Since the 2004 discussions began selling the first portable TomTom device because they have sold nearly 100 million units. A browser continues to be a relatively simple device, an affordable hardware and software with very specific functions . But how it is generated and an extensive mapping covering millions of roads maintained? Developers have to deal with unexpected works, signaling changes, roads that open and close of the overnight or even permanent change in traffic conditions. Keep your browser up to date represents a technological challenge, but also logistics .
Upon my arrival to the “headquarters” of TomTom in Spain a huge paper map covers the table. So things were done just a few years ago. Now it is working with advanced tablets, with computer systems as maps daily update, with mobile units (cars and vans) equipped with camera systems 360 as the famous car Google Street View, with algorithms that analyze time actual traffic on each street to the minute updates with countless information sources and even predictions based on the experience of millions of TomTom users . The mapping now also updated collaboratively, thanks to the contributions of many users who warn provider browsers recent changes that have taken place in the streets of their neighborhood and their city.
decided to merge with TeleAtlas TomTom to improve the quality of mapping and its integration with other traffic services in real time.
Those were leaving on a trip to the atlas and road maps in installments. For many, including myself included, the arrival of browsers was a real revolution. Who has not heard anyone complain about being late for an appointment, getting lost in the city or any urban legend about a mishap by “blame the browser.” Not now necessary to examine why the responsibilities of a driver (eg compliance with regulations and traffic signs) can not be delegated to a browser, but in any case it must be recognized that those early navigators still needed a cartographic profound revision to avoid the great frustration that generates a driver map signs do not correspond to reality .
TomTom had it very clear from the beginning. Application for PDA switched to dedicated portable navigation and there began the process to integrate traffic services and improve the quality of mapping . And what better way than acquire TeleAtlas , one of the leading mapping companies. TomTom merged with TeleAtlas to monitor the quality of your map and expand their services and traffic updates.
Although TomTom mean by the portable device, Renault semi-integrated or integrated or Fiat Group (among others) and mobile application, it can be said that many navigation devices, whether portable or integrated, of different manufacturers and even portable competing browsers, TomTom using different technologies, especially maps.
The process of maintaining TomTom maps
TomTom realizes that a street was born – or changed – by the authorities or users notice. Even detects suspicious patterns in the movement of (anonymously registered) users.
The process by which the updating of a street or a road map starts shooting for different reasons . A brand like TomTom has good relations with the government, ministries, regions and municipalities, and often it is they who know when starting a construction or remodeling. In this way they can ensure that when the release of an update of mapping is performed, the indications are updated even before it has opened the stretch. But obviously not always the time nor the information on time performances are met.
For the same reason TomTom also updates its mapping thanks to the thousands of ads that come by their users , either by the functionality of their laptop browsers that allows correct or add a street (and share it with others through a collaborative social network) or even from a web portal that requires no subscription (TomTom Reporter). TomTom own responsibility in Spain told us that themselves, in their spare time, while out for a walk or run, they found a new street in your neighborhood and sent to the TomTom development team for the actualizase. It is a process that can make any user.
The devices connected TomTom also collect information anonymously of course, conducting tours . That way if the computer systems of TomTom detect circulating many drivers apparently so is a nonexistent street or even circulating in a street, apparently to the contrary, we must think of a possible change to the mapping.
The relevant checks to add or change a street
TomTom has mobile units 360 cameras moving to a new street or road works that undergo constant change.
Obviously, a warning is not enough to change any mapping before checking process should be performed. Again it is necessary to leverage relationships with authorities to confirm the change. Also use the technical resources available, seek information from actual satellite imagery to pictures shared by users or fieldwork move with the mobile unit with chamber 360 to cover the new road . This mobile unit is also frequently used for road works or subject to continuous change, in which it is understood that upgrades should be done more frequently than others.
The mapping is represented in computer systems TomTom through different layers and parameters . The vector information accurate tracing of the street or highway, including access to important buildings, the classification by importance of the road, the direction of traffic, restrictions, maximum speed and even a Mean Time circulation ( eg by the involvement of bumps and traffic lights) based on the information gathered over the years.
