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Alumni win prize for wireless mapping software

Tierravision

While MapQuest, Yahoo and Google offer online maps for free, one group of UCSD alumni say they have created advanced wireless software that they believe is worth paying for. Their company, Tierravision Inc. won the grand prize at the 2006 NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge out of 141 entrants, for their wireless mobile enterprise mapping solution, 'Locator for Salesforce.com'.

La Jolla-based Tierravision was started in 2000 by Alfred Wallner (B.S. '97 computer science) and electrical engineers Chuck Eggers (M.S. '99) and Will Cooper (Ph.D. '04), who met while pursuing their graduate studies at UCSD.

Tierravision's Locator software is already offered as an add-on to Salesforce.com's new wireless CRM solution called 'AppExchange Mobile'.
Tierravision's Locator software is already offered as an add-on to Salesforce.com's new wireless CRM solution called 'AppExchange Mobile'.

"Most free mapping services utilize large raster map image files which are downloaded to your mobile phone. Each image is on the order of 20-30 kilobytes, and there is a new image required for every zoom level, so it takes up a lot of memory. That's OK for a laptop with gigabytes of storage and a high speed data connection, but it doesn't work as well for mobile phones with limited storage and slower or intermittent wireless connections," says Cooper, who has nearly 20 years experience in the telecom industry. "Our patented technology processes raw street map data into very small vector map segments of about 4 kilobytes, which can then be downloaded, stored and displayed very quickly on a wireless mobile device."

And those almost instant downloads is what could make the company's wireless mapping application attractive to salespeople and business professionals on the road who carry important client contact data on their Blackberry, Palm, or Windows Mobile handhelds.

"Our Locator product integrates with existing customer relations management (CRM) solutions such as Salesforce.com. So a sales rep in the field could quickly and conveniently map out where all his customers or prospects are in relation to each other, as well as get driving directions, and map nearby businesses such as the closest Starbucks or Kinkos," says Cooper.

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