I just read that Malsingmaps (MSM) has released their new March 2009 version of the map in Mapking format, although it’s only covering Singapore and East Malaysia (including Brunei) only, and doesn’t include West Malaysia as yet. While it’s a good news for Mapking users in Singapore and Malaysia, I find it a bit strange, since normally they will release their maps in the original Garmin format first, before converting them to Mapking format.
Not too sure why they haven’t released the Garmin format of the new version of their maps. I understand that MSM has been approached by Garmin to supply the Garmin official maps for Malaysia and Singapore (and Brunei as well, I presume). This means that there’s a possibility that the next official Garmin maps for the region will be Garmin-compiled MSM maps, instead of the not-so-good City Navigator Singapore/Malaysia NT maps.
Does it mean that we will have to pay to use the new version of Garmin-compiled MSM maps? I’m not too sure, since there’s no official announcement from MSM on this matter, yet. However, I understand that at least one GPS vendor in Singapore has advertised the new nuvi 255W which is pre-installed with Garmin City Navigator Singapore/Malaysia *and* Garmin-compiled Malsing maps, which I presume is referring to the Garmin-compiled version of MSM maps. The hint is that the new maps will be released during the IT Show event in Suntec City, Singapore, this coming weekend.
One of the advantages of using the official Garmin compiler instead of using the normal cGPSmapper compiler is the ability to provide some new features supported by newer Garmin GPS devices, such as lane assistance and 3D junction view, although unfortunately my Garmin Mobile XT, which runs on my Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 mobile phone, does not support that yet. That would bring MSM map one step ahead of its competitors, I agree, but since it will become a Garmin official map, are we still able to use it for free? What would happen to all the contributors who have contributed in building the maps?
Let’s wait for the “official announcement” to come from MSM admins. In the meantime, I’m very much impressed with the progress of the Singapore map built by Malfreemaps (also known as MySgFreeMaps or MFM), and have been using this map, together with MSM’s map, for my navigation in Singapore. The MFM version of Singapore map has much nicer polygons for HDB blocks and some other types of buildings as well, which is much better than MSM’s Singapore map and is comparable to Jerome’s donor version of the Singapore map. I am just hoping that MFM’s copyright issue with Jerome, who is the MSM’s mapper for Singapore, can be settled soon so that it won’t affect the good progress of building the best GPS map in Singapore.