TomTom & TeleAtlas "get it" for community-provided map information

Web-sites like Amazon and Wikipedia have been leveraging the value of community-provide content for years. With all the GPS devices on the road, it seems like map data providers could find a way to collect community-provided map updates from these users.

It looks like TomTom & TeleAtlas "get it" around community-provided map data. TomTom's recently announced "Map Share" system and their proposed acquisition of TeleAtlas will be a powerful combination.

TomTom announced Map Share in June, a free system that "allows TomTom [Go 720] users to easily improve their maps as soon as they spot changes in the roads with a few touches on the screen of their device." summarized Map Share in a July 6 article.

  • You can make several "instant" changes on your TomTom device, like block/unblock a street, change one-way information, and rename a street.
  • You can also report/suggest a few dozen other things like new/missing streets, missing/wrong highway entrances etc. TomTom reviews these changes for accuracy.
  • The TomTom device allows you to selective "accept" changes. You can accept only verified changes, trusted changes, corrections reported by "many", corrections reported by "some", etc.

The GPSLodge article noted that changes made on TomTom's MapShare won’t be available to other TeleAtlas users "unless TeleAtlas figures out the issue itself."

Which brings us to the joint announcement today that TomTom will acquire TeleAtlas for 2 billion Euros.

TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn had this to say in the announcement:

By integrating customer feedback into the Tele Atlas map manufacturing process, we will be able to considerably enhance the user experience and further increase all Tele Atlas and all TomTom’s customers’ satisfaction. We will supply all companies wanting to rely on the improved maps for their PNDs, wireless handsets, in-car systems, internet services and in-house routing services.

Also in the announcement, co-founder and CEO of TeleAtlas Alain De Taeye had this to say:

The combination of TomTom’s customer feedback tools and Tele Atlas’ pioneering map production processes allows Tele Atlas to dramatically change the way digital maps are continuously updated and enhanced. The result will be a completely new level of quality, content and innovation that helps our partners deliver the best navigation products.

Update on July 25:  And an even better quote from De Taeye in an interview (my emph):

The best map of the future will be a map that is produced by a company that has full access to a large community-based input system.

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