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TomTom Destination Left / Right


A common question (or complaint) about TomTom devices is that they don’t know their left from right when it comes to street addresses. In most cases it isn’t that they don’t know, it is just that the information isn’t where the user expects it to be– and the TomTom devices are not “vocal” about left/right. So here is how to figure out, in most cases at least, what side of the road your destination is on.

Finding Street Numbers

First, let’s start by just proving that your TomTom does know which side of the street which numbers are on. There are some streets you will find where address numbering isn’t known, but those are by far the minority. Tap the map to go into the menu, and select ‘Browse Map’. Zoom down on the map, then tap on one of the streets. You will see a something similar to the map pictured below and to the right.

TomTom Street NumbersI’ve tapped on a street named ‘Yawkey Way’ and where I tapped was near street number 26. Next, notice that there are two pairs of numbers displayed on the street at the nearest intersections. The top pair is “1|2” while the bottom pair is “41|40”. This means that from the perspective that you are looking on the map, the street numbers go from 1 to 41 down the left side of the street and from 2 to 40 down the right side of the street. Street number 26, where I tapped, is therefore on the right side of the street. (And you can see from the cursor position that it is somewhat to the right side of the street.

Now that street is very short, so the range goes from one end of the street to the other. However for streets that are longer, it will show the address range between street segments.

While Following a Route

TomTom Right Left DestinationWhen you are following a route, how do you know if the destination is on the left or right? Well, you need to look at the map as you get close to the destination. Consider the screenshot on the right. As you follow the red highlighted route, notice how the red line at the destination ends by sweeping off the road to the right side with a final arrow. Also notice how the final destination “checkerboard flag” is offset to the right of the street. This means that the destination is on the right side of the road.

Room for Improvement

A few notes about this feature. It certainly isn’t as good as it could be. I mean, come on– if the device knows which side of the street the destination is on, why can’t it be added to the voice instruction. Currently the voice will simply say “In 250 feet, you have arrived at your destination”. Why could it not simply say “In 250 feet, your destination is on the right”?

TomTom Left Right ZoomedThe “final destination arrow” also doesn’t work with POIs. I’m not certain of the reason why, but I suspect it has something to do with the way the POIs are geocoded then put into the database and while the location is known, perhaps the street number information is no longer retained and thus the side of the street is ambiguous.

So while other devices on the market are much more elegant and speak the side of the road, you can tell for most addresses which side of the street your destination should be on. TomTom certainly has some room for improvement with this feature, but for many routes the TomTom does know its left from its right.

7 Responses

  1. But I get right on road when the map image shows turn left and left is correct direction.

    SouthPaw - May 11th, 2008
  2. So which GPS speaks left/right info besides Garmin?

    Bob - July 31st, 2008
    • Dash Express and Magellan Maestro 4700 do. I’ve owned both of these devices. The 4700 just came out but the lack of new features doesn’t warrant the price difference between and the 4350 or Roadmate 1470.

      Joseph - July 21st, 2009
  3. Will TomTom ever get around to implementing this? It can’t be that hard to get the gps to say left or right.

    Pete - December 1st, 2009
  4. Sanyo Easystreet nvm4730 (I think that’s the part number) does it. But I returned it in exchange for the TomTom XL340S for it’s more intuitive User Interface.

    On a side note, for our city as an example, even numbered buildings/homes/etc are always on the west side on roads running north/south and north side of streets running east/west, so it makes the guess work easier… YMMV

    John - January 2nd, 2010
  5. Tim, you should probably update this posting.

    Tomtom now announces left/right on all it’s app 10.x models. In the USA, that is the 2405TM and 2505TM.

    MVL - December 13th, 2010
    • We don’t go back and edit old news articles. If we did then we would also need to go back and edit things like saying the TomTom 510 being “one of the better middle of the road GPS devices on the market today”… We would spend all day editing old news articles to reflect their current (dynamic) values. So we often publish new news, but people get twitchy when we edit old articles and we’d spend too much time doing that. Helpful comments added to articles (like you just did, thanks!) work best. 🙂

      Tim - December 14th, 2010

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