How much has mapping software changed your life?
The anecdotal impact is easy to assess. Look no further than the uproar Apple faced after it switched the iPhone’s default mapping program from Google Maps to its own much criticized service.
Or consider the glove compartment. Twenty years ago, that catch-all space under the dashboard was home to road maps, TripTiks and — probably — a magnifying glass. Today, you’re more likely to find a smartphone charger.
But when it comes to fixing an actual value — on the online mapping industry and on the service it provides — it gets much trickier.
Google, which has embarked on an almost zealous mission to map the whole world, said Wednesday that it’s trying to get a handle on how to gauge that value. The company commissioned two studies, one from Boston Consulting Group and one from the European firm Oxera, to look at the geo-services industry in the United States and worldwide.