TomTom Maps Platform

TomTom is advertising a new map platform:

https://www.tomtom.com/tomtom-maps-platform/

Interesting quote from the website:

The pool is filled with an array of sources, including OpenStreetMap, sensor-derived observations (SDO) from millions of vehicles, probe data and shared points of interest (POI).

And from one of the videos:

What will be more and more relevant is data gathered from the crowd. […] The future of mapping looks more like being able to […] turn each one of us into a piece of the puzzle and each one of us collects a piece of the information […] and then bringing this information together to have always up-to-date and reliable data.

I’m not sure what is behind all this marketing talk. What will TomTom’s collaboration with the OSM community look like? Are they going to add data into OSM coming from their users? Or is OSM only a data source and the data of their customers will only be used in a proprietary database of TomTom? Has any communication with OSM(F) taken place?

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I know the deadline for questions is past, but I’d love to hear the OSMF board candidates’ perspective on this given the significance of this announcement to the OSM project. @Doro8ea

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I think that today’s public announcement is literally just that - a public announcement, and the target market (investors and potential investors) aren’t necessarily people who know anything about the underlying technology**.

TomTom have been active as editors in OSM for some time; see e.g. here. With regard to communication, they haven’t always been particularly forthcoming (see e.g. this message sent to try and persuade them to play be the rules, which it looks like they now are doing). Also, as noted elsewhere TomTom have sponsored SOTM in the past, so they’re not just contributing as mappers.

** and sometimes what people who do know about the underlying technology think doesn’t matter - “must have new shiny thing” wins.

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The Dutch community has already some experience with TomTom, see for Hi, we are TomTom - let’s exchange ideas. At that time we were not “too impressed” by their map.

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We have been chatting to them in Australia: [talk-au] TomTom - OSM Collaboration & [talk-au] Introducing RoadRunner by TomTom

There is a TomTom office in the city where I live (Lodz - Poland). We tried to talk to them, I even did a training for them on how to use JOSM, they even had a dedicated employee to contact the OSM community. Unfortunately, after 2 weeks, contact broke off and they don’t even respond to emails and inquiries …

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They freely use the data of many volunteers and I even never got a lousy TomTom T-shirt.

I came across this explanation. What TomTom brings to OSM is quality checks from their 1.000 people Pune professional mapping team using different sources to cross check inputs.

Where is the source of this text?

The source was probably this post on the ycombinator related discussion, by a new account created there. Similar sentiment to this tweet.

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Call me Mr Cynical, but I suspect that’s written by someone who isn’t neutral on TomTom’s stock price :slight_smile:

OSM welcomes contributions from everyone, even “1,000 mapping employees in Pune”, provided that they play by the rules. If someone wants to dump lots of sensor information into OSM for some purpose they’re absolutely allowed to suggest it, and everyone else in OSM is absolutely allowed to discuss whether or not it is a good idea.

Sometimes large corporations think that they know better than we do about how to map things, and that somehow rules are for “little people”. I suspect that this won’t be the case here - as I said above, TomTom have been active in OSM for some time and are moving away from their proprietary platform for a reason. They haven’t always got everything right - see the comments re the Netherlands above, and there were issues in the UK this year relating to what some tags mean (that echoed somewhat this blast from the past).

Hi Andy and others,

Interesting to read that. Here you find videos of the event where the announcement was made.
https://www.tomtom.com/events/conference/capital-markets-day-2022/

As a disclaimer… I am an investor in TomTom. I want to avoid giving qualifications on the mapping expertise of OSM or TomTom and which may or may not be better. I do hope this cooperation will be mutually beneficial.

I am no technical expert, but what I can give is some personal flavor. I’m following this company for a while now. I think it’s a nice company with friendly people, collaborative, diverse and inclusive and they come across as smart and intrinsically motivated to make the best maps. Of course they are a commercial company, but they do love what they do.

I therefore expect that they are keen to collaborate in a way that satisfies and acknowledges the OSM community, preserves the quality of OSM, increases innovation and is beneficial for all partners and the end users.

