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 TomTom USA Routing: Tele Atlas wants your help

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
gman Posted - 11 juil. 2003 : 06:39:27
I've been having discussions via email w/ Tele Atlas - the map data provider for TomTom USA. I discussed my experiences and expressed my opinions about the routing problems that TomTom USA has.

In order to work on fixing the problems, an engineer w/ Teleatlas has asked me to ask all of you forum members to send in your poor routing experiences with as much details as you can put together. In other words, send in all of the pertinent info regarding the 'bad' route: Starting address, destination address (include counties), describe the 'poor' part of the route - i.e. improper roads used & what roads should have been used, maybe include speed limits for the various roads.

I have already done this for one of the 'bad' routes that I noticed.

The engineer I have been talking to is Frances Stanley-Jones, Lead Technical Support Engineer w/Tele Atlas.
Frances' email: frances.stanley-jones@na.teleatlas.com

If enough people make their voices heard, then maybe TeleAtlas and TomTom will work to get the routing problem fixed, and make TomTom Nav a worthwhile product.

Gpspassion - I especially hope that you will take advantage of this direct line of communication w/ TeleAtlas to discuss your 'bad' routing experiences, since you've been using the software for much longer than the rest of us.

Here is part of the email that I received from TeleAtlas:

"...I am the product support person for our customer TomTom. It is part of my job to determine whether the errors you are reporting are due to the data content or how it is implemented in their product. That said I'd like to get more information on the errors you report below..."

"...Incorrect routing functionality. Can you give me more details of the route you made that was not optimal or incorrect. Also since I see you refer to the gpspassion user forum I'd be happy to invite details from the other users as well. They only need to e-mail me with their information. It is helpful to get named locations (county, city, streets and the problem areas. For example "did not use US 101 or routed off overpass at Smith St). The more the better.

While we are not the direct support for the TomTom product, Tele Atlas certainly has an interest in making the TomTom product as good as possible. I currently work with them to make that happen. Thank you for your interest and help so far.

Sincerely,

Frances Stanley-Jones"


Ok everybody - send in those emails!

- gman
84   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
gpspassion Posted - 15 janv. 2006 : 22:51:54
Congrats on finding that old thread ;-)
Yes, I noticed that problem too during a recent trip to San Jose, also noticed that TomTom offers some rather odd routing (driving though residential areas instead of larger roads and reroutes you back to the same route) so much so that I quickly switched to iGuidance, you'd think that after 2+ years this would have been fixed somehow...

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admin_0 Posted - 15 janv. 2006 : 21:43:41
The most disturbing problem I have with tomtom maps is a lot of the road names are not in the map database in USA maps. Many of the roads can only be found by the county hwy number. I don't know how they do it in Sweden but we have names for our roads over here. Nobody uses county road numbers here. We only use numbers for state highways and interstate highways. For instance nobody who lives on Midway School road in Thomasville North Carolina can tell you what the county highway number is for their road, But TOMTOM only offers a co. hwy number to the addresses on this road. So if you don't know the county hwy number tomtom won't get you there.
Marvin Hlavac Posted - 31 oct. 2004 : 17:15:30
;-) I just finished reading this old thread, and I wish I came across it a weak ago. I purchased Tom Tom GO for my wife. It's a nice looking little unit, easy to use interface, great looking 3d-view mode. But the heart of the product, the route generating, just does not generate good routes. It may be the TeleAtlas map data or likely more than just that.

---
Regards,
Marvin Hlavac
Toronto, Canada
gpspassion Posted - 05 janv. 2004 : 21:57:51
No new version as far as I know.

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ikesler Posted - 05 janv. 2004 : 21:17:34
quote:
Originally posted by gpspassion

I don't know, from what I'd "heard" it seemed to be new software, from the PR it only seems to be new maps...

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I got my maps........ but is it just the maps that was updated? I haven't been able to check...... I did load the maps, but haven't had time to see if the app was updated.
I had heard that it was a new version as well....... anyone?

Ian
gpspassion Posted - 03 janv. 2004 : 02:43:17
It's tough to keep up with Raaaa ;-)
http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5763

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wallstreet123456 Posted - 03 janv. 2004 : 02:39:41
I can't post in the area you suggested. It says the topic is locked.
gpspassion Posted - 02 janv. 2004 : 21:03:50
If you don't mind let's discuss in a new special thread ;-)
http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5486
It seems no one's received the new maps and TomTom USA have refused to give me any info on the subject...not looking very promising :-(

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wallstreet123456 Posted - 02 janv. 2004 : 19:50:28
Has anyone received the new Maps from TomTom yet? Is it just a map update or have they changed the software as well?

Steven
gpspassion Posted - 17 déc. 2003 : 09:35:04
Just so you know, they're well aware of the possibility. Somehow it seems it doesn't fit with their plans. Many companies (especially large ones) shy away from discussing/acknowledging issues in an open manner with reasonable people probably in fear of getting dragged down and generating bad publicity. TomTom USA have adopted this approach which I don't think fits well with the environment at hand, but that's their call.

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MickJ Posted - 17 déc. 2003 : 09:09:43
I can't understand why TT don't open a forum on here. I know if I was running that company I'd have someone participating in the forums constantly.
gpspassion Posted - 17 déc. 2003 : 00:06:31
I don't know, from what I'd "heard" it seemed to be new software, from the PR it only seems to be new maps...

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MickJ Posted - 16 déc. 2003 : 23:36:54
Is this a new version of the software (over 2.24) or just the maps ?
gpspassion Posted - 16 déc. 2003 : 23:33:34
Thanks for the heads up guys ;-) I put a news item on the site with a link to this discussion.
I put a news report. Since I was kept in the dark about this I don't know whether the routing has been fixed. Members of other sites (two I know of) that were not kept in the dark for some reason, and tested the new version say it "works great" but since they didn't appear to be aware of the routing problems in the first place it's too early to tell.

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gman Posted - 16 déc. 2003 : 18:26:02
Yes, I received the email. I'm wondering if anyone has tried it out yet, and if there is any improvement in the routing engine? If there isn't, I'm not going to bother with it.
wallstreet123456 Posted - 16 déc. 2003 : 14:18:26
Anyone else get an e-mail from TOMTOM regarding a free US Map Upgrade?
thebest Posted - 30 nov. 2003 : 07:49:37
On TomTom's map Charles Street of Boston is incorrectly shown as a 2 way street. In reality it is only a 1 way street going toward south, toward the Boston Commons. Hope they'll fix it soon.

Also, if you drive from I-91 south and connect to I-95 south at New Haven going toward New York City, the map displays I-95 as "unknown road". Strangely, if you drive from NYC toward New Haven on I-95 the map shows that you're on I-95. Just going south that gives the problem.
gpspassion Posted - 28 nov. 2003 : 17:59:54
For voices, not that I'm aware of.
For alternatives, look at this overview ;-)

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MickJ Posted - 28 nov. 2003 : 15:04:12
What alternatives to TomTom would people suggest ?
wallstreet123456 Posted - 28 nov. 2003 : 14:16:32
I have TomTom and wanted to know if there is a way to change when voice prompts are heard. I want to hear "turn right" closer to the exit. Seem to happen farther from the exit and sometimes at an earlier exit( when two exits are close to each other) It can be confusing at times if not looking at the screen.

I know this can be done on Copilot.

Thanks
Steven
rammsteinme Posted - 13 nov. 2003 : 15:24:31
gman:
Yup I understand how you feel about this software. I am glad I managed to use my friend's pda while I was waiting for my own card to come in. It is obvious now why he doesn't even use it anymore for navigation.

Even with all the tweaking yesterday it decides that it is much more convienient to travel out of the way to a highway to only travel 1.5 miles and get off at the next exit. I think that was rather dumb because there was a secondary road that would match the speed of the highway (in the preferences anyways) and it should have not chosen the highway because it wasn't saving time or distance.

