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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

TomTom Usage Statistics Opt-InLet’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.

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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.

19 Responses

  1. Very well written. I wonder if their idea on how to use the information has shifted over time.

    Donald - May 12th, 2008
  2. Thanks. In a way, after going through all of this information I’m left with more questions than answers, but “getting it all out there” will hopefully be good. 🙂

    Tim - May 12th, 2008
  3. Not sure the 6213 document is about IQ routes, they also collected usage statistics in the older models (I own a 910) if you opted-in. Probably the upgrade to IQ Routes will proceed similarly as the introduction of MapShare: buy the new set of maps (not free), upgrade the software (free), and you’ll have the new features.

    Frank R… - May 12th, 2008
  4. The “allow us to collect” dialog used to be more specific, actually citing something like “such as how long it actually took you to drive a route”. I’m not sure what the 6213 document would be talking about if it isn’t talking about IQ routes since it says ” more accurate estimates of the arrival time”.

    Tim - May 12th, 2008
  5. All I can say is nobody hold their breath. And now with the apparent lack of 930s and especially 930Ts who knows what’s going on. I saw the 930 listed for $649.99, shipped in 1 to 3 weeks.

    George - May 12th, 2008
  6. George, the 930 is available and shipping now.

    Tim - May 12th, 2008
  7. Thanks Tim. Sorry, I didn’t mean you couldn’t find them at all, just that they don’t seem readily available for some reason and I’m surprised. I was hoping that more would hit the streets and we would begin to hear what people think. I was actually looking for the 930T, which doesn’t even appear on the TomTom site anymore. And as already mentioned one price I saw was way too high for the 930. It’s more my dismay on what’s going on with the 930.

    George - May 12th, 2008
  8. Also, forgot to mention. They are out of stock at Crutchfield, ship date uncertain.

    George - May 12th, 2008
  9. Let’s leave this page for IQ Routes discussion. Lots of discussion about availability of the 930 on our 930 page, 930t page, and in the forums.

    Tim - May 12th, 2008
  10. Thanks for the always interesting articles, Tim!

    I find it intriguing that this data is supposedly anonymous, and I’d like to hear more about what TomTom is doing to ensure that the data is properly anonymized. While the actual IP address or device identifier is probably left off the data, I don’t know how anonymous the actual data could be, if it looks like this:

    Monday, 7:30 AM – departed 123 Mystreet Avenue.
    Monday, 8:15 AM – arrived at 456 Workstreet Blvd (POI: IBM regional office)
    Monday, 5:10 PM – departed 456 Workstreet Blvd
    Monday, 6:00 PM – arrived at 123 Mystreet Avenue.

    Tuesday, 7:20 AM – departed 123 Mystreet Avenue
    etc etc.

    You get the idea; it would be easy to figure out who this person is, where they work, where they go out for dinner, where they shop, etc. Call me paranoid, but this doesn’t sound very anonymous to me.

    Any thoughts on this? Maybe a TomTom rep wants to chime in?

    Tom (no relation 😎

    Tom - May 13th, 2008
  11. You would have to ask TomTom that one.

    Tim - May 13th, 2008
  12. You know, Tom, I hadn’t really thought about it until you mentioned it, but since it is apparently logging that information, it’s probably only a matter of time before some smart attorney finds a way to access that info in someone’s divorce proceedings. Like we need another reason not to trust our gps’s.

    Gatorguy - May 13th, 2008
  13. Gatorguy,

    Now *that’s* scary. I wonder whether other GPS manufacturers have such tracking. I also wonder whether, with a court order, that info could feasibly be extracted from a TomTom unit.

    I will try to contact TomTom about this. I’ve been keen on getting a 730, but if I’m giving up a fair bit of privacy, I’d rather go to Garmin.

    Tom - May 13th, 2008
  14. Tom, all you would need to do is say “no” when it asks if you want to provide the data to Google when you setup the device. Then you are not giving up any of that data. You need to specifically opt in for them to collect it.

    gatorguy – the same could be said for the tracklog feature in the Nuvi– and it might be even easier for them to obtain by taking your device.

    But again, let’s leave this thread for the topic of IQ Routes for older devices and take this discussion to either the forums or the IQ Routes page.

    Tim - May 13th, 2008
  15. I’ve noticed that the map selector for the 720/920 now says this:

    IMPORTANT: The maps currently available for the GO 920 do not support the new advanced lane guidance feature.

    I’m encouraged by the phrase “currently available” and the fact that the lane guidance icon now shows on the 720/920 with the newest application. It sounds like a map update purchase will be required, but it sounds like they are hinting that it will come, perhaps in the next Q update.

    Tim - June 17th, 2008
  16. Ok, so i called Tom Tom and they confirmed “The Hardware of the 920/T and the (30 Are identical. and she stated that the only difference is the “software”. When asking her “Well if everything is the same except for the software, wouldnt the new IQ mapping software work just the same on my 920T and which time she stuttered and kind of chuckled as she said, no sir we cannot confirm that it is compatible with your unit. But she could not explain why it would not be compatible if the actual hardware unit is the exact same. My conclusion would be that if you simply purchase the new 8X map for $99 you should be able to install it on your unit just the same. Am i missing anything here? Tim what are your thoughts? Does this make sense? I was seriously considering on buying the new 930 but after that call, why should i? I could just pay $99 to thwart Tom Tom from making me purchase a whole other unit and it would work the same…. Any thoughts from anyone please??

    JASON - June 27th, 2008
  17. Jason, you can read a few more of my thoughts in this thread. Here is what I think… First, it is worty of mentioning that it isn’t uncommon for a company to offer different products based on the same hardware, with different software, at a different price.

    With that said… I expect the following is going on. TomTom wants to sell the new 730 and 930. To do that– they need to hold a few features “above and beyond” the 720 and 920. They’ve done that.

    Now people with the older device will want those new features. TomTom will hold off offering it for a couple of months to get some traction with the new devices, offer a “sale” on the maps now, and then offer the upgrade in the next map cycle coming up.

    That way they continue to sell the x30 series, give those who want a map update now a discount, and then in a month or so start selling the maps at full price again to those who want to upgrade to the new features. That is my guess anyway.

    More info very shortly on my 720 experiment. 😉

    Tim - June 27th, 2008
  18. Get IQ Routes on TomTom 720 920

    Tim - June 27th, 2008

    JOHN DOC - April 12th, 2009

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