TomTom GO 6200/MyDrive Issues and mapping inaccuracies

Mike403Mike403 Posts: 21 [Outstanding Explorer]
edited January 29 in Map quality
If I was Rick Mayall and I was writing to you ‘in character’ as ‘Rick’ from the cult TV series The Young Ones’ I might begin this with ‘Dear TomTom’ you bastards.
I’m not and I wouldn’t be so rude, so:

Hi

My wife and I recently returned from a touring holiday in the USA. We travelled 5600 miles over a six week period.
To help us plan and carry out our itinerary, we bought a TomTom GO 6200 Sat Nav.
The device and ‘MyDrive’ worked, but is at present in need of further development / some serious corrections to the database that it works from. Here is my ‘feedback’ based on use here in the UK and in the USA:

Accuracy in successful navigation to a desired destination

It is not good enough based on the traditional address and postcode approach. For example in order to familiarise myself with the device before we set off on our holiday in the USA I tested it here in the UK: I gave it the name address and postcode of an hotel near Tavistock in Devon. It announced ‘You have arrived at your destination’ about half a mile or so before the real address. If I’d not known in advance where I was trying to get to, It would have stranded me in a high walled country lane on the edges of Dartmoor with no help from the device in getting to the real address.
We were going to be trying to navigate to many destinations where this was likely to cause us to fail to find our accommodation in the USA (eg in Yosemite National Park, surrounded by Giant Redwood trees,looking for our log-cabin.)
I resorted to using a ‘Third-Party’ website called ‘LatLong’. This gave me a set of coordinates that I could enter into the TomTom device and ‘save’ in ‘My Places’ which could then be used to accurately get us to the exact location.

Perhaps you need to improve TomTom navigational accuracy by offering this solution as part of your own system?

Accuracy of Speed Limit information

During the course of ‘familiarisation’ here in the UK I discovered that there were multiple occasions where the device gave wrong information: Hardly any of the local 20mph zones were recognised. Changes from 60mph to 40mph restrictions which were made years ago are still wrong. The same is true for 40mph to 30mph changes. On the motorway network it is not safe to rely on the TomTom device as it has many sections still identified as 50 mph when the speed limit is really 70 mph and many 50mph sections wrongly identified with a speed limit of 70mph.
In the USA it is the same story. I spent quite a lot of time under the impression that there was a 30mph restriction and wondering why everybody else was ignoring this, until I passed a road sign which showed a 55mph speed limit. On the Freeway the device often showed a speed limit of 70mph where the road signs showed a 55mph restriction. There were countless other examples where the TomTom device was showing a speed limit which was either too high or too low according to the road signs.

Perhaps you could update your inaccurate databases?

‘MyDrive’ Usability

Before we set off to the USA, I used my tablet device to accurately ‘save’ the 23 or so accommodation addresses as ‘My Places’ to form the backbone of the itinerary for our planned trip. That bit worked, once I’d used ‘LatLong’ for greater accuracy.
When I tried to plan routes from one ‘My Place’ to the next, using ‘MyDrive’ I gave up fairly rapidly and resorted to putting the information directly into the SatNav device.
Here’s why:
The first part of our holiday was in San Francisco. We then wanted to get into Yosemite National Park and beyond that along Tioga Pass to Mammoth Lake.
According to ‘MyDrive’ it wasn’t possible without enormous (and as it turned out) unnecessary detours. It would noy accept routes that I knew to be valid (from Google Maps) and which the TomTom GO 6200 was quite happy with!

Perhaps you could prioritise upgrading ‘MyDrive’ from it’s current ‘Beta’ status?
It doesn’t do what you say that it does.

Mapping inaccuracies of roads (1)

There are some locations here in the UK and several in the USA that I am aware of where the TomTom map doesn’t match the road ‘on the ground’.
I would struggle to identify locations as I was obviously concentrating on the primary task of driving, but for example on the Freeway near Williams Arizona and on Highway One near Cambria California. On a number of occasions (not exclusively on obviously ‘new’ or recently upgraded roads) the map showed us as driving through fields, with the TomTom version of the road shown displaced to one side of the ‘real’ road. Occasionally ‘blue-dots’ appeared trying to guide us back onto the TomTom version of where the road was! There were also non-existent roundabouts and junctions to contend with.

