TomTom IQ Routes for older devices?
Ever since TomTom announced their new IQ Routes feature, existing TomTom owners wondered if they would get access to that data. There are quite a few good arguments pointing to the possibility of it happening, and a few reasons to suspect it might not happen. Here is what we know.
Update: Get IQ Routes on TomTom 720 920
The History, Data Collection
Let’s talk for just a minute about what IQ Routes is, and where the data comes from. When you first setup a device from within TomTom HOME, you are presented with a dialog box that looks like the one on the right of this paragraph. It reads:
TomTom would like to gather anonymous statistical data to improve your map quality and navigation experience. We would retrieve this data whenever you connect to a TomTom device to TomTom. It will not be noticeable, will not cost you anything, and will be completely anonymous. Will you allow us to retrieve this data? [No] [Yes]
For those who opt-in, your TomTom GPS will log data about your trips as you drive. The GPS will have an estimate on how long it takes to drive each road segment, and will compare that estimate with how long it actually took you to travel over each road segment. That data is then compiled, and sent back to TomTom when you connect your device through TomTom HOME.
TomTom has taken that data collected over the past year or so, and created new average time estimates for the various road segments. That data was then built into the new map in the TomTom x30 series devices like the 730 and 930. We reviewed the TomTom 930 and found that the new data does indeed make a big difference in time estimates and routing.
Now, more and more people are hoping that they will be able to get the IQ route feature on their devices. Especially since it is the owners of the older devices that allowed TomTom to collect this data, that is currently only being offered on the new devices. Existing users feel that TomTom ought to make this new feature available to them since, without their data, the IQ routes feature would not have been possible.
Getting the Data
One issue that becomes apparent is that the data for IQ routes is built into the map itself. Therefore, in order to get the data, you would need to purchase a new map which has the data in it. Many users are okay paying TomTom for a new map, but some still feel entitled to the data they helped compile, without paying for a new map.
Instead, it seems that not only might you need to pay for the map update, but the maps that include the IQ Route data cost more for the same map. Here is an example. If go check TomTom’s map update page for the 720, the most recent map was released a few days ago and costs $99.95. It comes with the following description.
Fully detailed map covering all American States and Canadian provinces (incl. Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico), now with an additional 84,000 miles of road coverage!
Compare that to TomTom’s map update page for the 730, again with the most recent map released a few days ago. But this one costs $129.95 and comes with the following description.
Fully detailed map covering all American States and Canadian provinces (incl. Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico), now with an additional 84,000 miles of road coverage! Street network coverage: 99% This map includes new IQ Routes data offering improved routing for your TomTom GO
So it seems that map updates which include IQ Routes data cost 30% more.
TomTom’s Support page
All of this might be fine and dandy, but TomTom themselves seem to have indicated that owners of older devices will get IQ Routes, and that they will get it for free. See TomTom support document 6213 which currently says this:
Question: Will I get anything back when I participate in the collection of anonymous usage statistics?
Answer: We intend to make free upgrades of the software available that use the insights we have gathered from studying anonymous usage statistics data. TomTom regularly releases free software updates even for our oldest models. Thanks to the collection of these statistics, future versions of our free software upgrades will produce even better routes and even more accurate estimates of the arrival time.
While they don’t specifically say “IQ Routes” it is pretty clear that is what they are referring to.
It is still possible, based on that support document, that TomTom will make IQ Routes available to users of older devices. However questions remain about how that will be accomplished. If it requires the user to purchase a new map, does that really meet their own statement that “free software upgrades will produce even better routes”? And currently the maps that include IQ routes cost $30 more than the same maps that don’t include IQ routes.
TomTom support document 6213 seems to make it clear that by opting into providing the statistical information, those users will be entitled to get a software update that will include IQ routes. TomTom might just be spending a couple of months to write the necessary updates, and at the same time not cannibalize sales of the new 730/930… and we certainly hope that is the case.