MapMyIndia Vs Google Maps: How Indian Homegrown Company Is Challenging The Dominance Of Global Giant


New Delhi: Arch-rival of Google Maps, MapMyIndia clocked ₹282 crore revenue in FY23, including ₹108 crore profit after tax (PAT) and an EBITDA margin of 41.9 per cent. This 28-year-old Indian company is the go-to vendor for the digital mapping needs of corporate biggies like McDonald’s, Apple, and Amazon, among others.

Its consumer app Mappls has 3 million downloads on Android and iOS, and its application programming interfaces (APIs) are used by popular platforms such as PhonePe, Paytm, and Cowin — extending MapMyIndia’s reach to nearly 300 million mobile phones.

Let’s delve deeper to find how homegrown MapMyIndia is challenging the dominance of Google Maps in satellite and mapping service. 

The Beginning Of MapMyIndia

Quitting their cushy jobs in the US, Rakesh and Rashmi Verma were passionate to start something in their home country. After coming back to India, they realised that the geographical maps repository of India had not been updated since the Colonial times, in 1931. Realising a solid opportunity and need, they approached the government for data. When the approach did not work, due to bureaucratic inconsistencies in the process, the Vermas zeroed in on a pain point and a unique business opportunity.

They were determined to do something for the country and thus, decided to make it their life’s work to build a first-of-its-kind digital map database of India — an asset for the country. It was a herculean task, because of India’s vast and varied geographical and topographical diversities.

Building The Data Base Using ‘Top Down And Bottom Up’ Approach

Realising this, they took a very practical approach. They decided to build the database: Top Down and Bottoms Up. Top down: whatever paper maps were available, they traced them digitally using tablets and other IT and electronic devices. This allowed them to zoom in and out on various attributes of data. Bottoms up meant actually going and surveying different parts of the country.

The duo put together a team, who practically walked down the streets and bylanes of the country and conducted physical field surveys. 25 years of research, a team of more than 400 surveyors, post-physical and satellite surveys and the company now has a repository of more than 2 Cr data points, including 3D data visualisations, telematics, and navigation systems under its belt. All this via a customer-funded business model.

Hard Work Pays Off As Big Giants Join The Enterprise

Their journey began with Coca Cola coming onboard as an enterprise customer. Later on, they counted players like Marico, Hindustan Unilever, and the Indian Defence services as their eneterprise customers. The number of enterprise customers for MapmyIndia grew to 500 by the early 2000s.

How Does Map Data Collection Work 

MapmyIndia has done something very similar by sending 400+ surveyors in the field. Over the last 25 years, where they went and collected hundreds of attributes about every location. The collected attributes include building footprints, doorsteps, floor number, flat number, photographs, types of buildings etc, among other things. It is via this information, that the company has created a data repository, a digital map of the country of inter-connected information with all those geographical markers and coordinates. It has also entered into more than 100 strategic partnerships with tech and marketing companies, to facilitate the process of data collation faster.

India’s First Interactive Mapping Portal In 2004 Becomes India’s First Interactive Mapping Portal 1998 saw satellite imagery becoming available in the country. This led to a lot of productivity enhancement for the company. Collecting data became way easier and the entire process was accelerated heaps. That’s what enabled the company to launch MapMyIndia’s website in 2004 — claimed to be the first interactive mapping portal of India. Within months, as reported by the company, it was getting 5,000–6,000 unique visitors a day.

Next Generation Takes The Rein In Hands

The year also marked the entry of the prodigal son, Rohan Verma, a Stanford engineering graduate and presently the CTO of MapMyIndia. He built the portal where anybody could access these maps for free. After three years, the company launched a pan-India GPS navigation device in 2007, called MapMyIndia navigator. This was different from the web portal, because now users had a device in their cars that they could just follow to reach their desired destination. It offered turn-by-turn assistance in real-time, to the destination.

This move led the company to capture a vast amount of the automotive market share. Car companies started offering the company’s GPS device as an add-on, an additional accessory. They started offering a touch screen navigation system built into the car. Marquee customers like Ford, General Motors, Mahindra, and BMWwere some of the first few major customers for this touch screen navigation system launched by the company. The car companies licensed the navigation applications from MapmyIndia for an undisclosed fee. Companies like MagicBricks, MakeMyTrip, Hyundai, and Honda joined the list of MapMyIndia’s customers for their navigation

Google Comes In the Game

In 2006, Google became popular in India. And, hence, MapMyIndia came face to face with their biggest competitor: the global tech giant Google.

Google Maps is an app that allows users to visualise data, on the other hand, the data provided by MapMyIndia allows users to analyse the geo-demographic data. Furthermore, the latter also claims to offer customised and deliver bespoke solutions. For eg, for someone looking to open a restaurant, MapmyIndia will tell them about the population density, the expected monetary capabilities of people residing in the nearby areas, a 3D visualisation of roads, and parking spaces, among other things.

13 Years Later

Freemium APIs, IoT Device, A Map App & More The company at the moment has divulged into an entire gamut of services. It has a complete MapMyIndia API stack. It aids developers who are looking to build interesting apps powered by a geo-locational element, so the stack is employed there — for example, companies like OLX, Flipkart, Maps for blind and handicapped, smart parking systems. It offers navigation functionality, tracking and telematics, and location-based analytics.

The company is currently functioning in various verticals. Some of the latest initiatives it has divulged include: CBDT — It enables in the expansion of India’s taxpayer base by mapping out transactions on a digital map, and hence gives a more accurate assessment of income using the location component. The locational element here is linked to a PAN card, that helps identify where they (the taxpayers) are located.

MapmyIndia is further powering the SBI Finder App. The app helps locate ATMs, cash PoS, cash petrol pump, nearest branch etc.Amazon Prime to name a few ecommerce clients. Furthermore, it also offers dependable people-tracking and vehicle tracking solutions. For e.g., MapmyIndia Safemate is a small-sized IoT device with an extended battery life that can be used as a personal safety device for women and children.


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