How to Correct a GPS Map Error
I’m frequently contacted by business owners regarding map errors on GPS devices. The most common scenario is that they themselves don’t own a GPS, but their customers do. When their customers use a GPS to navigate to their location they end up a long ways away from where they need to be. This happens with both address entry as well as using a built in POI. Another scenario involves people winding up on closed or private roads. So how do you get an error corrected on a GPS device?
Determine the Source
First, you need to determine which product contains the error. By knowing which product contains the error you can report the issue to the proper mapping company. Thankfully, while there are a handful of GPS companies and online mapping tools, there are only two mapping companies. So ask which GPS company their device is from, or which online mapping service they are using. Then, you can determine which mapping company to report the error to. Here is a table showing who currently uses which mapping provider– but keep in mind these sometimes change.
Most of the online mapping services will contain a copyright notice with the name of the mapping company they used. Note that the table above refers to maps in North America, other countries could vary.
Report the Error
Once you’ve identified the source of the error you can report it to the proper mapping company. For Navteq issues, report it to mapreporter.navteq.com. Tele Atlas issues can be reported to mapinsight.teleatlas.com. They provide forms you can fill out to describe the issue in detail and submit a report.
For people who have more recent TomTom GPS devices, they also have a function called MapShare that allows you to make certain corrections on your device directly, as well as share those corrections with other TomTom users and report the issue to their mapping provider (Tele Atlas) at the same time.
After submitting a report you will typically receive a thank-you email, sometimes with a tracking number where you can review progress while they verify and address the issue. This process can take time… more time than you probably wish. Often they will need to schedule a time to physically review the issue when they happen to have a mapping team in the area. I’ve seen reports corrected within a month, while I’ve seen other reports go unaddressed for more than one year.
But that is only part of the battle. After the issue has been corrected at the mapping level, then you need to wait for device manufacturers to purchase map updates and start offering those to their customers. And then you need to wait for end customers to purchase and install map updates for their devices– which many people decide not to do.
The total process can take anywhere from several months to multiple years. I don’t mean for this to discourage you from reporting the issue– by all means report it as it only takes a few minutes to submit. But don’t expect that the issue will be fixed within a few weeks.
* Magellan has started to ship some of their models with data from Tele Atlas while all older models used data from NAVTEQ. The copyright info from one of those two companies should appear somewhere in the menus of your GPS so you can determine the provider.