Tele Atlas to integrate TomTom’s map updates before year end

Map Share interface on a TomTom
Map Share interface on a TomTom
Today, TomTom announced that it is providing all map updates made by its customers through the Map Share feedback to Tele Atlas. “After extensive verification of these millions of customer suggestions, the results will be made available in map releases to all Tele Atlas partners in the Fourth quarter of 2008”, said TomTom-Tele Atlas.

“As promised, the transfer of this feedback marks the first tangible deliverable following TomTom’s acquisition of Tele Atlas,” said Harold Goddijn, CEO of the new combined entity. “It will ensure that everybody can benefit from this community feedback, and the amount we have received is staggering. On average, by the end of 2008, if you drive anywhere for one hour with a Tele Atlas map enhanced by Map Share feedback, your route will be influenced by more than 20 corrections.”

Map updates: from 20 million customers, or far less?
TomTom, in the headline of his press release, claims that “TomTom brings Tele Atlas in contact with 20 million customers”: if not a lie, this is a real stretch of the reality. Last February TomTom announced it reached half a million active users for Map Share within its pool of 15 million TomTom’s customers. With 20 million TomTom customers now, the math is easily done. Obviously, TomTom has been pushing a backward compatibility program to make all existing TomTom’s PNDs compatible with Map Share; so not only new customers can use Map Share but also olders.

Nevertheless, Map Share requires TomTom customers to buy a new map every year which is very far from what the reality is today on the PND market – consumers update their PNDs, not their maps. Therefore every year TomTom will have in one hand more new customers using Map Share; but in the other hand less older customers are using it because they not have bought a new map. (TomTom is not a philanthropic organization: as a customer you have to buy the map you contributed to make).

This does not diminish the de facto interest of the Map Share program, but its reach is not as huge as TomTom and Tele Atlas would like us to believe.

Thursday, June 12th 2008

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