PTV Maps & Content – more than 20 years experience in digital maps

PTV Maps are the basis for all geographical applications, services and products provided by PTV. The area of application goes far beyond simple display of digital maps. Highly detailed and constantly updated map data is essential to find the correct location, to calculate exact distances and to evaluate efficient routings.

PTV Maps are prepared for all geographical PTV xServers.  The map data is used for all kinds of applications ranging from Internet routing services to geomanagement. PTV as the world leader for traffic and transportation software focuses also on adjustments of the PTV Maps for the specific logistic use case requirements.

PTV Maps are based on geographical data from world leading suppliers. The basic data includes useful additional information and house number exact data for individual sites if available and implemented. Data from different sources is adapted at PTV to cover certain areas optimally. As a result, PTV delivers consistent, highly detailed maps with continuous routing for all countries.

PTV Scalable Architecture – the intelligent way to manage, deploy and update geographic data

The basis for PTV Maps and its scalable map architecture is the PTV exchange format AGF (Advanced Geographic Format). It is optimized for all geographic software components at PTV and their specific requirements. The data from different suppliers can be converted in an elaborate editing process into this format. The data is cleansed, matched and harmonized. As a result the data is reduced in some cases by 50% of the source data. At the same time numerous attributes (speed limits, turn descriptions, etc.) are reduced to a reasonable number. This editing process dramatically improves the performance of the software containing the map data.

With PTV Scalable Map Architecture, the geographic information is arranged in easily manageable Integration Units (IUs). IUs are usually defined by a country with an ISO code, but also (if appropriate) by smaller administrative areas like the states in the USA. Each IU contains different layers of information like

  • Routing data, Rendering data, Geocoding data, Points of Interest, Traffic Information, Truck Attributes, Traffic Patterns, Other geographical information

Customizable for specific requirements

For specific projects and applications, PTV Maps can be individually adjusted in terms of geographical coverage, detail level or content. Basic data from different providers can be optimally edited to meet the individual project requirements. Geographical extension can be individually composed at country level. For Europe, PTV offers the following detail levels:

Detailed Level: full map coverage and functionality according to PTVs current state of technology and coverage status by the data supplier

Extracted Level: thinned out street network (less important streets are omitted), full town coverage and search functionality, street and house number search are not possible

Transit Level: only major road network, reduced town coverage, street and house number search are not possible, town search is only possible for included towns

PTV Generic and Premium Maps aligned to customer requirements

Within the standard Map Process, PTV prepares two different traits of Maps. The first one is based on data of the data providers as it is. This means such Maps are quality checked by PTV however do not provide further enhancements and no extra content.

PTV Premium Maps including enhancements, corrections and extra data gathered and prepared by PTV like

► Environmental Zones,  Additional ferry lines,  Additional road segments,  Additional locations,  Under construction Segments

Furthermore, additional content are prepared and available for Premium Maps by standard as follows

► Toll,  Truck Attributes,  Traffic Patterns,  Traffic Information

Many of PTV customers are acting worldwide. Also their specific needs can be settled with PTV Maps prepared especially for them. If a requested geography is not available from the standard PTV Map providers, PTVs subsidiary DDS researches worldwide for suitable maps.

PTV Map solutions

Raster Maps

A raster map is the conventional tool used for map display in online applications. Its architecture and application are simple. The user receives a kind of „slide show“: For each user request, the server generates a new image that is supplied to the user through a Web application. Only gradual zooming or panning is possible. The application is not interactive, but „static“.

The architecture is based on a simple Web application. The latter responds to the user´s request for a map display by accessing the backend functionality map rendering. It then receives a „complete“ map image as a raster graphic (jpg, bmp, png or similar). For PTV solutions the backend functionality is provided by the PTV xMap Server. Intelligent interaction mechanisms allow you to use basic functions as (gradual) zooming and panning and drawing elements (points, lines, areas or POI icons) into the map.

PTV xServer add-on AJAX Maps

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) stands for an asynchronous data transfer between server and browser. To answer user requests not the complete page, but only the relevant parts of a page must be loaded. This reduces the Web Server load and the data quantity transferred. Users profit from much quicker response times to their entries, so that the impression is created that the application is actually running on their computer. AJAX is a central technical basis for WEB 2.0. Web 2.0 stands for the next Internet generation with more user interaction. AJAX maps, in a larger sense, can be seen as a further development of raster maps. A major difference is that the map is not supplied by the backend server in form of a raster graphic. Instead, several, small raster tiles are provided. These raster tiles are put together again on the Web application level to obtain a complete image. The user experiences AJAX maps as much more interactive and „faster“ than conventional raster maps.

For “putting together” the raster tiles and displaying POIs, traffic information, routings and satellite images, PTV provides the AJAX maps servlet  that cooperates with the PTV xMap Server. Moreover, there are several well- devised (asynchronous) interaction mechanisms included in the cooperation between PTV xMap Server and PTV xServer add-on AJAX Maps that allow a quicker user action (e.g. via the automatic proactive loading of additional tiles at the border of the visible map section for fast panning, as a possible map sequence interaction).

For AJAX maps servlet, too, the fundamental functions for drawing and selecting elements have been implemented. On the user-side, JavaScript should be enabled on the Web browser to allow full functionality.

Visit PTV DevelopersZone for more information. As registered customer you have access to the PTV MapDatabase.

Please contact your sales representative for further information on coverage and specifications of PTV Generic, Premium and Project Maps.

By Martina Beck

Martina Beck has been working for PTV since 2000. As certified computer scientist she was originally responsible for providing customers with technical support and she later moved on to the Product Management division. Since 2011 she has been working for PTV as an online marketing manager in international marketing with an emphasis on social media (et al. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube). The PTV Developer Blog is the PTV Developer Components' lead channel. The posts on important topics and trends originate from close cooperation with developers, the product management and other experts.