Mapping & Navigation Platform deCarta Acquired by Uber

Independent LBS and mapping platform vendor deCarta has been acquired by ride-hailing service Uber, the acquiring part confirmed.

deCarta currently has 40 to 50 employees, its cloud-based technology includes map display, local search and turn-by-turn navigation.

Born in 1996 and based in San Jose, California, deCarta has powered over the years mapping systems of key companies, including Google – which in the early days of Google Maps used deCarta’s drill down server (DDS) technology. Other customers of deCarta include GM OnStar, Blackberry and Samsung, or application developers such as Motion-X and a number of fleet management systems.

After powering a number of mapping websites (early 2000), then mobile applications (TeleNav, TCS) in the late 2000, in the most recent years deCarta turned to the automotive market for growth, facing the strong competition of Google and more recently Apple in the mobile sector.

The problem faced by deCarta over the years was that their services were ultimately in-sourced by its customers when they reached a certain size.

In the case of Uber there is certainly the willingness to acquire this mapping technology and geospatial experience without reinventing the wheel. As the launch of Apple Maps a couple of years ago demonstrated, having a good map service is not as easy as it sounds.

With deCarta Uber will be able to cease to rely on Google and Apple map platform in its Android and iOS applications. Geo-location of drivers and passengers being at the center of its service this acquisition makes a lot of sense.

It will be interesting to see which map provider, i.e. TomTom, Here or even Openstreetmap is selected – deCarta has always been map agnostic even if in the recent years it worked more closely with TomTom, the Dutch company reselling their LBS platform to partners.

In addition to that the ambitions of Uber are clearly going beyond its current taxi service with humans at the wheel. As they are looking at the automated car, a strong geospatial know-how is certainly a good add-on to the technology mix.

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