From stone tablets to atlases, cartographic innovations have long been an underappreciated mainstay in geopolitics and everyday life. Besides wayfinding, the use of maps underpinned World War II. Propaganda maps were used to influence popular opinion and mobilize troops. Instagrammers and TikTok-ers use them to get to the hottest restaurant. In their latest reincarnation, high-precision maps stand to change the future of navigation, logistics and spatial data-collection.
At the forefront is a little-known Japanese start-up - Dynamic Map Platform Co., or DMP. The firm, supported by government-backed funds, has multibillion dollar mandates to support next-generation industries, and counts large domestic conglomerates like Toyota Motor Corp. amongst its shareholders.