Yandex, a Russian Internet company that operates that largest search engine in Russia, has released a basic maps service for Europe and the U.S. The new maps services is powered by Navteq, a Chicago-based provider of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, and it can be viewed through maps.yandex.com. For now, no links to the Maps section from Yandex’s homepage is accessible. Yet Yandex says that the service is now up and running.
Basically, the new maps service offers city and country searches as well as route planning. More geographical features will be added soon, the company said. Yandex explains that its maps service is primarily for travelers from Russia and Turkey. The company’s key regions include Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. This means that the maps service in the aforementioned areas are more advanced with services such as traffic monitoring, address search, POI, local merchants, and street-level view.
Yandex is expected to release the documentation for its maps API via api.yandex.com in the coming months so that developers can start playing with it. “We think map service will be useful for Europeans and Americans as well, but we are thinking about translating it [from the Navteq default of English] into Turkish/Russian when we have geo-services,” a Yandex spokesman said.