Update: A spokesperson for Navteq has confirmed that the digital mapping division of Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has bought Reach Unlimited Corporation, owner of the crowdsourced traffic data app Trapster, for an undisclosed amount. This means that Navteq has also acquired the other two less well-known location-aware apps detailed in the post below. Reach is a small company: only four employees, all of whom will be joining Navteq. “This move gets Navteq [more] location-aware content and tools to collect that. Community-generated content is part of the overall pie,” she said. Read on for the original post with more detail below.
Nokia’s digital mapping division Navteq appears to be driving down Acquisition Trail. On the heels of its purchase of 3D road mapping specialists PixelActive, according to reports, the company has also bought Trapster, a crowdsourced traffic app.
The news, first reported by the car-industry site Autoblog, has not been confirmed by Navteq, Nokia or Trapster. And terms of the deal were not disclosed by the blog, although it did report that four other companies were also in a bidding war for the company.
In the Trapster app, users submit information about speed traps, enforcement cameras, and road hazards when they drive past them. Then other Trapster users get alerted with that information when they are in that area. “A high-tech version of flashing your headlights to alert drivers of potential road hazards,” is how the company describes itself.
The free app can be used on Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Nokia and Palm (NSDQ: PALM) devices, as well as Garmin and TomTom navigators.
If the acquisition report is true, it’s yet another example of investor interest in startups that focus on location-based, user-generated data, made most popular by companies like Foursquare and Gowalla, but also being pushed by mapping companies in particular.
It also underscores how Navteq and Nokia are trying to up their game against the likes of Google (NSDQ: GOOG) on the mobile mapping front: they are thinking about how to enhance content that can otherwise be accessed from a number of places, free of charge.
Trapster is developed by a company called Reach Unlimited Corporation, which does not get mentioned in the Autoblog report. Other apps from the company include JotYou, which lets a user set tasks/reminders that go off when you pass specified locations; and AwareSpot, which is designed to let “trusted sources” like the police, media outlets and friends and family to set up location-based text alerts.