Not to mention the inflexibility of not being able to map just the regions you want (you cannot add two individual states and expect tomtom to route between each other). Thus the reason for 5 CDs thinking you are getting an awesome package that costs more than the average cost of other better mapping software that out there.

The mapping data may be slightly out of date or not mapped as well. I used to live in a town that has my post office in the next town. Of course this confused my old Streets 98. It doesn't happen anymore in the latest Streets or any online mapping tool out there. Tomtom of course fails miserably AND even if I put in the correct town that I actually live in, my address is not found. Not only that TomTom decides that I do not live in that address and puts some odd number that it thinks I should be living in. That puts the destination about half a mile out of where I live. Odd part is if I click on the street to find out why it couldn't find my number and I actually managed to find it but was still slightly off the map.

I think I have spent too much time into this TomTom navigation and have just about given up on it. I'm glad I got the chance to use it so I know now that I need to chose a better navigation sofware.


gman Posted - 12 nov. 2003 : 22:14:25
quote:
Originally posted by rammsteinme

Yes this is primarily the problem with the routing on the US maps.

One nice option to have is to have the ability to select what roads you normally prefer. I usually avoid toll roads as much as possible. I know you can select an alternate route to avoid certain roads but it would be nice if that was a preference set in advance.

gman can you try these settings to see if you get an improvement in the routing?

In the properties enter these values:
Freeway 55
International road 55
Major road 55
Secondary road 45
Connecting road 45
Important local road 30
Local road 20
Destination road 15

How are your routes after you do that? For me after hours of trying to get it right this actually comes to a point that is almost bearable. Of course this throws off the ETA but I could care less about it.



I have indeed tried adjusting the road speed properties in the past and have tried all sorts of variations, but I have not noticed any 'appreciable' effect on the route calculation. The program might swap out a road or two on a trip that uses 10 or more roads, but the end result seems to be more or less the same - what I would call an 'unacceptable' route. TT still remains too aggressive in routing to a major highway or interstate at the expense of too many added miles and minutes.

Given the choices of good US nav programs available now, I just don't see how TT will keep any customers if they don't rewrite the logic of the software to properly use the US highway network / street grid system. There needs to be a truly separate US version of the program. In fact, I would think that the logic would be simpler to devise for the US, since for the most part our street grids are laid our like a piece of graph paper - symmetrical square grids with streets either E/W or N/S (of course I'm generalizing, but you get the point).
gpspassion Posted - 12 nov. 2003 : 18:24:11
I hate it when ETA is wrong ;-)

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rammsteinme Posted - 12 nov. 2003 : 17:06:59
Yes this is primarily the problem with the routing on the US maps.

One nice option to have is to have the ability to select what roads you normally prefer. I usually avoid toll roads as much as possible. I know you can select an alternate route to avoid certain roads but it would be nice if that was a preference set in advance.

gman can you try these settings to see if you get an improvement in the routing?

In the properties enter these values:
Freeway 55
International road 55
Major road 55
Secondary road 45
Connecting road 45
Important local road 30
Local road 20
Destination road 15

How are your routes after you do that? For me after hours of trying to get it right this actually comes to a point that is almost bearable. Of course this throws off the ETA but I could care less about it.
gman Posted - 11 nov. 2003 : 20:26:59
MickJ: I believe all of us have the same basic expectation for any gps nav program - to get us from pt. A to pt. B in the shortest amount of time (if it can get us there using the best roads thats an added bonus). It has been the opinion of many that the USA version of TomTom is not accomplishing that basic task. You are a UK user and I believe that is the key difference.

I was an early adopter of the USA software. In my experiences I have yet to have a satisfactory day of nav'ing using TomTom. After comparing the routes it generates with the results from 2 other nav programs I use, I always end up shutting TT off and using something else. Given the data available, the routes it generates are simply incorrect (IMO) - here in the USA. Routes are most often not optimal, take one miles out of the way, and add several minutes to a trip un-necessarily (at least when taking longer trips).

I assume rammsteinme must be a USA user. And, I have to agree with his statements as I've had the same frustrations.

I know that there are other USA nav programs that use Tele Atlas data that are not having the severity of the routing issues. I am personally convinced that the TT engineers have not properly implemented the USA data into their European nav program. The routing engine, algorithms, logic, etc. were designed for use in Europe - and they are not working properly in the US (IMO). Having travelled in the UK and much of Europe I can tell you that there are major differences between the Euro and US road networks. Its easy to see that TT would work much better 'across the pond'.

My 2c.

Cheers,

gman
MickJ Posted - 11 nov. 2003 : 17:40:10
I disagree and I think that is a huge overreaction. I should make it clear that I'm a UK user - I believe the UK maps are much better.

TomTom v2 allows you to set speed preferences for different road types and since adjusting mine I find that it's ETA is usually more or less right - unless traffic conditions are awful.

My expectations when buying TomTom were that I could use it to get me to the address I'm headed for in the quickest time. I agree that it tends to use motorways (highways) more than it needs to, but equally I've had it take me across country when I would have used the motorway. The best feature for me is being able to tell it that the "M1 is blocked for the next 5 miles" and have it work a way around it without me stopping and looking at the map. I've deliberately tested it in areas I know well and been reasonably happy. Had I been lost somewhere unfamiliar I would have been more than happy with it's direction.

There is a "shortest" option, but I don't think it's practical and it seems neither do TomTom. Maybe it could benefit from an algorithm which balanced time gained against extra distance, but then again maybe that would complicate matters far too much and slow it all down.

For me, the two killer additions to TomTom would be;

- map editor (as well as TomTom POI's)
- regular download of traffic conditions

Get TomTom working with current traffic conditions and this thing would be a godsend ! I'd far rather the development effort focussed on that than saving a few miles here and there.
rammsteinme Posted - 11 nov. 2003 : 15:30:23
I found TomTom to be incorrect for a lot of the directions. When compared with Microsoft Streets and Trips (on a computer) the results are astounding. I've tried several frequent addresses I am very familiar with and on 3 out of 3 times S&T came through. OTOH TomTom would route me through the nearest highway putting on an extra 10 miles.

I have used mapquest and the online mapping tools ocassionally as well as S&T. They have always given me the most sensible routes without a doubt and most often the routes I normally take. Tomtom seems to be doing something wrong as far as the logic goes.

Here's what I observed and what I think is wrong with this program

1. The quickest route may plan on what it means, quickest, but putting on an extra 10 highway miles just to save 1 minute sounds dumb. Tomtom seems to love to get on the highway ASAP.

2. Shortest route is plain dumb for driving because it does what it does, plan the shortest route and makes you snake through the map.

3. (Solution) Maybe a third option? Average route? I noticed that S&T takes account of major county roads that is shorter than the interstate. So if it thinks it can find a nice major county road that takes me to the place it uses that instead.

4. Missing turns. Sometimes TomTom just doesn't say much about the turn and can be confusing.

TomTom has a lot of good features but the main function of a navigation software is to get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible. If Streets & Trips can navigate sensibly through several attempts that I have tried then obviously TomTom is doing something wrong.

At this point in time you simply get fustrated because TomTom always decides that the highway that is further away is always the 'righteous' way!

I would definitely not recommend this software to anybody else until they actually fix this problem. If it is a big mess from what I've been hearing (all the pleas about it's not TeleAtlas's fault but the mapmaker) then I would not even think about considering TomTom in the future.



MickJ Posted - 10 oct. 2003 : 10:03:06
quote:
Originally posted by gman

wallstreet:

For news on the map discrepancy reporting program see www.tomtom.com




I for one can't find ANY reference on the TomTom site to register mapping problems. I would think it would be in their interest to get feedback to keep maps up to date as much as possible. I'm in the UK and it seems determined to send me up a local farmtrack every day ... Maybe I should buy a 4x4 ...
andypro Posted - 28 sept. 2003 : 18:39:47
quote:
Originally posted by chrisg

I think a very good place to verify geocodes is http://www.geocode.com/ -- take the Test Drive.


