Map Share allows TomTom customers to make improvements to their map directly on their navigation devices. Once checked by TomTom moderators, these updates are made available to the entire Map Share community. “To put this five million milestone in perspective: a one-hour trip made anywhere in Europe or North America will be influenced by twenty to thirty Map Share corrections,” said Corinne Vigreux, managing director TomTom. In comparison to Map Share, digital map provider Tele Atlas receives on average 15,000 reports per month from end users via its online map reporting system, Map Insight.
However, this Map Share growth is highly conditioned by the number of new TomTom customers and the fact these customers shall buy a new map every year to be able to use Map Share over time. Therefore in the first year of the growth might look impressive but after a while we can anticipate – because many users are not keen to update their maps every year – that the number of corrections will stall, especially as the demand for PNDs softens in the tough macroeconomic environment.
But TomTom’s crowdsourcing does not limit itself to Map Share. While Map Share requires TomTom users to actively help improve the map accuracy, at the same time TomTom collects even more interesting data that are sent passively by its users. In TomTom’s desktop software, TomTom Home, one of the preferences states: “Enable collection of anonymous usage statistics”. If the user opts in, then all its trips will be sent anonymously to TomTom as a GPS track every time the device is synchronized with TomTom Home. This huge database of coordinates, speed and directions represents 500 billion unique points and has enabled Tele Atlas to build a rather comprehensive speed profile database for Europe and the United States.