The map itself is to go live mid 2023 (also told in one of the presentations linked above) so I assume that in the next half a year or so nothing concrete will happen or change. (this is just my assumption) and OSM community will have time to get answers to questions.

So these 1,000 Pune mappers don’t happen to be Grab mappers? :stuck_out_tongue:

Nice quote in the videos:

“The Open Source community has gone from strength to strength. The OpenStreetMap community is producing and maintaining an extremely visually attractive map with a wealth of detail”
Harold Goddijn, Chief Executive Officer, TomTom

Also if you look at his slides all the “current map” slides include no copyright statement whole all the “new maps” slides include an © OpenStreetMap text. Looks like OSM is a major source of data being folded in to their maps, following the path of others (e.g. Bing maps).

As TomTom plan to use other data sources as well as OSM, it will be interesting to see how they handle that given our ODBL licence. Will they start sharing a version of their new map under ODBL too?

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This is a very interesting question …

Last year, we partnered with TomTom as a Local Chapter from Poland. Nothing came of it. Despite the best intentions on our part and the announcements their staff made. They are currently not responding to queries and emails. We wanted to work with them on developing better analytical (QA) tools and data integration. It would seem that such collaboration with the community from their point of view should be beneficial. Unfortunately, as I said, nothing came of it.

As TomTom plan to use other data sources as well as OSM, it will be interesting to see how they handle that given our ODBL licence. Will they start sharing a version of their new map under ODBL too?

there are many ways to use OpenStreetMap data without giving back, the details have been codified in the osmf guidelines.
For example you can use only specific feature types (it is not defined what a feature is) from OpenStreetMap and not add or modify these, or you can have regional cuts, use OpenStreetMap data in one place and other data in another (no minimum size for such regions by the way). Use OpenStreetMap routing and display it on another map without share alike kicking in. Use external traffic data together with OpenStreetMap data without a need to share your data.
You can even use OpenStreetMap geocoding and reverse geocoding results without almost any strings attached (as long as you do not recreate the OpenStreetMap db or parts of it). As you can have several layers of data in the same image and have different licenses for these layers, one can really imagine a lot of possible usecases under the ODbL that do not require sharing your own data.

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Yes I know, but you’re right to provide a summary for those less familiar, so thank you for that :grinning:.

Question is what option will TomTom go for? They are not going down the Regional cuts route as their presentation talked about this being a new global map (and they contrasted this to others who have used OSM in select countries only).

The only bit in their presentation that I could find was a statement saying that the base map will be “shared” and then clients can have private layers. Whether “shared” means made available to all as open data or just common across paying clients was unclear.

I guess we may just have to wait and see unless anyone from TomTom can shed more light on this.

The other bit that we can speculate on is how this may impact other efforts. In the presentations they said they are working closely with some of the tech giants and we know that Facebook has the Daylight distribution of OSM and Microsoft have been rolling out OSM in Bing Maps in select countries. Will be interesting to see if either of these are involved.

TomTom became a Corporate Member of OpenStreetMap Belgium, which means we try to work together actively, and they give some financial support. It probably helps that one of their main offices is in Ghent, but we have been having a very nice collaboration so far. We’re planning a meetup at their offices soon, and they have been looking into ways to support our projects. One of their engineers is helping to make our young traffic sign project more robust.
From our contacts, I would say that they are really trying “to do the right thing” when it comes to starting to work with OSM.

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I’m not sure what is behind all this marketing talk. What will TomTom’s
collaboration with the OSM community look like? …
Has any communication with OSM(F) taken place?

No, FTR, there hasn’t been any communication with OSMF and TomTom about this. I found out about this on the news. But given possible commerical sensitivies, that isn’t surprising. IME corporations active in OSM don’t often engage with OSMF much, so this isn’t out of the ordinary.

As others have said, TomTom have financially supported OSM(&F) in many ways for years, which is always welcome.