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Better understand the movement of people and vehicles with HERE Probe Data

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Hello developers! This week we are excited to dive into the world of HERE Probe Data. Why? As developers, we shape the digital world. Understanding the data not only helps us brainstorm new possibilities, but also explore the range of values and parameters available to us. HERE Probe Data provides anonymized probe data from millions of vehicles around the world in a standardized format. So, let’s check how the HERE Probe Data helps us gain insights into urban mobility patterns.  

What is HERE Probe Data?

Probe data or floating car data (FCD) involves using vehicles as ‘probes’ to gather traffic insights. These vehicles are equipped with GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) or GPS (Global Positioning System), and continuously transmit their precise location, speed, and direction data. The data is aggregated, anonymized, and packaged as lists of probe points in the Protobuf format. The data is available in two forms:  

Historical data extends as far back as 2 years, and real-time data, which is delivered as a stream through an API in HERE Marketplace. 

Probe data can be utilized for purposes such as analyzing and optimizing traffic signal timings, analyzing congestion, planning infrastructure, improving public safety, enhancing ADAS systems, and more.

How HERE Probe Data is anonymized 

Each probe has an associated anonymous trace ID (e.g., Yjzl97ExTAKLYuITvK3q4Q), that is shared with other probe traces. These help in identifying the vehicle path. However, we ensure that no Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is ever provided or derived from HERE Probe Data. We use several techniques to anonymize probe data, such as: 

  1. Removing the start and end of vehicle traces with a variable during on each end. This technique prevents tracing individuals to office or home locations, especially single-family homes. 

  2. Cutting long traces into segments with random durations and including a gap in between. 

  3. Removing data in sparsely populated areas. 

How to access the HERE Probe Data

Once you're part of a HERE platform organization, contact your HERE representative to create a custom HERE Probe Data catalog tailored to your needs. You'll then receive an email invitation with a link to access your catalog. Previously created or shared catalogs are available in the Data section of the HERE platform. In the Data section, you can search for your Catalog and access the probe data layer within it. 

What it looks like

A HERE Probe Data layer in a platform Catalog is in Protobuf format. Protobuf or Protocol buffers is a free and language-neutral data format used to serialize structured data. This can be converted into a csv for using it with GIS applications. 

The output data has the following parameters:  

  • Location as lat, long

  • Speed 

  • Heading 

  • GPS time stamp 

  • Device ID anonymized (traceid) 

What's next

We'll leave you to explore the HERE Probe Data, and be back with another blog post where we show how the protobuf probe data is downloaded using HERE platform CLI, converted to CSV format, and finally processed and visualized in ArcGIS Pro. 

If you want to learn more about HERE Probe Data and get an even deeper understanding of use cases and what other companies build with our data, join the webinar Harnessing location data for AI and machine learning on Sep 05 2023, 4:00am PDT. Click here for registration!



Mohini Todkari

Mohini Todkari

Sr. Developer Evangelist

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