All this serves, inter alia, for generate different consumer tastes routes , the fastest or shortest (which are usually not the same). Nor is discarded in the future an alternative route more efficient in terms of consumption, based on factors such as the slope of the road, although in principle TomTom are only willing to add functionality without adding confusion or make management more complicated. For example, specific devices for motorcycles, has developed a “fun” route, which always tries to find the most complicated and intricate path to the destination, a very useful tool for those bikers function that does not look soon reach its destination, but enjoy fun roads.
Updates to the minute traffic and incidents
This technology is really easy to see the evolution of traffic, street by street, section by section and in real time, to predict the time it will take to get to our destination and find alternative routes.
The “static” mapping, though frequently updated, is vital, but the future of navigation is permanently connected and the minute traffic information in each street or in each road saves time to reach our destination. TomTom even talked about social responsibility and as a car park where all the drivers used a device with this technology (yours or competition) could largely solve the problems that the private vehicle is facing in many cities . In the utopian future society (which is not so far as we think), browsers should be responsible for distributing the traffic on our roads and our cities and if not resolve, at least alleviate traffic congestion.
currently TomTom has one of the most advanced and accurate on the market traffic systems. The analysis of the traffic situation, street by street, is performed based on different suppliers, so the level of detail obtained is simply spectacular. These indications are received on the browser and allow us to seek alternative routes running, but you can check them on the web TomTom app (free public) itself.
I must admit that this technology has managed to surprise me and that I am familiar with similar systems and I know for a fact that many manufacturers will be sold soon (eg BMW has systems Traffic with a similar level of accuracy). As I write these lines I’ve seen some streets of Madrid were no longer congested and many others began to congest .
Although almost all have a GPS in the pocket, the customer remains confident in the browser GPS devoted diminishing cost, ease of use and security offers.
Currently TomTom by increased penetration of smart mobile devices, called smartphone does not care. To some extent these have become a substitute for notebooks rescued browsers, but at a primary level, very basic and very occasional use. For day to day dedicated browser either portable or integrated, remains the most technically advanced solution , easier to use and more secure by size, ease of indications and handling. Integrated Browsers are becoming cheaper and the cost of a portable navigator is negligible when compared with any other bonus of a car.
TomTom is not afraid of smartphone and among other things has tried to fill that gap in the market with its own application . In the future we will see a very simple browser, with mapping and simplified directions, something like a “friend” copilot you go “singing” signs. We compared the case of browsers with compact cameras. We have seen how any next-generation mobile phone has a camera to get by and still cameras DSLR type continue to grow and more and more customers who acquire a quality alternative for certain photographs .
As you were saying earlier, TomTom not only lives of portable browsers, although it is by far the market leader, but also for mapping, to offer their products to other brands or advanced services Fleet telematics that go far beyond mere navigation and geo. TomTom is also already marketing watches (for runners, climbers …) with satellite navigation and positioning .
Finally I would like to show the functioning of maps and traffic updates in more detail in the following screen. The vector information stored TomTom systems keeps many essential indications, such as number of lanes and traffic direction. Here we show the different layers that determine the current path, the provisional layout of works and the final route of a busy roundabout in Madrid in recent months has been under construction.
The growth of traffic in Madrid any day
[13:05] The center of Madrid appears with numerous deductions on certain sections of major streets. The level of detail is amazing, in terms of section between blocks and perpendicular.
[13:07] Two minutes later the street Alberto Aguilera has gone from stopped traffic to slow traffic
[13:09] In two minutes slow traffic on Paseo del Prado (in Castellana and its extension between Cibeles and Neptune) has disappeared
[13:12] momentarily stops traffic on the street of Francisco Silvela
[13:12] Something common in any city. The slow street traffic Alberto Aguilera extends perpendicular to the street Vallehermoso
today try to avoid the stretch of M40 between Avenue of the Enlightenment and the A6. There will be traffic jams virtually guaranteed for road works.
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In Tecmovia: TomTom reveals the present and future navigation GPS