a map data tile stored in a vehicle database is in need of updating. The server is also caused to qualify the permissibility of an update.

"Contingent on the permissibility, the server is caused to provide an updated version of the map data tile. Finally, the server is caused to repeat the process of determination, qualification and provision for at least all tiles included in a route within a predetermined proximity of a vehicle's current location along the route."

For additional information on this patent, see: Schunder, Mark; DiMeo, David M.; Scalf, Mark. Advanced Map Information Delivery, Processing and Updating. U.S. Patent Number 8731823, filed August 6, 2013, and published online on May 20, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=34&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1668&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140520.PD.&OS=ISD/20140520&RS=ISD/20140520

Keywords for this news article include: Ford Global Technologies Inc..

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Source: Journal of Technology


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