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TomTom MapShare


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.

33 Responses

  1. This is GREAT! This is probably the best (and only) way to keep up with the constantly changing maps. I just could not see how any company, TeleAtlas, NAVTEQ or others could provide anyone in the world with up to date maps without quickly becoming their own bottleneck. Going the Web 2.0 (social network) way by using the very people that use the technology as the sourcer of the maps will certainly provide much faster updates to the maps. I for one, would very be interested in getting my country home neighborhood on the map and would do a superb job of telling TomTom about its exact coordinates. Imagine that multiplied by hundreds of thousands of people…way to go TomTom!

    Michel Plante - June 12th, 2007
  2. TomTom will need to add system support for this kind of features in the GPS unit itself.
    For example, ff I always drive at the maximum allowed legal speed I should be able to mark myself as a road speed reference and upload logged road speeds from the unit, nicely rounded of cource. The biggest problem we have today with our units is that the maps contain apparently random road speeds in 80% of the cases.

    Loke - June 18th, 2007
  3. How will TomTom certify the quality and the trustness of changes uploaded by end-users ? I dont want to receive changes uploaded by funny end-users.
    So can we bet on new map data builders comming to the arena of Navteq and TeleAtlas?
    Will TomTom start planning a small structure of field analysts to certify and collect this driver requests and selling them back to data builders ??? … data4data ?
    Lets see the Future of Navigation Manifactors comming out of the Software/Hardware box to DataBuilder Box .


    Mapiator - June 21st, 2007
  4. Users will be able to download the updated data at any one of the following levels:

    – Only fixes verified by TomTom
    – Fixes by sources trusted by TomTom
    – Fixes reported by many users
    – ALL fixes.

    So you get to determine the level of “trust” in the accuracy of the corrections.

    Tim - June 21st, 2007
  5. I see nothing on map share to download when I go to Tom Tom home. Do you know why??

    Joe - September 26th, 2007
  6. Joe, do you have MapShare enabled on your device?

    Tim - September 27th, 2007
  7. Yes I do have it enabled, but when I get to the update page there is nothing there. It always says, NO ITEMS AVAILABLE…

    Joe - September 28th, 2007
  8. You might find that the OpenStreetMap project has been doing collaborative before tomtom.

    Shaun McDonald - October 6th, 2007
  9. Yes, Shaun, they have existed longer than MapShare. But I don’t see many similarities between OSM and MapShare aside from user generated content.

    Tim - October 6th, 2007
  10. I bought a TTone about 2 weeks ago. It is a version 2. Upgraded to the NavCore7 app and now have MapShare. I went ahead and sent some corrections for my neighborhood as my street was not on there (new subdivision). Anyways, my stree still does not show on my map and I never get updates from MapShare when I plug it into the computer (even though I set it to auto update via mapshare based on other user’s corrections as well as corrections made by TOMTOM). What am I doing wrong? Thanks for the help and great forum!

    Nick - October 17th, 2007
  11. New roads are too difficult to just be created through MapShare. You can report the error (as it seems like you have done) but they need to then go back to their mapping supplier and have them actually map your road at some point in the future.

    Tim - October 17th, 2007
  12. Well, let’s see. TeleAtlas is owned by TomTom. TeleAtlas has an army of field people surveying the land worldwide for updates … TeleAtlas has now introduced a clever way to reduce costs by engaging “millions of TomTom” users worldwide to feed the information in to TomTom.

    Conclusion – the real true benefit of MapShare rests with TomTom/TeleAtlas, not the end user. I don’t for a minute believe that MapShare will enable users to keep their map database up-to-date at all times, hence eliminating the need to buy map updates a year or two down the road.

    My humble opinion!

    Reel - October 20th, 2007
  13. Hi Reel, thanks for the comments. I do disagree, and here is why.

    TomTom doesn’t (yet) own Tele Atlas. While they might be good buddies at this point the deal has not yet gone through.

    I don’t believe that MapShare will do much of anything to reduce Tele Atlas’s costs. They will still be driving just as many mapping vans, and I’ve heard they are planning to increase the size of their fleet. The more changes that are reported to them, the more labor they need to spend validating those changes. They don’t just take what users say as the truth about road changes, they verify them independently before they go into their maps. That takes time and money.

    I do totally agree with you that MapShare will not eliminate the need to purchase map updates every year or two. I believe MapShare will only be enabled on devices that have fairly recent maps. I can understand this… why bother having people send in corrections to maps that likely have already been corrected. I recall hearing a stat that says 60% of all mapping errors reported to Tele Atlas (without MapShare) have already been corrected in their database.

