I’m never sure how much to trust Google Translate, but if they got this German article right, TomTom’s CEO Harold Goddijn (pictured) claims they will be offering map updates every day or two by the end of the year. It sounds like we are definitely moving towards connected devices with constantly updated maps. Here’s the translated quote:
Among other things, TomTom chief executive Harold Goddin announces radically shorten the update interval for road maps to: "By the end of the year we will offer every one to two days updated maps for download," said Goddijn in conversation with the business week. With top models with integrated wireless module, the update could be accomplished wirelessly. TomTom previously published every three months for an updated set of maps for its systems.
Digging a bit deeper, it appears that they are in turn quoting an interview, which translates a bit differently:
What does this mean for you "more recent"?
About 15 percent of all roads within a year of change. So far, we provide all the latest three months maps. Through the integration of our subsidiary, Tele Atlas maps will greatly shorten the interval soon.
What is your goal?
I think that we have until the end of the year for update intervals of 24 to 48 hours. Since we can consider larger sites or prolonged line closures almost daily basis.
Accurate translation or not, the industry is definitely going to need to go to more frequent updates to hold any ground against mobile GPS. This will challenge delivery models in a couple of ways. Connected devices have had limited success, thanks in large part to connectivity fees; this is a big hurdle where the industry is at a significant disadvantage compared to smartphones where there seems to be less consumer resistance to data plans. And speaking of the cost of sending data, another change that has to be coming is incremental updates — modifying only those parts of the map that have changed, rather than replacing the entire mapset. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.