Making Maps the TomTom Way


Post Processing & Updating the Master Maps

Post Processing

The area we worked on was a new suburban neighborhood about 20 minutes away from the city center. Satellite imaging showed us that pretty extensive changes have been made when contrasted against an existing map in their database. However, once we were at the actual site, we noticed that there were further changes that were not reflected in the latest satellite imagery. This is why it is so important and also so labor-intensive for TomTom to verify and make sure their maps are up to date.

After our updates have been recorded by TomTom’s mapping centre, changes can now be made to the map itself. This is done using TomTom’s very own in-house developed software called “Cartopia”, which is short for “Cartographer’s Utopia”.

Cartopia is the tool TomTom uses to make edits to its master maps. As you can see, photos taken from the mobile mapping vehicle has already been uploaded to the main server and shows up on Cartopia as notes that mapping experts can later refer to to make changes.

Cartopia is a browser-based mapping tool and it is a powerful one, allowing map editors to see a wide range of information with regards to the road. As for the field work we’ve done, the updates we’ve made on site are now readily available for viewing in the software as notes that are overlaid on the map itself. With the notes, the cartographer can then verify whether changes need to be made to the map.

Apart from changes made by TomTom’s own staff, TomTom also has a unique technology called Map Share. Map Share is a community technology where users can make corrections on their own devices, and then after, send these corrections to TomTom at a later time when their devices are connected to their computer. On the other hand, users can also receive these Map Share corrections from other users as well, keeping their maps as up-to-date as possible. Further to that, TomTom will also review these updates from users and if it verifies them to be correct, TomTom will then revise its maps and offer them as official updates.

With Cartopia, one can even see what is known internally as "probes". Probes are logged trips made by TomTom users. They contain important information such as direction, speed and time taken. Looking at Singapore, we can see that there's already a fair amount of TomTom users who are contributing to TomTom's ever-growing traffic database.

All this is just to ensure the maps are as up-to-date as it is physically and technically possible. And although an accurate and up-to-date map is crucial, this is but the first layer of TomTom’s layered approach to mapmaking. On top of this base layer of up-to-date maps, TomTom adds its IQ Routes and HD Traffic technologies to distinguish themselves from the competition and make them even more beneficial for users. In the following pages, we will take a closer look at TomTom's IQ Routes and HD Traffic technologies.