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Brandie B Writes Son Group

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Tomtom Buy Maps

When Apple launched its Maps back in 2012, it was a total failure (at least from a user perspective). The company stitched together spatial data from multiple vendors, and the overall effect was much below user expectations. It showed that making maps is much more difficult than, one might imagine.

tomtom buy maps

Making and keeping maps up-to-date is a very costly, complex and labor-intensive process. TomTom and HERE know about it. Apple was certainly looking into disrupting the industry by applying latest technologies to map making process. But there is no disruption technology on the market yet.

All three major global data providers Google, TomTom and HERE have a similar process to keep maps updated. They have local employees, community or users who (actively or passively) report the changes to the road network or geography. For each case, they need to find data source, and at the end, someone in the data production center in India is applying the update to the database.

Modern maps are built from a mountain of data. Inputs, such as data and edits, come from thousands of sources, which themselves are made up of many thousands more devices, probes and individual observations.

The news also sent shares in Tele Atlas rival Navteq, the only other company to offer comprehensive digital maps and main supplier to TomTom's main competitor Garmin, up by more than 15 percent to $55.80.

Analysts ruled out a counterbid for Tele Atlas by Navteq because it would effectively create a monopoly for digital maps of the United States and Europe, but analysts said companies like Microsoft, Google or even Nokia could be interested.

"Holy Grail" of digital mapsTomTom and Tele Atlas said they planned to tap into TomTom's user base to get feedback on where maps were out of date and gather statistical information on traffic flows to create new features such as daily map updates and predictions for traffic jams.

"The best maps in the future will be produced by companies that have direct access to huge communities of users," Tele Atlas CEO Alain De Taeye said. "We're striving for the holy grail of digital mapping."

In late 2015, TomTom extended its deal with Apple and signed a new contract with Uber, in which Uber driver app uses TomTom maps and traffic data in 300 cities worldwide.[20] In May 2018, TomTom launched new portable navigation device the TomTom Go Camper to cater for the requirements of caravan and motorhome users.[21]

Until 1996, TomTom developed business-to-business applications such as meter reading and bar-code reading for handheld devices, such as Palm Pilot, Compaq iPaq and Psion Series 5.[24] Subsequently, the company moved its focus to PDA software for the consumer market.[25] Early mapping software included EnRoute, Citymaps and Routeplanner.[26]

TomTom as a company offers three types of products in different shapes and forms: maps, connected services and (navigation) software. TomTom Navigation devices (PNDs) and TomTom GO navigation apps are sold directly or indirectly to end-consumers. In-dashboard systems are released for the automotive market. The navigation devices and portable devices with installed software are referred to as units.[52]

TomTom units provide a flying interface with an oblique bird's-eye view of the road, as well as a direct-overhead map view. They use a GPS receiver to show the precise location and provide visual and spoken directions on how to drive to the specified destination. Some TomTom systems also integrate with mobile phones using Bluetooth, traffic congestion maps or to actually take calls and read SMS messages aloud.

Navigation software for several mobile phones was discontinued after release 5.2; Navigator, which does not support all the phones that Mobile did, is the nearest equivalent. Mobile 5.2 cannot use maps later than v6.60 build 1223; this and earlier program versions are not compatible with all map versions, particularly other builds of version 6.

Despite being based on the cross-platform XULRunner, TomTom Home lacks support for Linux.[61] It is, for instance, impossible to update the maps in these devices by connecting them to another machine running Linux, even when using a common web browser like Firefox that normally allowed such an update under Microsoft Windows. However, the devices can still be read in a Linux OS as a disk drive. There is even software made by the community to manage some functions of the TomTom.[62]

Map Share is a proprietary map technology launched by TomTom in June 2007. Map Share allows users to make changes to the maps on their navigation devices and share them with others. It allows drivers to make changes to their maps directly on their navigation devices. Drivers can block or unblock streets, change the direction of traffic, edit street names and add, edit or remove points of interest (POIs). Improvements can be shared with other users through TomTom Home, TomTom's content management software.