Chris,
Thanks a lot for the link! I had a hard time to decide whether to go with PMN or Routis, but after I tried the Test Drive to see how accurate TeleAtlas data is, I ordered Routis. NavTech has it's flows with the map data, but at least it could find the street I live on!
I tried this address in Test Drive:
"59 Golf Edge Circle, Budd Lake, NJ 07828"
While mapopolis is wrong with the house numbers, TeleAtlas seems having trouble to find the whole street! (it shows up on mapsonus.com though)
Your link saved me from frustration on using navigation software based on TeleAtlas data.


Ignorantia non est argumentum!
gman Posted - 11 sept. 2003 : 23:13:14
quote:
Originally posted by chrisg

Glad to be aboard!

First, on the improvement of route paths not related to map topology errors, we have several expert senior engineers available here to assist TomTom if they require that assistance. We do have TomTom platforms and we are running routes ourselves and feeding comments back to TomTom. It is possible the TT engineers had some problem in fully implementing all of the attributes that are in the TANA database that must be understood to do optimal routing. I'm happy to look at any examples you have.



Have you had conversations with Frances Stanley-Jones? (I assume thats probably how you ended up in the forum) We have been sending our 'bad route' examples to frances.stanley-jones@na.teleatlas.com

I would encourage you to review the examples that have been sent to that engineer. And, yes, IMHO I would say it is apparent that there has been some problem in implementing the attributes of the database that are required for optimal routing. From an end user standpoint, it seems that the TT routing engine is optimized for the way the European road network is laid out, which is generally quite different from the way US states and cities are laid out.

I hope that TA is encouraging TT to fix the problem and provide a patch to TT customers.
cgavula Posted - 04 sept. 2003 : 17:15:07
I just wanted to chime in since I've used PMN (which also uses TeleAtlas data) extensively (as well as Mapopolis, Routis, and a number of others). I've driven and used these programs in a LOT of metro areas/rural areas and for many thousands of miles and, in general I found that Mapopolis and Routis (Navtech) make as many mistakes as PMN (Tele Atlas) in routing and what's there vs what's missing. I disagree that TeleAtlas has a "much higher" level of errors. That simply hasn't proven true in my experience. But they ALL have a significant number of errors. For that reason I find myself needing to use a combination of these programs to get me where I need to go.

So with that in mind, I tried some of the addresses/routes mentioned here in a number of postings with some interesting results:

* PMN also wants the Lawrence St address mentiones to be in Sunnyvale. It doesn't think/know it's in Santa Clara. To be fair, Mapquest only knows about it in Sunnyvale too. The only Lawrence Station Mapquest knew was Lawrence Expressway, not Lawrence Station.

* PMN had no trouble finding the Beacon Street address in Newton, MA.

* I tried the Fairfax, VA routes and got mixed results: The first route (Lee Hwy to 495 over the Potomac) wanted to go along 29 until 495 then follow 495 N to the river. If I picked a spot on I-66 close to 495 then it want to stay on 66 to Leeburg Pike and take that up to 495. Clearly it didn't know there wa a NB ramp from I-66 to I-495.

* The second item about the partial cloverleaf at the intersection - it knew about that, no problem. (BTW - it would have been easier to test your examples if you were more specific. In this case I didn't know if I was looking for US 28 or VA 28 or whatever.)

* I didn't get a chance to try the PA to NY route yet.

* In the 4th example I had a lot of trouble both in PMN and on Mapquest finding the Kingstowne Village Pky address. That's because it was actually in Alexandria, VA not Fairfax (you didn't specifiy in your post and I'm not familiar with the area). Once I figuresd that out I could find the road, but no addresses at all were listed on the road in PMN. Mapquest found the address once I knew it was in Alexandria. I marked that location on the PMN map and used it as the origin (even without an actual address) and I found the address at the other end and told both PMN and Mapquest to create the route. Neither of them came up with your 13 mile route. PMN came up with a similar 23 mile route to the one you said TomTom came up with (but not quite as convoluted). Mapquest came up with an 18.5 mile route (when set to fastest) that was similar to the one you described, but not exactly the same - still 6 miles longer. When I told Mapquest to find the shortest route (as opposed to the fastest) it still only came up with a 16.9 mile route, with a lot of cutting through neighborhoods. So I'm not sure how you got 13 miles route which nothing else seems to come up with (I assume it's by actual experience and driving it).

These are just a some of the things I've found. Clearly there are some glitches in the greater DC area, but it appears that the area is confusing as well. For example, both Mapopolis and PMN use county downloads. To do that area you have to have Farfax County, Fairfax City (which is a separate file), Alexandria City (again a separate file), Arlington County, the District of Colombia, and Montgomery County, MD. That's a lot of counties/maps for such a small area!

Also - if there are other areas/routes anyone wants me to test I'd be happy to do so.

--Chris
chrisg Posted - 03 sept. 2003 : 19:46:32
Glad to be aboard!

First, on the improvement of route paths not related to map topology errors, we have several expert senior engineers available here to assist TomTom if they require that assistance. We do have TomTom platforms and we are running routes ourselves and feeding comments back to TomTom. It is possible the TT engineers had some problem in fully implementing all of the attributes that are in the TANA database that must be understood to do optimal routing. I'm happy to look at any examples you have.

Now for the map updates -- I can tell you in general [based onthe Lawrence discussion] there have been at least two major map updates that are quite awesome actually -- Fully Surveying of the top 243 counties by population in addition to many more counties updated by photo imagery in preparation for the survey by ground. Additionally, we have just released the latest 2003.2 version to TomTom within the fortnight and this release contains corrections to problems noted in the gpspassion review. I'm not sure how the cities got swapped for Lawrence -- it may have been the MOS had a newer version of the database than did the TT one.

Any map problems reported by this group and by the TT, NavMan other TA map data customer community will be fixed -- bottom line. Of course, there is a lag time to get the correction verified and into the map (and then onto a product build for TomTom) but that important process is happening right now.

Can't comment on Mapopolis at this point but I will look into it.


Chris





gpspassion Posted - 29 août 2003 : 20:52:04
Nice to have you participating!

A couple of questions:

1. I think it would be greatly beneficial to give users an idea of when the data was last updated for different areas. Not sure how granular it could be, but the idea would be to be "transparent" about the process. I guess there could be some "competitive" concern, but it could also be a way of showing the way.

2. In the "Lawrence station" case, the problem was that TomTom had located that address in Sunnyvale instead of Santa Clara unlike MapsOnUs. I know you can't speak for them, but was there any reason based on how the data is organized that this could happen?

3. gman beat me to the mark ;-) I don't think TA can explain a TomTom problem, with PMN using a similar database and not having the same problems. Still, it's a valid question because it seems Mapopolis has cancelled the deployment of their TeleAtlas maps after people started comparing the routes generated with NavTech and finding them much better

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gman Posted - 29 août 2003 : 20:50:43
Hi Chris. Its nice to see TA taking part in the forums. Thank you for that.

Without further adue, let me ask the big question. What is TA and/or TT USA doing to solve the routing problems that many of us have been experiencing? I'm not referring to map errors, but rather to the problem that we have all been having regarding TT USA not choosing optimal routes on a regular basis. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

Thanks.
chrisg Posted - 29 août 2003 : 20:41:52
Hello all -

Chris Green from TA Tech Support here and I would like to participate if I can be of some use to the forum. I did notice the portus comments about 150 Lawrence Station (I actually live nearby) and we do have this correctly positioned in the database. I think a very good place to verify geocodes is http://www.geocode.com/ -- take the Test Drive. www.mapsonus.com is great too but they are changing formats in the near future and may not have always our latest data.

By the way, I can easily verify any geocode and send a poster a .gif map of the current TANA database -- and TomTom does get that database as soon as we can release it. We are certainly eager to make TT customer very happy with a great software product -- please email me at christopher.green@na.teleatlas.com directly. I have been with the company for 16 years so I can probably help out in most cases.

