TomTom's Not A Fan Of Open Source Street Maps

TomTom makes its money from navigation solutions, so it's not a huge surprise that it's not terribly fond of open source maps on a general level. It has been accused, however, of overstating the error potential in competing open source map sources as part of a blog post discrediting them. A post on TomTom's site highlights the problem from TomTom's point of view:

"In one particular instance, a leading open source map was compared against a professional TomTom map, and shown to have a third less residential road coverage and 16% less basic map attributes such as street names. Worse still, it blended pedestrian and car map geometry, and included ‘a high number of fields and forest trails’ classified as roads. Indeed the major benefit – the community aspect – has itself presented problems, leaving maps wide open to attack. A highly-publicised case saw a leading provider suffer over 100,000 individual attacks, including reversals of the recorded directions on one-way streets."

and

"Many drivers rely heavily on satellite navigation for precise directions, and mapping errors can be extremely dangerous, particularly in the case of one-way streets."

The open source mapping community isn't taking this particular challenge lying down, however. Slashgear reports that the open source community isn't happy, with one blogger taking particular exception to the number of claimed attacks, stating that:

"no more than a couple of dozen were - and those were swiftly spotted, and fixed, by the OSM community."

GPS map data in Australia associated with commercial GPS products typically comes from one of two mapping sources — Navteq or Sensis — and there have been some notable gaps in maps that I've spotted for years. It wouldn't shock me if open source maps were less complete than paid ones on the basis that one relies on free user input, but equally, is TomTom backing itself into a rather obvious corner when it comes to attacking the accuracy of map data? [TomTom via Slashgear]


Comments

    With the TomTom "proprietary" map in.. I've come across many "service" roads that it has marked as roads I can use.. after making my way down these roads, I come to a gate that is closed off to the public. Other times it wants me to turn right at a place that it has been illegal to turn right for over 5 years..

    With no easy way to update my map.. I have actually been thinking about looking for an open source map..

      I too have had the experience both in Australia and internationally where TomTom maps have lead me astray.

      The street my work is on isn't even listed in my TomTom. Lucky I had google maps on my phone on my first day.

    I use the Tom Tom App on my iPhone and actually find it more reliable than the physical GPS unit i used to have from them. The App updates itself and the map more often than the GPS unit would. A New highway opened in my city and the Tom Tom App already knew about it within a week after it opened and suggested i take for a quicker route whereas the Tom Tom GPS unit still suggested i take the Old route which was slower and wanted to charge me to update the unit.

    I've just gone OSM on my Garmin in Brisbane as their latest update attempts to route me down the not open airport link whenever I get within 10 km of it - annoying as I live 5km from it on the northside. Benefit for me is if it's wrong I fix it!

    I've got MapDroid which uses open street map on my phone for travelling overseas. It's not as accurate as a commercial map but it's a lot cheaper which is important if you're only going to be in a country for a fortnight.

    I hope TomTom are listening to these posts... But 5-6 years ago I bought a go720 TomTom... thought it was great.... till I decided to pay around $80 for map updates... at that time the new Port River Express way was built in Adelaide and I waited around 3 years for TomTom to update this and to have the maps correct. I paid for around 4 updates (costing me a fortune) with the hope that TomTom got off there arse and dothe updates to such a MAJOR roadway!... guess what.. It never happened in the 3-4 years I had the device..I'm not even sure that today its even been done... I'm not ever going to be trusting TomTom ever again. I emailed them several times and never got any emails back. customer service was absolutely ATROCIOUS ... I'll be sticking to Google Maps and Google Navigation from now on thanks.

      +1 for google navigation... best navigation ever created and beats the shit out of tomtom or any so called "professional" navigation system !

      Nath,

      In case you missed it, TomTom gets its map data from Sensis, so it's they who needed to get off their arse and do the updates, not TomTom. If you're going to criticise, make sure you're criticising the right people.

        If you were running a business like TomTom and you noticed that maps (your core business) were sevierly behind in its data.... would you not be jumping up and down trying to get the company (Telstra... aka sensis) to be supplying up to date maps before charging high fees for updated information? I know I sure as hell would be... cuz I know I'd be loosing customers.... if not.. I would be desperately searching for another provider or doing something about it myself. Data for major roads.. not a back alley no one cares about.. is pretty dammed important stuff... to go 3-4 years without that change is appalling. .. Yes.. its TomTom's fault for not seeing the flaws in their heuristics. .. and for not making a note of their flawed business practices. I don't care who the provider s of the maps.. but if you sell a FAULTY product and then charge a customer for more FAULTY data for SEVERAL years.. then its YOUR fault and no one else is to blame.

      I agree with Nath 100%, well said!

    Google maps are good...

    BUT in more remote, less travelled roads use your Brain instead.... (Google maps are a "bit" off)

    No substitute for Good Maps Under the seat.
    Fine for City Driving, and finding that darn street....

    Yet another business model that has a "non-viability" time bomb built in, and a company that can't accept that simple fact.
    RIAA anyone?

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