TomTom worked with auto parts manufacturer Bosch, starting in 2015,[68] to develop maps for use in self-driving vehicles. Bosch defined the specifications for TomTom maps to follow as they began first road-tests on U.S. highway I-280 and Germany's A81. TomTom commented at the time on the contrast in details required in those newly developed maps compared with earlier versions, specifically including "precision to the decimeter" and other complex data required to help a self-driving car "see" key road features as it travels.[69] In 2015, TomTom was one of the only independent producers of digital maps that remained in the marketplace as they partnered with brands like Volkswagen to provide maps in the auto industry.[70][71] The company also partnered with Uber in 2015,[70] and extended the partnership further in 2020. Together the companies have worked to integrate TomTom maps and traffic data across the ridesharing app's platform. This lets Uber serve as a "trusted map editing partner",[72] making it one of the first brands to join TomTom's Map Editing Partnership (MEP) program.[73]

As part of the MEP program, users provide feedback on road conditions as they encounter them so that live maps can be updated to reflect current conditions. The program estimates 3 million edits monthly by its partners globally.[73] Apple has relied on licensed data from TomTom and others to fill in data gaps in its Maps app since launching it in 2012. In January 2020 Apple confirmed that it was no longer licensing data from TomTom and would rely on its own underlying Maps app framework going forward after a recent app update at the time.[74]As of 2019, TomTom claimed to have 800 million people using its products across physical hardware and apps using TomTom technology.[75] The same year, TomTom sold its telematics division, TomTom Telematics, to Japanese Bridgestone to prioritize business linked to its digital maps, as the brand shifted focus away from consumer devices to software services instead. In 2019, TomTom Telematics became Webfleet Solutions.[76][77] The brand leveraged its real-time driving and parking data in collaboration with Microsoft and Moovit (a public transport data platform)in 2019, as well as struck map and navigation deals with auto industry tycoons like Nissan, Fiat Chrysler, Porsche, Lamborghini, and Bentley among others.[75] Teaming up with the University of Amsterdam, the partners launched Atlas Lab, a research lab dedicated to AI development to support HD maps to be used in autonomous vehicles.[78] TomTom has also been developing High Definition (HD) maps intended for use in autonomous cars to assist with environmental data where sensors are limited.[79] The company announced in March 2019 that they would supply HD maps to "multiple top 10" auto manufacturers that would provide centimeter accuracy in representing terrain; and announced a new "map horizon" feature, allowing self-driving cars to simulate a virtual picture of the road ahead in real-time.[75] The company partnered with Volvo the same year (2019) to build its own vehicle capable of "level 5" autonomy in hopes of further improving its maps technology. The Volvo XC90 included custom sensing equipment to provide data about the vehicle's surroundings that could be referenced against TomTom's HD maps. TomTom crowdsourced camera data through its partnership with Hella Aglaia, announced in September 2019, to feed into its real-time map updates for ongoing improvement to the new HD maps technology.[77]

In early 2020, TomTom publicly announced the recent closing of a deal with Huawei Technologies where Huawei would use TomTom's maps, data, and navigation tools to develop its own apps for use in Chinese smartphones.[76][80]

TomTom has collected a range of live and historical data since 2008,[78] analysing data from a variety of sources including connected devices and its community of users.[83] Additionally, TomTom's "MoMa" vehicles (short for mobile mapping) cover over 3 billion km annually, using both radar and LiDAR cameras to capture 375 million images annually to sense road changes that are then verified and used to update its maps.[83] TomTom pairs this data with input from partnering brands to process around 2 billion map changes on average each month to keep maps current and reflective of existing road conditions.[72][78] The brand puts out an updated map database commercially on a weekly basis.[78]

"This collaboration is an important step for TomTom," said Willem Strijbosch, head of Autonomous Driving at TomTom. "Combining our highly accurate HD maps with NVIDIA's self-driving car platform will enable us to propose new features to automakers faster, and therefore to make autonomous driving a commercial reality sooner."

Moreover, with the iPhone arriving around the same time, a combination that brought maps and navigation into the pockets of millions of people globally, this had a monumental impact on incumbents such as TomTom, which had built a substantial business off the back of physical navigation devices plastered to car windshields. 041b061a72


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