Chris
gpspassion Posted - 31 juil. 2003 : 16:13:50
Not sure either, but JakeRich said he was talking in general ;-)

qiyang - check to see whether your address is not in an adjacent town, that was the case for Portus' problem as has now been explained in the review notes.

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portus Posted - 30 juil. 2003 : 17:29:39
JakeRich,

I gather you missed my review which was posted later? I actually stressed quite a bit on the lacking map data, inconsistent routt quality and non-existent addresses handling deficiency of TomTom.

Don't know why you got the feeling the reviews were downplaying those lacking areas of TomTom?
qiyang Posted - 30 juil. 2003 : 17:04:03
www.mapsonus.com correctly located address 1172 Beacon St, Newton, MA 02461, but TomTom navigator failed to find it. The Beacon St is on TomTom's map view and it is an old major street run through Newton from Boston. It does not matter whether TomTom is using new or old TeleAtlas map data, its address searching engine must have a bug in this case. Tell me if I am wrong.
JakeRich Posted - 30 juil. 2003 : 16:18:08
a. The "map errors" comment was not for you, but in general. How come no one really pointed it out. Some visitors here like cvagula have travelled thousands of miles with PMN! By the way, look at that statements: here and here why PMN chose TeleAtlas ;-)

I had read both of those threads when I was struggling with PMN last Fall. I understand what the TeleAtlas VP is saying, but from my practical experience with both NavTech and TeleAtlas maps, I don't think the argument is that strong. I have taken NavTech maps into the country, pretty far from metropolitan areas and never had it miss a road. I've also never seen the phenomenon that EliFrmPocketMap raised of the map snapping to a major road because a secondary road wasn't on the map. There may be some cases where NavTech is missing a road and TeleAtlas has it in, but from my observations and as I said in my comments, NavTech has it right more often.

b. your comments about the reviews are welcome in the forums but are off topic here - so please repost in a TomTom Review comments thread

I re-read what I said carefully and I don't think I commented on the review itself or the reviewers anywhere in it. Each post does have some comment on how TomTom/TeleAtlas can be improved, which is the theme of the thread. However, I'm done so this will be the last post from me.

c. I clearly take exception with your "soft peddling" comment. No one here is "soft peddling" anything.

I didn't say you or the reviewers soft peddled anything. The comment was a rhetorical question for all reviewers on what the role of a reviewer should be. Sorry it offended. Again, I meant no criticism of the review or reviewers, only of the software and maps.


gpspassion Posted - 30 juil. 2003 : 10:46:12
I was actually wondering where a TeleAtlas based internet service could be found, thanks Portus!

JakeRich, thanks for sharing your thoughts, but:
a. The "map errors" comment was not for you, but in general. How come no one really pointed it out. Some visitors here like cvagula have travelled thousands of miles with PMN! By the way, look at that statements: here and here why PMN chose TeleAtlas ;-)
b. your comments about the reviews are welcome in the forums but are off topic here - so please repost in a TomTom Review comments thread
c. I clearly take exception with your "soft peddling" comment, which implies there's an attempt to play down these routing errrors. This is a pretty serious accusation and very different from saying that you think these errors are not highlighted enough in the reviews.

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portus Posted - 30 juil. 2003 : 05:13:30
Reading the posts about experiences with TomTom triggerd me to read the article on map data providers and incidentally, I visited MapsOnUs.com which is, according to the article, a good place to verify coverage of TeleAtlas map data. Surprisingly, the missing address (150 Lawrence Station Rd, Sunnyvale, CA) I mentioned in my review can in fact located on MapsOnUs.com! This makes me wonder whether TomTom was making a false claim of shipping TomTom Navigator 2 with the *latest* Tele Atlas map data... Or whether Tele Atlas did in fact license the latest map data (North America) to TomTom?

Can someone verify your favorite "missing address" on MapsOnUs.com?
JakeRich Posted - 30 juil. 2003 : 02:54:50
GPSPassion, you also raised an interesting point. Condemning software doesn't help it get improved. It's a delicate balance for any reviewer--is the software "close enough" to encourage the developer by encouraging sales so the developer has the incentive and resources to fix it, or is it so inadequate that buyers need strong warning not to buy? The former situation calls for a caution to buyers that they can expect quirky behavior, the latter calls for a warning to buyers that they may be very unhappy and might better invest in something else.

I don't expect software, particularly GPS software, to be perfect. What I do expect is it to be fundamentally right most of the time. I've used Delorme Xmap, Mapopolis, Routis, Destinator, TomTom USA and Teletype World Navigator, plus MapQuest and Microsoft Streets and Trips. All of them produced "wrong" routes at one time or another. Most of the time my reaction was "Hmm, I wouldn't have gone that way." Some of the "wrong" routes made sense because the software cannot know local knowledge that despite the speed limit being 65, the traffic really moves through a stretch of highway at 25 because of congestion, or that a suburban road that is posted at 35 has an average speed of closer to 55. Those "wrong" routes are ok by me. And I've seen map errors where recent changes aren't properly shown. That's ok, too, as long as the re-route is quick and accurate when I get there and find that I can't do what the original plan was to do. And sometimes the "right" route just isn't where I want to go, so I ignore it an let it reroute around my decision.

What is bad is for a routing package to add 80 miles to a 300 mile trip, or 10 miles to a 13 mile trip, or suggest illegal or impossible turns, or take me 2.5 miles down a dirt road like TomTom USA did to me. Clearly those solutions were not anywhere near optimal. When that kind of strange routing happens, I lose confidence that the software will re-route properly, even if it eventually can be forced to come up with a good route before I start. You would probably have the same reaction. Every time it re-routes, you'd have to check its solution to see if the bizarre behavior has begun again. One of the folks I know who is debating between TomTom and some other packages that use NavTech maps is a long-haul trucker who needs accurate maps of his origins and destinations to find his pickup and dropoff points. For him, the errors of TomTom would mean lost time, money and customers. That's not trivial.

As I see it, TomTom suffers from two challenges--1.) the maps they have chosen have a lot of errors and 2.)their routing engine really depends on good maps. That combination of factors is really difficult. Again, in Europe the differences between main and secondary highways is very large (at least it was in England, where I lived for 2.5 years), and the TomTom routing engine appears to have a strong preference for major highways. When that propensity to use major highways combines with errors on those highway on/off ramps, you get the bizarre routing that I saw on the I66/495 and Gettysburg to Niagara Falls routes. PMN's error of routing me down 29/50 to 495, for example, is somewhat less problematic for me because it didn't suggest an illegal or impossible turn, nor did it add any distance to the route, just time.

So, do we encourage TomTom (or anybody else for that matter) by soft peddling the map errors and emphasizing the wonderful interface and screens, or do we warn the public that the software package has some major issues and let buyer beware? IMHO, TomTom's errors, because of the strong propensity to interstates and really strange routing that resulted from that propensity deserves the stronger reaction. However, if TomTom can solve the problems and if TeleAtlas can update the maps, the TomTom interface is clearly the leader of the pack and TomTom can probably capture major market share. Maybe by the time Mapopolis users, for example, pay to get the latest NavTech maps TeleAtlas can get their database up to the same quality and those folks will buy TomTom instead of updating Mapopolis. (Hint, hint.)

So, maybe my calling it "useless" was a bit strong. If it works for you, have at it! But I've removed TomTom USA from my Axim, keeping Routis, Mapopolis and Destinator. But, I'm returning to visit in UK next summer, and I'm planning to buy TomTom for that trip, based on the comments from the local users there. The TomTom interface is simply magnificant for use in locations where you don't know the roads very well.

