GPS Golf Guru Course Maps
Purpose of this Article
Our sales and support personnel are often asked questions like "Do you charge a subscription fee for access to your maps?" or "How do you map your courses?" The following is a brief discussion about:
- how we map courses,
- how we are able to provide them to our users free of charge,
- how we maintain them,
- our long term vision of how golf course mapping will evolve with the GPS industry in general
- and how our approach compares to that of our competition.
The Evolution of Mapping in the GPS Industry
Whether for golf or for other GPS applications, the most difficult and expensive thing for GPS companies to do over the long term is to keep their maps current. Leading edge GPS companies like TomTom and other have recently announced plans to use data collected by GPS units and cell phones on the road to gather data to help update maps in real time. Check out the this link for a discussion of the TomTom MapShare program. Golf Guru is years ahead of this curve, because we started out with this approach to maintaining the currency of our maps. From the outset, we started out with the objective of designing a GPS unit that was sensitive enough and accurate enough to allow users, affiliates and golf courses to immediately update our maps when the course changes. This accuracy and sensitivity has the benefit of providing the golfer with extremely accurate and consistent distances on the golf course.
Our map sharing and user modifiable map system gives every GPS Golf Guru User, Golf Superintendent, GPS Golf Guru Affiliate, and Golf Pro the ability to quickly and transparently update our course maps and then upload the corrections to our site for redistribution to the rest of the GPS Golf Guru Community.
Remember, you saw it in the GPS Golf Guru first, because this is the way all Golf GPS devices will have to work in the future.
GPS Golf Guru Approach to Course Maps
- Our maps are made freely available to our users (i.e. no subscription fees). We have no plans at this time to change this policy, but if we do, Golf Guru users that purchased a Guru prior to the change will still not have to pay a subscription fee for that Guru as long as they own it.
- Guru User's downloaded courses do not expire at the end of your annual subscription....because there is no annual subscription.
- We have approximately 13,300 maps in our maps database at the time of this writing.
- Our course mapping team creates maps from several sources of aerial imagery. They use proprietary tools to calibrate these maps to ensure that they are as accurate as possible. At this time, they are adding approximately 700 courses a month and updating and validating about 700 a month as change requests come in from courses and users.
- Any GPS Golf Guru user can download a course map from our database and then modify it to meet their needs.
- The GPS Golf Guru mapping software allows you to easily and quickly create a complete map including support for SmartGreen and all other features. We will continue to expand on the mapping functionality of the Guru based on requests from our customers.
- When users sync their Gurus, their user edited maps are uploaded to our website, our mapping team validates the changes and, if appropriate, publishes them to our public course map database.
- In the very near future, you will also be able to share your maps directly with your friends and associates on the GPS Golf Guru website directly, without the delay associated with our quality control system.
Our Competitor's Course Mapping Approach
Most of the GPS Golf competition do not have a SmartGreen function, or do not allow you to map the perimeter of the green, so SmartGreen like functionality is not available unless the course is mapped by the device provider. As a business model, we at GPS Golf Guru believe that this is bad for both the company and the user. As Phil75070 at GolfWRX.com points out, "courses make changes to the course layout all the time." As a user, when the course makes a change to a green or a hazard, do you want to wait for the company to send someone out to the course and update the map? We have reports from both users and courses that it can take months or even years for the provide to come back and fix the course layout, and no wonder...this has to be very expensive for the provider....probably why they charge you fifty dollars a year for a subscription to their course database. Note that courses you download from the competitors database will expire at the end of your subscription, that is, they will no long work so the device will become an expensive paperweight unless you continue to subscribe.
Some of our competitors do not charge for course maps, but to my knowledge, none have announced a comprehensive strategy and/or system for maintaining the quality their course databases over time. We believe that our competitors will be forced to address these problems eventually, but we have already addressed them and will continue to improve our product and our systems based on feedback from our customers.
GPS Golf Guru: Born to Map
The Guru was designed from the outset to be 1) easily extensible and 2) accurate enough to map courses completely. This is both a result of, and an enabler for our customer driven continuous improvement efforts. We listen to our customer, we deliver what we think our customers want, we repeat the process......while we may not hit it exactly with the first shot, we are committed to continue the process until we get it exactly right.
Once we provided the ability to create complete new maps and/or extend downloaded maps, our users wanted the ability to share these maps with other users. Hence the genesis of our MapShare program. We monitor new user maps posted to our website, validate those maps, and publish them to our map database. In the near future we will releasing web software that will allow users to easily share their maps with other users even before they go through our map validation process.
GPS Golf Guru Mapping Team
GPS Golf Guru has a Team of mappers (eleven at the time of this writing) working continuously adding to, updating, validating and improving our course map database. This Team uses proprietary tools that we have developed to calibrate and correct aerial imagery, gather course information and layouts, and to build accurate and complete course maps.