Making Maps the TomTom Way


Out in the Field

Out in the Field

Depending on the area that needs to be checked and verified, TomTom can opt to either send out just its field staff or deploy its mobile mapping vehicle if its an expansive area that needs to be covered. Field staff are typically armed with either a tablet PC and an iPhone. Using the tablet PC, they can make changes to the existing base maps and these changes can later be uploaded to their mapping department. The iPhone is loaded with a TomTom-developed app called Field Editor, which field staff can use to take photos of anything that is deemed important to note, such as speed limits, road signs, junctions and landmarks.

Using a tablet computer and TomTom's proprietary software, field staff can make changes to the base map which are then uploaded to TomTom's main map servers.

Field staff can also use TomTom's Field Collector app to take photos of their surroundings for their mapping center to work on.

If the area is expansive enough, TomTom can choose to deploy one of its 22 mobile mapping vans worldwide. The vans are armed with an arsenal of equipment such as a Lady 360º camera that is programmed to take photos of the road and its surrounding environment at fixed distance intervals,and lasers that can measure road dimensions and determine road conditions and even road signs. The vehicle also has a gyroscope that measures the gradient and also the curvature of roads.

TomTom has 22 such vehicles in countries all around the world. Usually, they are only deployed when there's an extensive area that needs to be surveyed and if the weather permits (for example, summer is best since the sun doesn't set until 9pm in Netherlands and there's adequate light).

Sensors are mounted onto each wheel to accurately determine the distance the van has traveled.

Deployed as a team of two, the driver drives (obviously) while his colleagues makes updates on the tablet PC.

Captured photos from the drive are stored in this workstation, which has been setup in a RAID 1 so that photos are automatically duplicated.

As you can imagine, mobile mapping is extremely storage intensive. TomTom uses 2TB hard drives and once the drive is filled with photos, it is couriered to its mapping center.