BTW, I had deleted my just previous post before you responded, but it came back somehow. No problem with that, but I had decided to write this longer post to be a bit more clear on why I used the stronger language.
JakeRich Posted - 30 juil. 2003 : 02:05:59
Actually, I was in private email with EliFrmPocketMap about the problems I had with PMN back in the Fall of 2002. I didn't think it necessary to make it a public discussion because PMN was being responsive, they tried to work through a bigger problem where the software would not run on my Casio, but were not able to solve the problem and graciously let me return the software. In the series of emails I pointed out the I-66/495 problem, which Eli attributed to the speeds on the two routes being incorrect. I didn't find any other errors because I could never get the software to run reliably before I returned it. By the time I replaced the Casio with an Axim, Mapopolis had "caught up" to PMN and I went that route instead.
gpspassion Posted - 30 juil. 2003 : 00:15:48
That's a very valid point. Again not to defend TeleAtlas, but they had the same problems in Europe and were able to "fix" sone of them in the past year. They focused on large metro areas and freeways. Granted you still have scary errors in the countryside with 6+ year old bypassese MIA. The other aspect is that TeleAtlas (europe) purchased Etak (US) a couple of years ago and such mergers always do some "harm" at first. Sometimes they actually allow leaps. We shall see.

One aspect I'm struggling with a bit is that none of these "disastrous" TeleAtlas map errors were really mentioned about PocketMap. I'm a bit suprised they should be coming out of the woodworks all of a sudden! Maybe they weren't so obvious thanks to better tuned (and much slower) routing engine.

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JakeRich Posted - 30 juil. 2003 : 00:07:26
Yes, I've read that article about the source of map data. As a professional navigator for twenty years, I know that maps are never perfect, whether digital or paper. The problem for TomTom is that TeleAtlas has really poor map data, even in the metropolitan Washington, DC area, and from other reports, in other urban areas in the US. I could understand questionable map quality if it were in the most rural parts of Appalachia, or in the middle of the Southwest desert where not many people live and surveys are only done infrequently, but it's the metro area within 25 miles of the center of the Nation's Capital, for goodness sake! The paper map publishers manage to update the printed maps every year with new highways and roads, why can't TeleAtlas update their data? And when mapping errors get so bad that your suggested route avoids an interstate and includes 25+ lights on a city street, or an illegal U turn across a major divided highway, I think that's not acceptable performance for a routing product. TomTom USA is a brilliant piece of software that is suffering under the burden of really poor data. I would dearly love to see TomTom get a better database or TeleAtlas get their ducks in a row on this. Right now TeleAtlas is not helping TomTom succeed.
gpspassion Posted - 29 juil. 2003 : 23:05:38
I'd have to agree with you that your statements are a bit strong ;-) It's not like the review(s) don't discuss these routing issues right? Calling something useless had never help get it fixed. CoPilot has far worse localized problems, but I would hardly call it useless!
You'll see in the upcoming "routing shoot-out" that TomTom did "ok" with Routis producing the best routes consistently.

Not to defend TeleAtlas, but in case you haven't read this article, this will explain a lot of what you're seeing. NavTech have made the choice of offering less detail but more up to date info. That's the choice that makes the most sense to me, but probably not to people who live in areas where NavTech has very little coverage.

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JakeRich Posted - 29 juil. 2003 : 15:28:27
GPSPassion, you also asked about PMN. I don't have it installed, but I did ask someone who does have it to test a route for me. From the Hampton Forest Way/Rte 29 intersection to the bridge over the Potomac River on the Beltway (I-495) PMN suggests that you drive down Rte 29/50 east, through Fairfax City, to I-495, then north to the bridge. It doesn't find the parallel I-66 solution because there is no exit from I-66 eastbound to I-495 northbound. The error is different from TomTom USA, but it appears to be caused by the same map problem. The route suggested by PMN would be at least twice as long to drive as the I-66 route because of the 25+ traffic lights and the 25 MPH speed limit.
gpspassion Posted - 29 juil. 2003 : 01:19:20
Jakerich - Thanks for all these examples...It seems that similar to Europe, TeleAtlas has good coverage in densely populated areas like the SF Bay Area but poor in other parts that may not be surveyed as frequently. Did you see the same routing and map problems in PocketMap? This would be a good indication as to whether the poor routes are due to the maps or to the engine or their "interaction". I'd have to say either 1 or 3 because the routing engine works really well in Europe.

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gman Posted - 29 juil. 2003 : 01:08:43
JakeRich:

I very much agree with your opinions about TomTom. It has so much potential that is wasted because of poor routing.

Have you sent your routing experiences to TeleAtlas? If not, send them to: frances.stanley-jones@na.teleatlas.com

They want to hear about these problems, as they have an interest in improving the software.
qiyang Posted - 28 juil. 2003 : 17:15:12
When I used TomTom last week in Boston (using the 160MB New England map), I had experienced the following map/database problems.

1. It failed finding some streets even if the map view shows the streets and labels them correctly [example, Beacon St (42.33113N, 71.21029W), Newton, MA; Donna Rd (42.30825N, 71.17882W), Newton, MA].

2. Search POIs (e.g. restaurants) by name is very slow and you may suspect that your PPC is dead and needs a reboot (example, Pacific Buffet).


JakeRich Posted - 28 juil. 2003 : 16:19:40
My experience with TomTom USA is that it IMHO is totally unusable because of the poor maps/routing. Here are some examples I found:

1. Fairfax VA - Hampton Forest Way and Route 29 to the bridge over the Potomac on I495 northbound. The route TomTom suggested is to go east on I-66 to I495, turn SOUTH (!) on I 495 then exit at Route 50, do an illegal U turn to re-enter I495 Northbound to the bridge. Unbelievable! If you zoom all the way in on the 66/495 intersection you can see that both exits from 66 to 495 northbound are shown looping back to enter 495 southbound. Effectively, there is no exit from 66 to 495 northbound, according to TomTom/TeleAtlas.

2. The intersection in Centreville, VA, of 28 and 29 is shown as it existed 5 years ago. Now it's a partial cloverleaf. All routes throught that intersection are wrong.

3. Route from the John Gettys Hotel in Gettysburg, PA to the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, NY. TomTom suggested going up I81 to Syracuse, then on the Thruway to Buffalo, a trip 80 miles/40 minutes longer than Mapopolis or Mapquest suggested.

4. From 5971 Kingstowne Village Parkway to Heatherford Court in Fairfax VA. TomTom is unaware that 5971 exits, so use 6000 Kingstowne Village Parkway as the address. The route involves both I-495 and 66, but doubles back from I-66 on Route 50 to route 29 westbound. It should continue on I-66 to 7100 southbound and avoid the traffic, congestion and length of what it is suggesting. The distance it suggested is 23 miles overall. The better route is to go to VA 7800 to VA 7100 to Braddock Road then enter the housing area for Heatherford Court. That route is 13 miles, not 23. Double bad.

TomTom seems to suffer from an overly strong affinity for major roads (Interstates) and severe map errors in TeleAtlas. In England, and I suspect Europe as a whole, the differences between major highways and the smaller byways are more pronounced, so the affinity is understandable, but the differences in those highways in the US are not so strong. Changing the default speeds makes no difference, even if the smaller road is set to a higher speed than the Interstate.

It's really too bad. The interface is brilliant, easy to use and very handy. But if you cannot trust the maps, it's useless as a routing package.
portus Posted - 25 juil. 2003 : 23:07:03
gpspassion,

As I stated in my message to you, I happend to have found out that it's SR-262 (State Route) (aka Mission Blvd.) It took me some time searching around www.dot.ca.gov to dig that info out. Whew! Quite a mystery that is!
gpspassion Posted - 25 juil. 2003 : 22:49:13
quote:
Originally posted by portus

gpspassion,

In fact, I was wondering about HW 262, too, when I first saw TomTom referring to it in a route I generated from SJ to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. Never heard of it but it could be something like CA-82 which is the familiar El Camino Real. Maybe someone else can point out what CA-262 really is?



As an OT note, I've figured out that 262 is in fact Mission Boulevard in Fremont. It connects 880 and 680 and used to be the home of the old Fry's store in Fremont!!!!

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qiyang Posted - 24 juil. 2003 : 15:40:01
quote:
Originally posted by lbcynya

On the subject of feedback to Tele atlas, why shouldn't we report our problems to them via the Tom Tom website? If we correspond directly with Tele Atlas, Tom Tom might never see our comments. Right, wrong or indifferent, Tele Atlas is a business and it might be in their best interest (and not ours) to censor our comments. Just trying to insure that everyones efforts are recognized.



