Media release

AVIN at Communitech launches OpenHDMaps

High-definition mapping platform to support autonomous vehicle operation on Ontario’s roads

KITCHENER, ONT., October 28, 2020 — Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) at Communitech today announces access to the OpenHDMaps platform. Through this platform, participants will gain access to a wealth of high-definition (HD) mapping data that will support their research, development and commercialization as it relates to connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) operations on public roads.

To navigate safely and efficiently on roadways, autonomous vehicles need highly accurate mapping data such as lane markings, road signs, pedestrian pathways, construction variations and more. Using a co-operative model, OpenHDMaps will host disparate data sets from participating organizations and build an ecosystem that supports innovation around CAV applications, smart cities, logistics, utilities, infrastructure and media. This data will be used by many small and medium-sized businesses across the province; currently, more than 40 businesses are engaged with the AVIN at Communitech program. 

“The launch of the OpenHDMaps platform through AVIN at Communitech is another step in creating the open innovation ecosystem,” said Mauro Rossi, Director, Advanced Technology Platforms at Communitech. “The OpenHDMaps platform will combine and host disparate data sets from participating organizations while utilizing the expertise of all members to build an ecosystem that supports innovation around CAV applications, smart cities and more.”

Detailed, comprehensive, high-definition mapping data is the virtual fuel that will power CAVs on public roads. Using the OpenHDMaps platform, participants will have access to an HD map of Waterloo Region complete with layers of extracted features like centrelines, curbs, lanes and pedestrian crosswalks. In addition, a template has been developed to allow other regions and municipalities across Ontario to add their data to the platform. This data platform has been developed with open innovation in mind to support the collection, analysis and sharing of CAV data across participating organizations.

This platform launch was made possible by the AVIN Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS) in Waterloo, in collaboration with Communitech, the University of Waterloo, and Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation. 

“The project highlights how the Waterloo Region’s world-class technology cluster is shaping the future of mobility,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “The Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network is just one component of our government’s comprehensive collaboration with the auto and tech sectors that is positioning our province as the standout choice for any company seeking to develop and manufacture the vehicles of tomorrow.” 

Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) is an initiative of the Ontario government, and includes six regional technology development sites in Durham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Southwestern Ontario, Toronto, and Waterloo and a demonstration zone in Stratford. AVIN RTDS at Communitech was made possible as a result of $5 million in funding over five years through the Ontario government. AVIN is led by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), and the AVIN Regional Technology Development Site in Waterloo is a partnership between Communitech, the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR), and the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation.

Through the AVIN at Communitech program, companies are provided with access to mentors with expertise in areas like spatial analytics, HD mapping, data science, data strategy, and data engineering, as well as a data concierge to help companies connect with external sources of data and other resources. Additionally, startups can also apply to access up to $50,000 for eligible product development costs as they work on autonomous vehicle technology and connected transportation solutions as part of the AVIN Waterloo Ventures at Communitech program.

For more information on AVIN at Communitech, please visit:


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Kevin Crowley
Director, Communications and Editorial

About Communitech

Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was just a wild idea, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,600 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.

Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.

  • Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
  • Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
  • Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.