The city houses National Remote Sensing Centre and is also home to several companies offer geographical information system services.
Hyderabad has the country’s largest hub of map engineers in India, making it the natural choice for Apple to set up its map development centre.
The National Remote Sensing Centre that processes maps and images transmitted by India’s earth observation satellites is based in the city.
Besides, several companies in the city offer geographical information system (GIS) services such as spatial analysis, mapping and visualisation, content imagery and remote sensing.
“The GIS and map initiative (in Hyderabad) is a well-thought decision by Apple because of the huge talent pool in the city,” says Srinivas Nanduri, partner, board and leadership practice, at the India office of Maxima Global Executive Search.
“The talent pool for mobile phone companies to develop their capabilities in GIS and mapping and the ecosystem to support this industry is fairly well established,” he adds.
Tech Mahindra provides services to the maps division of Microsoft, which it acquired from Nokia.
Tech Mahindra had acquired Navteq, which eventually was sold to Nokia, as a customer during its takeover of Satyam.
There is a significant amount of mapping done in Hyderabad that can be used by the mobile phone industry.
Companies in the city are working on 3D modelling, GIS, terrain visualisation and location intelligence.
There are at least 50 small enterprises in the city that support the GIS and mapping industry and with Apple coming in, there could be an influx of Indian professionals working abroad.
Digital mapping has taken off in India over the last three years, creating an abundance of talent.
A shortage of people with the required skills in the US could be another reason Apple chose India to set up its development centre for maps, said an Isro official who did not want to be named.
Google’s Map Maker tool was built in its development centre in India.
Nokia developed several technologies for its mapping division in India, before selling it to a consortium of German automobile makers.
Apple has set its sights on India as a market with smartphone sales in the US and China saturating. The company is looking at quality services to boost smartphone shipments in India.
While Hyderabad might have scored with the map development centre, Apple recognises the start-up revolution in Bengaluru.
It is setting up an app accelerator in Bengaluru to help developers build better apps for the iPad and iPhone.