When users report problem/suggestion/likes/dislikes here, all of us concerned with the product (or our "investment") will see what were reported. The competitors read and improve their products and/or marketing. It also help potential customers choose the best product(s).

When you reported to the companies directly, what you would have received (if ever) was most likely an "automated" reply (20% of chance getting a response based on my experience).
lbcynya Posted - 24 juil. 2003 : 03:53:07
On the subject of feedback to Tele atlas, why shouldn't we report our problems to them via the Tom Tom website? If we correspond directly with Tele Atlas, Tom Tom might never see our comments. Right, wrong or indifferent, Tele Atlas is a business and it might be in their best interest (and not ours) to censor our comments. Just trying to insure that everyones efforts are recognized.

Thanks,
Michael
gpspassion Posted - 20 juil. 2003 : 18:03:35
That's been a major complaint in Europe for the past year. I asked one of the TomTom Europe managers at a tradeshow earlier this year and the answer was that map cutting was (and from memory) "complex and was best done at the top level, i.e. with the raw map data".

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qiyang Posted - 20 juil. 2003 : 17:37:36
Map management in TomTom navigator needs improvement. It is good that it comes with some pre-defined regions suchs as New England, West Coast, middle West, etc. But, when "Adding Maps" from the installer, why it does not allow you to define your own regional map? Can someone in TeleAtlas or TomTom point to us what was hard with doing so?

I am planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park and Salt Lake City. None of the predefined regions in the 5 CDs will cover my route of a few hundred miles.

Please give the ability for routing between maps, or a method for choosing states to make a new map.
qiyang Posted - 20 juil. 2003 : 17:08:09
quote:
Originally posted by gpspassion
I think the bottom line is that on average you want routes to be acceptable and not to have too many "abnormal" routes, that's how I've come to judge navigation programs.



I agree. And it would be "perfect" if it also allows you to set route stops to modify an "abnormal" route. In TomTom v2.24, you may mark which section of a route (or a rectangle area) you want to avoid, but you can not do the opposite: set route stops to force the use of a prefered road.
gpspassion Posted - 19 juil. 2003 : 23:46:15
Good news, and yes, everyone has their motivation, nothing wrong with that ;-)

I've given more thought to my perfect route (see above) and realized it gives priority to freeways, which is what's been criticized in other circumstances. Still in this case it works, while another option (PocketMap) doesn't, so it does indicate it's going to be hard to get it right each time!

I think the bottom line is that on average you want routes to be acceptable and not to have too many "abnormal" routes, that's how I've come to judge navigation programs.

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gman Posted - 19 juil. 2003 : 23:21:50
I got a response from Tele Atlas stating that, if given permission (from TomTom), they would be happy to join in our discussions. Also, according to the email, they are checking on the issues we have been sending them and are conveying them to TomTom.

This is positive in at least that it seems Tele Atlas is interested in really investigating the routing issues. Of course that only makes sense when you consider the licensing fees they are getting out of every copy of TomTom USA that is sold.
portus Posted - 19 juil. 2003 : 21:58:05
gpspassion,

In fact, I was wondering about HW 262, too, when I first saw TomTom referring to it in a route I generated from SJ to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. Never heard of it but it could be something like CA-82 which is the familiar El Camino Real. Maybe someone else can point out what CA-262 really is?
gpspassion Posted - 19 juil. 2003 : 13:37:05
Ok, just to continue the tests. I just programmed a pretty difficult route from downtown San Jose (intersection Almaden Blvd/Santa Clara St to San Thomas Xpway/Moorpark in West San Jose) and the road is absolutely perfect (that's the one someone who lives in that area would use) including the nasty cloverleaf mentioned by Portus just above.

Talking about TeleAtlas, the same road with PocketMap Navigator R2.20 was very poor (it shied away from that difficult cloverleaf...) even when forcing the use of 87 with a waypoint...

I'm going to reload build 356 (original release) of TomTom to verify that the Alternate route was spot on (it isn't with 2.22 or 2.24)


PS - Portus (or someone who lives in the South Bay), is there a road called 262 in the Milpitas area now? I've seen TomTom refer to it regularly...

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gman Posted - 18 juil. 2003 : 23:49:40
Actually, I believe I included a link to this thread in one of my previous emails to them, so they may already be checking it out. But, I can certainly send them another invitation.

OK...just sent them a formal invite to come on over. We'll see if they bite.
gpspassion Posted - 18 juil. 2003 : 22:36:43
One would hope so...I've offered several times to host TomTom USA forums here but can't seem to get a response. Experience tells me they're probably lurking though. gman since you made contact with TeleAtlas, do you want to mail them the link to this thread?

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wallstreet123456 Posted - 18 juil. 2003 : 21:59:14
Is Tele Atlas or TomTom monitoring this thread?
portus Posted - 18 juil. 2003 : 20:49:02
I just found a lack of map data update issue with Tele Atlas map data. Trying to route from my office (in downtown SJ, CA) to a Costco wholesale warehouse in Sunnyvale (150 Lawrence Station Rd, Sunnyvale, CA 94086). TomTom Nav USA incorrectly routed me to 1200 Lawrence Station Rd! I trusted TomTom navigation, only to find out I was directed to a place two miles away from Costco! I thought I was in the back of the ware house or something like that but when I fired up iGuidance I found that I was 2+ miles past Costco! Then I loaded TomTom again to try the route again when I finally figured out what it did! Mapopolis and iGuidance have never fail me in this area. We are talking about a facility that's been there for more than four years at least!

TomTom is also not doing the right thing in this regard. In situations like this, TomTom should have reported destination not found instead of (definitely not a smart idea) routing to a "near-by" address, which depending on the location, could be far away from the intended destination!!! While iGuidance has its own share of routing issues, these two aspects combined (out-dated map data + incorrect routing) makes TomTom less preferable even though its UI and performance is pretty good.

TomTom and Tele Atlas both need to address the issues.
gman Posted - 17 juil. 2003 : 23:19:54
I have tried adjusting the speeds, but it hasn't made an appreciable difference for me. Routing is still generally bad.
WarpedSpace Posted - 17 juil. 2003 : 20:29:23
The suggestion earlier in this thread to adjust the Preferred Speeds to better reflect true average speeds on roads of certain types... Has anyone achieved improved results from trying this over the default numbers for speed limits? Does anyone have numbers that they could suggest? I want to try and I’m looking for a place to start.

Thanks,
WarpedSpace
gman Posted - 15 juil. 2003 : 02:27:27
ikesler:

What features did you request?
gpspassion Posted - 14 juil. 2003 : 19:28:07
I'm going to reload build 356 (version 2.21?) that seemed to give the correct route when you hit alternate, unlike 2.22 and 2.24

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ikesler Posted - 14 juil. 2003 : 19:20:29
I recieved this email re: routing from tomtom this weekend


Dear Ian,
Thanks for your mail. An update has been released that deals with some of the application stability issues you describe. The link below should take you right to the page listing the downloads for this update. Download and install both the application and GPS update. http://www.tomtom.com/support/ce/support/download_navigator2.php?Language=1

Routing...
One thing to suggest, Routing wise, is that choosing Shortest route rather than Quickest route can help limit tendency to use highways. Route planning solutions of most flavors do see the world as if you are the only car on the road. Unlike us humans, they have little perception of actual traffic conditions, road works, shortcuts around traffic spots or popular rat runs. It sees a highway that is an empty road ahead with a designated speed of 65 mph. Our development team is continually challenging the routing technology in Navigator and sometimes it accuracy can be limited by discrepancies in map data. For map quality issues we have set up a reporting program where people can report issues directly back to TeleAtlas. For news on the map discrepancy reporting program see www.tomtom.com

With regard to your feature requests, these two ideas are popular suggestions and our Product management team do acknowledge them. We'll have to see what they come up with in the future.

