Nokia buys Medio Systems to help draw “cognitive maps”

Since its separation from its handset business, Nokia(s nok) has gone on a personalization binge. Nokia’s now-core location-based services division, called Here, wants to create highly personalized maps that anticipate a user’s destinations and desires. To that end, Nokia is acquiring Seattle-based Medio Systems to help provide that context.

Medio started out as a mobile search engine in 2006, but it abandoned the idea as Google(s goog) came to dominate mobile as well as online search. Instead, it put its contextual search algorithms to work to create predictive analytics models. According to Here’s 360 blog, it’s the type of technology it can use to create maps that go beyond simple search and navigation and deliver “cognitive mapping” that understands the environment within a map and how the user wants to interact with it.

Nokia Here traffic analytics in action (Source: Nokia)

Nokia Here traffic analytics in action (Source: Nokia)

For instance, a cognitive mapping app could provide a cartographic answer to the question “What is London’s most fashionable neighborhood?” or “Where should I live in Chicago if I love green spaces?” according to Nokia.

Medio appears to be only part of the cognitive mapping toolkit Here is creating. Last month, Nokia acquired Desti, a kind of virtual travel agent that mines data from place descriptions and reviews. Desti then uses that data to generate more personalized and refined recommendations for sightseers and business travelers alike. With Medio, Nokia want to use its predictive engine to anticipate what users are searching for and where they are going based on their past activity and stated preferences.

As with Desti, Nokia didn’t reveal any financial details of the Medio transaction. The companies expect the deal close in July.