Electronic Interactive Map for Expo Launching in Over 10,000 Shanghai Taxis

Interactive navigation, multiple languages, voice function, one hundred landmarks

Oct 27, 2009, 08:30 ET from Touchmedia

BEIJING, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Click to find locations all over Shanghai and at the Expo. Zoom in and out. In Chinese or English. Then click a button and it will tell the driver for you, in Chinese, where to go. Touchmedia, China's world-leading in-taxi interactive media company, in partnership with the Shanghai Municipal Institute of Surveying & Mapping, has just unveiled an electronic map to make taxi passengers' lives easier.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091027/CNTU042 )

Creating the map to support the Expo and its theme of "Better City. Better Life." took more than 12 months of research and development and cost 1 million RMB. The Touchmedia interactive system has already been greeted by Expo officials as the, "Most welcomed source of interactive information" on the official Expo internet site. Now with the next phase of Expo support, the new multi-function map program will be launched in November in over 10,000 taxis in Shanghai. Phase 3, with a special map of the Expo area, will launch January 1st, to celebrate the start of Shanghai's Expo year.

Thomas Chan, head of Research and Development at Touchmedia, proudly explained, "This is ground breaking technology. I do not know of anyone who has combined interactive, display, zoom, photo and voice technology in this way before. And to do it on a mobile platform is truly unique."

Let the map "SAY" the destination for you

After touching the Map Icon button, a map of Shanghai appears on the screen. Passengers can easily navigate left, right, up and down, or zoom in and out. A display on the right side of the screen also lets them select from 7 categories of destination: tourist attractions, shopping areas, hotels, entertainment, restaurants, government offices, and major transportation. The map has nearly 100 important landmarks in total, many with photographs for even greater convenience.

Uniquely, it can also "talk" to the driver. On finding the location in English or Chinese, the passenger can press a button and the unit will immediately tell the driver in perfect Mandarin where to go.

"Shanghai will have more than 50 million out of town visitors for the Expo and more than 3 million will be foreigners," related Touchmedia CEO Mr. Micky Fung. "Unlike a mobile GPS it can actually talk to the driver. We hope this service will make their stay more convenient and enjoyable, not just whilst they visit the Expo, but wherever they travel, to restaurants, shopping and attractions all over the city."

Touchmedia aims to assist drivers, passengers, Expo and local businesses.

Taxis are a key part of many visitors' experiences of the city and industry sources believe taxi usage in the 6 months of the Expo will go up by more than 60 million passengers to over 600 million in total. The taxi companies, with government support, have been running a program to help drivers understand key phrases, and to improve courtesy and car cleanliness. "100 Expo conversations, as the training is called, is useful, but the drivers' nervousness still often leads to problems when they are trying to understand a real foreigner. Also the driver may know the 100 phrases but the foreigner doesn't and may say something completely different," said one of the leaders of a major taxi fleet in Shanghai. "The most attractive and practical advantage of this map is that we can now easily overcome problems simply by pointing to it. The combination of destination photos and voice over is perfect."

Jenny Zhao, the Vice President of Operations at Touchmedia, added said that she is now arranging some instant training for drivers to guide passengers to use the map system. Something as easy as being able to say, "Please touch the map," can make all the difference for both sides.

Even local passengers hail "ideal" service

Local passengers were just as pleased by the new service. Indeed, everyone interviewed thought it a great idea. As one passenger, Mr Li, related, "I was born in Shanghai, so I think I know it pretty well, but the city is growing so fast and changing so quickly that every now and then I need to go somewhere new. This is ideal. Such a good idea and free!"

Seal of approval of the Shanghai Map Bureau

The Shanghai Municipal Institute of Surveying & Mapping, one of the top ten production agencies for national geographic information in China, develops geographic information applications and helps the public with a convenient geographic service. As the sponsor and official inspection organization for the interactive map, they contributed greatly to the development and modification. With their assurance of the map's accuracy, the system has been authorized for use and passengers can be sure of its trustworthiness.

This thought was seconded by the senior spokesperson of the Shanghai Expo Bureau. "All visitors to the city will, I am sure, find this useful and we look forward to the second phase focused on the Expo site itself."

The overall aim was summed up by Mr. Fung. "We hope that people will say "Little map, big impact!"

About Touchmedia

Touchmedia was founded in 2003, by its CEO, Micky Fung, to develop state- of-the-art touchscreen media technology in China. It is the largest in-taxi interactive media company, delivering innovative digital media solutions for clients and the out-of-home advertising industry in China, at a time when reaching affluent consumers on traditional media is increasingly challenging.

About the Shanghai Municipal Institute of Surveying & Mapping

As a national first grade institution, the Shanghai Municipal Institute of Surveying & Mapping always concentrates on providing professional surveying and mapping services to the city construction that changes with each passing day.

    For more information, please contact:

     Tina Han
     Senior PR Manager
     Tel:   +86-21-5109-8699 x1277
     Email: tinahan@touchmedia.cn
     3/F, No.339 Yuyao Road
     Jing An District,
     Shanghai, China 200042

SOURCE Touchmedia