Regards,
TomTom Customer Services
support@tomtom.com
http://www.tomtom.com

*** Please leave the ticket identifier in the subject of your reply ***



I am going to follow their advice and see if that helps.... it didn't seem to before.
And yes, I already had downloaded the updates for software and gps..... so it must be a canned response.


Ian
gpspassion Posted - 13 juil. 2003 : 02:31:36
Yes while their tone is pleasant enough, it doesn't show a lot of commitment to the problem. Again, it will take time, but when they realize people have noticed that TomTom Navigator calculates routes that are inferior to nearly all competing products, they will probably change the rhetoric. The same thing happened with the "beta test" problems.

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gman Posted - 13 juil. 2003 : 01:37:08
I suggest everybody flood TeleAtlas/TomTom with as many bad route examples as you can, and express your opinions if you ever want them to provide a fix for this 'defective' software that you have spent your hard earned money on.

gman Posted - 13 juil. 2003 : 01:31:17
I recently sent this email in to TomTom support regarding the bad routing issue, since they told me I should just use the Shortest Route option as a fix:

"I have tried using the route planner w/ shortest route selected. For one of my trips, it did result in the proper route. However, for other trips, it is not acceptable as it tries to route you through subdivisions, down little backstreets, etc. Regarding this, is there not a way to do this while using the navigator mode? Or can you only use Shortest Route while using the route planner function?

It seems the problem is knowing what to set the 'Preferred speeds' to in the Advanced Properties. There is no documentation regarding these settings. What do the road classifications correspond to in US road terminology? We don't have 'International roads', but I assume that refers to an Interstate or US Highway. What is a 'Connecting' road? Or an 'Important local road'? I noticed it has a setting for the 'Destination road'. The speed for that road could vary anywhere from 15 to 50 mph. It seems like that setting alone could throw off the route calculation.

I take it that these 'Preferred speed' settings have been implemented, because TeleAtlas does not provide speed limit data within their map database, correct?

Can you tell me what the proper values should be for the various 'Preferred speed' settings?

Thank you"

Here is TomTom's response:

Our development team is continually challenging the routing technology in Navigator and sometimes its accuracy can be limited by discrepancies in map data. Attributes other that listed speed limits for a road can play a major part in how the routing software interprets the best way to get to your destination. Turn restrictions at junctions are an active part of the data set. For example, a junction in a town nearby has a set of lights that crosses a two lane state highway. There are turn restriction at this junction that the data does not acknowledge and can add or subtract half a mile to the trip depending on which direction you are coming at the junction from. The example you give could be
down to junctions nearby being attributed incorrectly. You can test this by locating a junction and tapping on a road going into it and specifying that point as the Departure point, then tap a road lead out and setting that as the Destination. Finally, ask Navigator to plan a route between these two points by tapping on the A/B button at the bottom of the screen and tap on OK without changing the details. If Navigator thinks it can make turn when you know you can't, or the other way around, then the discrepancy could effect the way that a
route is planned. We do value your input and are working with TeleAtlas to track data quality.

Regards,
TomTom Customer Services
support@tomtom.com
http://www.tomtom.com


Their response is interesting in that they are basically instructing me how to prove that there are both problems with the map data and TomTom's routing engine!? Again, they gave me the standard 'corporate line' at the end, and will not answer my direct questions.

gpspassion Posted - 12 juil. 2003 : 19:52:02
quote:
Qi: That is true. It would be perfect if real-time and predicted travel times (which takes into account drivers' possible enroute decisions after receiving such information) will be broadcasted to navigation device and used by the nevigator in searching for the best routes. But we are not asking for such future features here. What we want here from TomTom is a route that is as good as the one that other navigators on the market are providing. Am I asking too much?


Mapopolis ClearRoute does that, but at a cost...

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qiyang Posted - 12 juil. 2003 : 17:50:10
I would like ro comment on the response Gman received from TomTom.

TomTom: ... One thing to suggest Routing wise is that choosing Shortest route rather than Quickest route can help limit tendency to use highways ...

Qi: A route with shortest distance has its own problem. Take a route beween Washington DC and Buffalo as an example. You certainly do not want to cut through the local roads in the middle because it is shortest in distance. You better to use the highways on the west (I-79) or east (I-81). A few days ago, I have written to TomTom to suggest that both travel time and distance be considered in determining the order of the routes to be recommended, using the idea of generalized cost, but I have not got a response from them yet.

We all know that the speed data may not be accurate, therefore, the travel time for so-called "fastest route" is expected to be unreliable. TomTom had given me a route as the first choice which is 4.5 mile (79%) longer in distance but only an estimated 5 seconds shorter in travel time. Is this a data problem? I would say NO. And I can not believe it is not a problem with TomTom's routing engine. As GpsPassion said, some AI is needed in the routing engine (some other popular nevigation software may already have that). It is sad that TomTom did not do it and it sounds like they are not interested in doing it. Please correct me if I am wrong.

TomTom:... Route planning solutions of most flavors do see the world as if you are the only car on the road ... It sees a highway that is an empty road ahead with a designated speed of 65 mph ...

Qi: Wrong again and irrelevant! I am not saying the software is wrong (because it can use the prefered speeds assigned to road classes), but the argument above. The computation of the "fastest" route should be based on the averge (or called loaded) travel time, not the free flow travel time. Everybody knows the road is not empty, why you treat them as empty! Use the average speed to calculate the travel times. And it is better to use the link specific average speed because roads in the same class can still be very different in average speed.

If a navigation system does not have link specific speed data in the database, I doubt its usefulness in recommending you a realistic route because you are asking something they cannot not have.

TomTom: ... Unlike us humans, they have little perception of actual traffic conditions, shortcuts around traffic spots or popular rat runs ...

Qi: That is true. It would be perfect if real-time and predicted travel times (which takes into account drivers' possible enroute decisions after receiving such information) will be broadcasted to navigation device and used by the nevigator in searching for the best routes. But we are not asking for such future features here. What we want here from TomTom is a route that is as good as the one that other navigators on the market are providing. Am I asking too much?
gpspassion Posted - 12 juil. 2003 : 10:12:44
Very nice work gman. One can only hope that TomTom will listen once they get over the "company line" stock answers. As usual it's going to take some "noise" for them to listen (see the beta program issue), but then most companies are like that. I really don't know where the problem might come from, since again PocketMap Navigator doesn't have these errors. I suspect the routing engine doesn't only look at speeds, but also has some built-in AI.

Not sure whether TeleAtlas has built-in speed. NavTech does but I haven't heard very good feedback about it as it is only a range, say 30-50 and it doesn't help a lot. They certainly provide road class info for each segment.

It could simply be that TomTom haven't mapped the TeleAtlas data properly or have tried to fit different segments in the same speed, etc...

The worst part of course is that this problem should have been identified during the beta testing, saving buyers valuable time and frustration.

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gpspassion Posted - 12 juil. 2003 : 10:12:35
Very nice work gman. One can only hope that TomTom will listen once they get over the "company line" stock answers. As usual it's going to take some "noise" for them to listen (see the beta program issue), but then most companies are like that. I really don't know where the problem might come from, since again PocketMap Navigator doesn't have these errors. I suspect the routing engine doesn't only look at speeds, but also has some built-in AI.

Not sure whether TeleAtlas has built-in speed. NavTech does but I haven't heard very good feedback about it as it is only a range, say 30-50 and it doesn't help a lot. They certainly provide road class info for each segment.

It could simply be that TomTom haven't mapped the TeleAtlas data properly or have tried to fit different segments in the same speed, etc...

The worst part of course is that this problem should have been identified during the beta testing, saving buyers valuable time and frustration.

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gman Posted - 12 juil. 2003 : 03:10:57
I pulled the below bad route example straight out of my email to TeleAtlas. I simply pulled up Mapquest.com to get the proper routes (Navtech data - same routes are produced by Routis/iGuidance/Mapopolis), and cut and paste them into my email.