    If in the end the benefit lies with Tele Atlas just for the sake of having more issues reported to them than would have before, then Tele Atlas will be able to produce a better map. If the major benefactor is Tele Atlas, then that will trickle down to end users as having better maps, which will benefit not only TomTom users but also other GPS companies who use their maps.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect to see an immediate noticeable difference in map quality, and I completely agree that consumers will still need to purchase a map update periodically, but this is certainly a step in the right direction towards providing Tele Atlas with map corrections and as an added bonus not having to wait for them and a subsequent map update to implement the changes on the GPS.

    Tim - October 20th, 2007
  14. Hi, Tim. I never thought that MapShare was empty of benefits for end users. If this is what my post conveyed, then I thank you for giving me an opportunity to correct my message.

    Let me try a different tack on this on then. If this takes off, this will be quite a marketing coup, enough to make Bill Gates go ballistic! If this takes off, TeleAtlas will not be adding to its map fleet, Tim, quite the opposite.

    Let me give you a quick example. I live on a new subdivision, about 3 years old. Neither Google Maps nor Yahoo maps show our street and other streets that were opened

    Reel - October 20th, 2007
  15. I’ll still disagree. :) There is much, much more that goes into collecting street data than just where the road is, where the street numbers are, and what the turn and lane restrictions are.

    Tele Atlas and NAVTEQ say that they collect over 200 different parameters about individual road segments. In the case of your subdivision, sure you can add it to your device and potentially share it with others. (Although even right now you can’t actually add a road, just report that it is missing.) But after your report the mapping companies will still need to drive your road and collect all of the other data they need to know about the road to complete their database. Don’t forget that other industries beyond GPS devices use the data those mapping companies provide and they can’t fill that information without going to the new roads and collecting the data themselves. The data we provide them with just isn’t sufficient for their database.

    A few years from now I only see two big differences in GPS mapping as a result of MapShare. 1) Tele Atlas will likely be notified of changes faster than they would have previously since people will have an easier means of reporting issues. 2) Users will get some changes delivered to their devices faster than they would have before.

    I perhaps have had the advantage of going on a demo trip with a Tele Atlas van and have discussed similar activities with NAVTEQ officials. There just isn’t any way that the data collected via MapShare is sufficient for them to use as final data in their database. I see them using it to identify places where things need to be changed, but I still see the orange vans going out and collecting the data needed to implement the change.

    Perhaps here is another way to look at it with respect to your new subdivision. Let’s say you report through MapShare that there are a new set of roads. And let’s even say (although it isn’t yet possible) that you drive the roads with your GPS, record the tracklogs, or just draw on the map where the new roads are. I don’t believe Tele Atlas is going to use your data as a means for creating the new roads in their database. They will instead take your report and mark it so that the next time they are mapping in your area they can collect the first hand information they need to add the road to their database. Perhaps in the meantime your data can be shared with other MapShare users, but it isn’t accurate enough for Tele Atlas to use, not complete enough for the data they need for their GPS and non-GPS clients.

    We have no (easy) means to tell MapShare the road inclination, the width of each lane, the surface condition, location data with an accuracy of inches, nor an archive video of the surroundings for later reference. There is just too much data we (as GPS users) don’t have the technical equipment to collect that they need for their database that would prevent them from driving a road.

    Tim - October 20th, 2007
  16. Will this also allow us to put in additional POI and keep them up to date? I am getting a GPS either a TomTom 3rd edt. or a Garmin Nuvi 200 and am not shure if I can add/edit POI. Someone told me I should just make them as favorite locations. But it seems that with this great network we should have great up to date info on restaurants etc.

    Jim - December 4th, 2007
  17. Jim – Yes, MapShare does allow you to share and receive POI updates from other users.

    Tim - December 4th, 2007
  18. I have a tomTom one third edition. Was thinking about buying five gps’s for Christmas gift’s. Not sure what brand to get. I live in Paris Tennessee and it don’t list the sears and lowes store. Have trouble adding it in the mapshare. I take the steps like the unit says but don’t work. Also Henry TN has a 79S bypass around the town, has been there for years, how do I get it added to mapshare. the tomtom takes you through town. Bad for people going through that don’t know the bypass is there. i have noticed other bypasses are not on it.

    Calvin Jones - December 21st, 2007
  19. I bought a TomTom Go 300 a couple years ago and it *looked* like I could upgrade the software to support the MapShare. I’ve upgraded the software to 7.161, but clicking the Map Corrections link gives an error message “This map is out of date and not supported by Map Share technology. Please use TomTom HOME to upgrade your map.

