Following up on an earlier post about Rambler Maps I reached out to Dmitry Krasulya, a product manager at Rambler, to get more info on the geo side of the company.
First, a bit of history.
Rambler maps were launched back in 2001 under the name “On The Map” (наКарте) and covered only Moscow, although a low-detail map was available of the entire world. The data was supplied by Geocenter-Consulting, the same company who supplied data to Yandex and Google Maps during that time. Then, in 2006, in partnership with Probkovorot, a real-time traffic data supplier, Rambler offered traffic information for Moscow as well as expanded its coverage to six major Russian cities like St. Petersburg, Voronezh etc. Then, nothing happened…
According to Dmitry the entire project was frozen until 2010 when it was relaunched as Rambler Maps. The latest version was launched in partnership with Pro-Gorod (part of the CdCom group), who is a development partner as well as the geo data supplier.
The company considered a partnership with Google, Yandex and the like on the geo front, but opted to build their own solution due to the data coverage limitations and legal restrictions, which is the case with proprietary mobile solutions. As I noted in this post, Rambler is getting involved with OpenStreetMap and has donated several servers to mirror OSM map requests. Dmitry hinted that a “closer partnership” between Rambler and the OpenStreetMap is possible but would not disclose any details. I bet they are trying to do something similar to MapQuest and Microsoft.
Today, Rambler Maps works exclusively in Russia but plans to expand into Eastern Europe. In Russia, Rambler Maps covers 90K populated areas, out of which 707 are mapped down to the building level. In addition, the geo database also contains 900K kilometers of road and 250K POIs (which the company collects on their own). The monthly audience of Rambler Maps is 385,500 (source TNS – January 2010), which is not as impressive as Yandex’s 9 million, but still a substantial amount, especially considering that the platform just launched. Additional traffic data can be viewed here.
The company is hard at work on expanding the geo-offering and building new solutions, but they have a long way to go. The four years Rambler Maps was in hibernation put it way behind the competition. I doubt that the company will end up competing head-to-head with 2GIS, Google and Yandex Geo but will likely focus on market-specific vertical solutions to augment its media business.
That being said, there is one area where Rambler can take the lead – the adoption of OpenStreetMap. It will be exciting to see Rambler be the first RUNET company to adopt OSM on a massive scale and push “open” just like MapQuest is doing in the States.
To wrap up, since my first post was about the use of Flash in Rambler Maps, I asked Dmitry to comment on the use of Flash on their website:
IMO, good response.