One example would be this route: (using TomTom Nav 2.24 w/ WI_IL_IN map)

Depart: Gradle Drive & Carmel Drive, Carmel, IN, Hamilton county
Arrive: Haverford Ave & Broad Ripple Ave, Indianapolis, IN, Marion county

TomTom tries to use US 31/Meridian St or it may use College Ave as the main roads to complete the route - both of which are not the optimal routes. I should tell you that after increasing many of the 'Preferred speeds' under the 'Navigator Properties' in TomTom Nav, the program stopped trying to route to US 31/Meridian St, however it now tries to use College Ave - which is still a poor route. TomTom travel time 17'20".

The optimal routes should use either Keystone Ave or Rangeline road (Rangeline is the straightest path, is a slower road, but has fewer stoplights). Two examples of correct routes for the given addresses are shown below:

1: Start out going South on GRADLE DR toward W CARMEL DR. 0.03 miles
2: Turn LEFT onto W CARMEL DR. 0.44 miles
3: Turn RIGHT onto S RANGE LINE RD. 0.32 miles
4: Turn LEFT onto E 116TH ST. 0.67 miles
5: Turn RIGHT onto N KEYSTONE AVE/ IN-431 S. Continue to follow N KEYSTONE AVE. 6.21 miles
6: Turn RIGHT onto BROAD RIPPLE AVE/ E 62ND ST. Continue to follow BROAD RIPPLE AVE. 0.76 miles
7: Turn LEFT onto HAVERFORD AVE. 0.06 miles
Total Estimated Time: Total Distance: 8.50 miles
15 minutes

OR

1: Start out going South on GRADLE DR toward W CARMEL DR. 0.03 miles
2: Turn LEFT onto W CARMEL DR. 0.44 miles
3: Turn RIGHT onto S RANGE LINE RD. 0.50 miles
4: S RANGE LINE RD becomes WESTFIELD BLVD. 2.12 miles
5: WESTFIELD BLVD becomes N WESTFIELD RD. 0.04 miles
6: N WESTFIELD RD becomes N WESTFIELD BLVD. 3.88 miles
7: Stay straight to go onto WINTHROP AVE. 0.07 miles
8: Turn LEFT onto BROAD RIPPLE AVE. 0.29 miles
9: Turn RIGHT onto HAVERFORD AVE. 0.06 miles
Total Estimated Time: Total Distance: 7.45 miles
15 minutes

I also sent them saved images of the map data (saved off Mapquest) that showed the correct locations of my starting point and destination, since the locations TomTom has are off by quite a bit.

gman Posted - 12 juil. 2003 : 02:56:14
wallstreet:

I received an email back from TomTom today about the routing problems, although they really didn't answer my question. Here is their response:


"Thanks for your feedback. One thing to suggest Routing wise is that choosing Shortest route rather than Quickest route can help limit tendency to use highways. Route planning solutions of most flavors do see the world as if you are the only car on the road. Unlike us humans, they have little perception of actual traffic conditions, shortcuts around traffic spots or popular rat runs. It sees a highway that is an empty road ahead with a designated speed of 65 mph.
For map quality issues we have set up a reporting program where people can report issues directly back to TeleAtlas. For news on the map discrepancy reporting program see www.tomtom.com

Regards,
TomTom Customer Services
support@tomtom.com
http://www.tomtom.com"


I asked them directly if they are going to work on the routing problems, but they really did not answer this in their response (although one might infer from their reply that its not high on their list of priorities).

I have since emailed them again to let them know that I have tried their suggestions, and the results have basically not changed. I'm curious to see if they respond.

Based on my conversations w/ TeleAtlas, it seems they are more interested in fixing TomTom's routing problems than TomTom is.
gman Posted - 12 juil. 2003 : 02:44:55
qiyang:

I am 99% sure that there is no speed data that is actually attached to the individual streets in TomTom. Why else would they have implemented the 'Preferred speed' settings in the Navigator properties? I believe they have only attached a piece of 'road class' data to each street, such as 'Interstate 65 = Freeway'. Really it seems that this is a problem w/ the TeleAtlas data, and TomTom has tried their best to implement a solution given the lack of the speed information.

In order to help out the customers, TomTom needs to provide some description as to what each of the 'Preferred speed' values should be for typical US streets and highways. But, of course, this is still a 'work-around' type solution. I believe there will always be bad routing problems unless TeleAtlas provides speed information for each individual street in their map database.

Navtech has done this for their database, thus you can set Routis, for example, to enable Auto Speed Alerts when you go above the posted speed limit.
gman Posted - 12 juil. 2003 : 02:26:53
Originally posted by wallstreet123456

Another thing, has anyone heard back from TomTom regarding the routing trouble peole have mentioned here? How the alternate routes seem to be better
gman Posted - 12 juil. 2003 : 02:25:47
Originally posted by qiyang

Can anyone clearify how the speed is treated differently in TeleAtlas and NevTech database? Gman, are you sure TeleAtlas does not associate freeways and streets with link specific speeds?

If speeds are defined only for road types (classes) and the database does not provide a way to "localize" the speeds for inividual links, getting bad routes is a certain thing because roads in the same class can still be very hertergenous. One possibile solution to reduce the impact of bad speed data and choosing a good route might be (1) use generalize cost rather than travel time or distance alone; (2) compare (if rule based) or combine (if scoring based on generalized cost) relative rather than the absolute difference in both travel time and distance between alternative routes .

From a local elementary school to my home, TomTom gives me a route (10.2 miles) consists of a short section of toll highway, an interstate highway, a state freeway, and a major arterial (but only one lane each direction) with lots of hills and curves. This recommended route is 4.5 miles (78%) longer than the route I use all the time, and according to TomTom's calculation, it would "saves" me 5 seconds, compared to the alternative route. The alternative route, which is about 5.7 miles, is happen to be the fastest and shortest.

Problems similar to the one demonstrated in the example above can be easily fixed if TomTom can try the method I suggested in the 2nd paragraph.

Sometimes TomTom's alternative routes were better than its original routes, but it is not always the case. In several tests, the original route TomTom recommended is good ones; in some other cases, both routes are bad. I am curious to know in what conditions it is good and what conditions it becomes bad, but it is hard to characterize. It seems that when possible routes between an OD pair are more or less uniform in road type, the route given by TomTom is reasonable; if there are roads of different road classes, TomTom tends to favor high class roads. But when I compare the default road speeds with that used in Microsoft Street and Trips, they are very similar. Then how could the routes they give can be very different and travel time estimate is way off for the same route? It must have a bug in the code or a flaw in the shortest path algorithm.

For those of us who purchased TomTom and these who are buying it now or later, the initial curisity of a good UI will soon fade; the excitement of its 3D look will also soon become less appealing because the world outside our car windows is a much better real 3D view . Who care about some flying 3D polygons which do not even have names? Even my 6-years boy lost interest in it after a few trips with me. As a navigator, what matters at the end is to give us good routes, if not the best. I wish TomTom developers will fix the routing problems before more customers become disappointed and decide to drop it from their PPCs. I guess many of us in this forums are willing to test their beta and even alpha versions before it releases the patch. Can someone from TomTom verify that they are listening and tell us whether there is a plan to fix the routing problem soon?

gpspassion Posted - 11 juil. 2003 : 22:47:35
Great iniative!
I think it would be useful to post the same trips here so that we can check them with other software to see how they compare.

Here's mine:
TomTom: Version 2.24
Start: Intersection of Saratoga Avenue and Moorpark in San Jose, Ca
End: Duartes's Tavern in Pescadero, Ca (intersection of Stage Road and Pescadero Creek Rd)
TT Normal: Routes through Highway 84, a mountain road instead of Highway 92 - 47.5 miles and 80'45"
TT Alt: Routes incorrectly through Highway 17 - 45.1 miles and 91'

Interestingly enough with version 2.22 (build 356), I could have sworn the alternate was correct through Highway 92...I'm going to have to dig it out...


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