    Yet their site doesn’t show a map upgrade from my unit.

    What’s up with that?

    Stew - December 23rd, 2007
  20. Sorry, I just read that I need to upgrade my map as well, and I guess it’s not out yet.


    Stew - December 23rd, 2007
  21. Hi, I just received a TomTom One 3rd ed. as a Christmas gift. I love it so far, and I just have two quick things to ask: 1) how easy is it to add POIs from TomTom Home? I’ve heard about using Google Maps to add destinations via TomTom, but haven’t tried yet. 2) Assuming I have enable MapShare, will that feature automatically update each time I connect my TT to my computer?

    Stephen White - December 27th, 2007
  22. I really like gpsreview, but this review was not helpful to me. Or maybe mapshare doesnt really add much, so there isnt much to report.

    After reading this, it is my understanding these are the features mapshare allows:
    * I have the ability to add points of interest(POIs)
    * I can make minor street changes
    * I can get these from other users/tomtom at different levels of authentication

    What is NOT included:
    * If a new neighborhood goes in, it isnt added.

    My feeling: I dont really care if I know where the latest McDonalds, John’s Catfood Emporium, etc. is. And minor street changes are just that, minor.. as in who cares. I was hoping for an included update map feature, “update your map for $5 or something”.

    Nate - January 28th, 2008
  23. Nate, this article was written before MapShare was available to users and as such it isn’t really an evaluation of the service. You are correct, there are many types of changes that you can’t make directly on the device, often because the type of information they would need is more complex than a user could provide such as lane with, pavement/surface type, etc.

    Tim - January 29th, 2008
  24. What are the system requirements for the computer?
    Does it require latest and most powerful one?
    Does it require Windows? I am in process of “going Penguins”, so here is my last question: Will it work with a Linux-powered computer?

    Alex - May 10th, 2008
  25. You can view the system requirements at tomtom.com/home

    Tim - May 11th, 2008
  26. Mapshare seems to be useless. I have submitted two road corrections numerous times and it still does not show up in the TomTom 720. My settings are set to allow all map share corrections from anyone including my own correstions. Nothing ever happens. This feature seems useless.

    Doug - August 25th, 2008
  27. What type of corrections were they? Many you can make directly on the device and they are instantly available. Others need to be field tested by the mapping company and can take years to be verified.

    Tim - August 25th, 2008
  28. This is great. However, this is not what I am waiting for.
    I am waiting for a GPS device capable of connecting to the Net DIRECTLY, without going to the computer. This is the most radical way to resolve all compatibility issues with “other” types of computers and operating systems: Mac, Linux, older versions of W.
    I am not a real fan of wireless networks, I actually do not want a wireless network in my home. So, I would prefer a device capable of connecting to a standard Ethernet wire. However, there is growing number of places offering publicly available Wi-Fi (Starbacks, NY Thruway authority – these are ones I know about) – so, in the worst case, I would buy a device with wireless connection that could be updated in one of those places.

    Alexander - August 25th, 2008
  29. Alexander, I understand the words you typed, but I don’t understand how it relates to MapShare. The Dash Express uses wifi, maybe that is of interest to you. Although I’d certainly trust my own wifi network over any “public” wifi network like Starbucks, etc.

    Tim - August 25th, 2008
  30. That was just my view on future development. Here is (in short) what I expect: OS-independent device (including Mac OS9, Linux and older versions of W. down to 98) or totally PC-free connection to the Internet plus support for both wired and wireless networks.

    Alexander - August 25th, 2008
  31. Okay, got it. I don’t know of any device that does that, or comes close at this point.

    Tim - August 25th, 2008
  32. Hi, I have a friend who has just aquired a tom tom One, third edition, and wondering if anyone can tell me, may sound a silly questions, reasons might SEEM obvious, but its not that simple!! I want him at Christmas, without TELLING where I am, as part of a treasure hunt I am doing,( hosting) to use the TomTom to find a specific point, by giving him Ordnance survey grid referances. I am in the UK. Would this work to the degree, minute and second, as traditional mapping works, for longitudanal, and latitude moments? Hope someone at least knows where I am going with this? many thanks.

    ashley - December 18th, 2008
  33. I have a Tom Tom One Second Edition.Can anyone tell me if this model is compatible with Map Share. When I pull down the tools menu, Map Share is not operable. Is it necessary to update to the latest map version in order to activate or sign up for Map Share?

    Bruce - February 6th, 2011

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