Wow, check those margins!

Thanks all for a great response to my request for information about the national mappers around the world.  It means I’m well educated now!

It’s amazing just how big a gross margin there still is in mapping!  Wow!  Dig out the big global mappers annual reports and you’ll see what I mean.  One of them claims an 86% Gross Margin!  Last time I looked that’s pretty much profit before tax and that is huge!

But I definately get the impression that they should make hay while the sun shines.  Companies like AND (Netherlands) specifically target the dominant players and claim to offer a more open license to their rapidly growing data sets.  They may only have a turnover of $3M or so this year, but are effectively doing the same job as those with a turnover 100 times the size.  And they’re building fast.

Add this to the gradual phasing out of TeleAtlas data in Google’s USA offering and the Ordnance Survey small and mid-scale data sets becoming available free and you can see these margins won’t last for long.

The incumbent two (Navteq and TeleAtlas) are going to have to make some significant changes if they’re not going to be swept up in a tide of new entrants like AND and the increasingly capable nav companies that now occupy star positions in the highest earning mapping businesses in their domestic markets.

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