We’ve been waiting (and expecting) this to happen for some time now, and finally our wishes will be coming true in a few months. You will soon be able to update your own maps on your GPS device! TomTom today announced a new program called TomTom Map Share which will allow users to (almost) edit maps on their GPS device.
It is a pretty common fact that the biggest frustration people have with their GPS devices is the maps. Our world changes rapidly and frequently, and so far the cycle of mapping the new information and getting that information out to GPS devices hasn’t happened fast enough.
Enter the Internet and a new breed of “social” websites where people want more interaction with each others and their world. This phenomena now extends to maps, and mapping updates. Through our talks with various industry people, we’ve been expecting something like this to appear. So what exactly is TomTom Map Share, and what does it mean for you?
“TomTom Map Share is an important component of a new era in navigation. By enabling millions of TomTom users around the world to automatically share and mutually benefit from each other’s local road knowledge every day for free, TomTom ensures that drivers have the most accurate and up to date maps available in the industry”, said Harold Goddijn, chief executive officer at TomTom.
Soon, TomTom will ship a new device, the 720, and this GPS will be the first to offer this technology. It works something like this. You are driving down the road and spot a newly constructed street which is not yet in your mapping database. You take some general notes about the new street, then come back home.
You fire up your TomTom HOME application and add the new street yourself to the Map Share community. The revision you submit is then verified, and added to a group of other revisions submitted by other users. You can then update your maps based on the revisions you have submitted and submitted by other users.
Although it will be slightly more complex than that. You can actually choose a level of detail of updates to download to your device. You can download map updates provided by anyone and everyone, or you can choose to only download updates which have been verified by TomTom.
We presume that this might also allow communication back upstream with TomTom’s mapping partner, Tele Atlas. While Tele Atlas already has a mechanism where consumers can submit mapping revisions, this could provide them with even more data where people see a discrepancy between the most recent maps and what is actually out in the real world. For their part, Tele Atlas said today they “are excited by the launch of this new program, and believes TomTom Map Share will allow users to further personalize and customize their navigation experiences.”.
Update: You can now also read about MapShare In Action, showing a real-world example of how it is used, as well as note that what we alluded to in the above paragraph is now happening– TomTom is now sending MapShare corrections to Tele Atlas, a welcome sight.