Perhaps you need to ‘dig down’ into your mapping data and identify this before someone is misled or confused enough to have an accident?

Mapping inaccuracies of roads (2)

I touched on this in the section on ‘MyDrive Usability’. To get round the ‘MyDrive’ issues detailed above, I resorted to ‘setting up’ the TomTom before each journey.
There were still issues even with this approach. Here is one example to illustrate my point: On Highway 1 ‘The Big Sur’ in California, the road is closed between Cambria and Monterey due to bridge failure and landslides. When we ‘told’ the TomTom device to navigate from our accommodation in Cambria to our next stop in Monterey it quite happily directed us up to the blocked part and told us that we would arrive at our destination after x miles and y hours. The problems with this route are not new. Google Maps ‘knew’ about it. We had to plan our own detour. If we hadn’t spotted this in advance it would have wrecked our travel schedule for that day.

Perhaps you need to update your map database and make sure that ‘closed’ roads are not shown as ‘open’ roads?

I offer you the above information in the hope that you will be able to address the issues highlighted.
Oh and by the way it’s also a shame that your ‘Road Data’ / ‘Live Update’ system doesn’t work on the Sat Nav in the USA (although it does on the app on mobile phones).

Comments

  • DougLapDougLap Posts: 2,308 Superuser
    Hi Mike403

    You mentioned that you were having problems with the Postcode resulting in you not arriving at the exact point you require. This can be exaggerated in rural areas where Postcodes cover quite large areas and is a problem for all Satnavs. We have a Campsite we visit and there is no way on any Satnave a Postcode would find it.

    Can I suggest that you look at the Mapcode Website where you can enter postcodes or Long and Lat onto a map then you can then search to identify the exact point you wish to go to. For example on the PC version you can view on Google Maps on the Mapcodes site and on the OIS app you can view on a Hybrid map which is similar.

    As an example if you type in Buckingham Palace you can view it on the map. Then on both the PC version and the Mobile phone version you can refine your position to say the Middle Gate at the front and it will show you the Long/Lat and the Mapcode. The latter is DH.FX which if I type into my GO5000 it takes me exactly to that gate. The accuracy is nearly good enough to identify a Parking place in a car park. I assume it will work on your GO6200 and I find it is a useful addition and works worldwide. This facility is not available on other GPS units and is much shorter than Long/Lat references to write down or enter.

    Hope that is of interest to you.

    Doug
  • Mike403Mike403 Posts: 21 [Outstanding Explorer]
    Thanks Douglas. Sounds like the LatLong website works in the same way. We managed to use it (plus the TomTom) to find the front door of our hotels!
  • CatNipCatNip Posts: 479 [Renowned Wayfarer]
    DougLap wrote:
    Hi Mike403
    You mentioned that you were having problems with the Postcode resulting in you not arriving at the exact point you require. This can be exaggerated in rural areas where Postcodes cover quite large areas and is a problem for all Satnavs. We have a Campsite we visit and there is no way on any Satnave a Postcode would find it.

    Can I suggest that you look at the Mapcode Website where you can enter postcodes or Long and Lat onto a map then you can then search to identify the exact point you wish to go to. For example on the PC version you can view on Google Maps on the Mapcodes site and on the OIS app you can view on a Hybrid map which is similar.

    As an example if you type in Buckingham Palace you can view it on the map. Then on both the PC version and the Mobile phone version you can refine your position to say the Middle Gate at the front and it will show you the Long/Lat and the Mapcode. The latter is DH.FX which if I type into my GO5000 it takes me exactly to that gate. The accuracy is nearly good enough to identify a Parking place in a car park. I assume it will work on your GO6200 and I find it is a useful addition and works worldwide. This facility is not available on other GPS units and is much shorter than Long/Lat references to write down or enter.
    Yes!

    I'd like to expand or reiterate on this with reference to the OP's complaint about his satnav not finding a hotel by using it's postcode or address. I'd like to ask how could it?

    There is a very important point here about Satnavs and what they do. They tell you where you are on the Earth's surface by GPS Coordinates of Latitude and Longitude. They actually don't know where you live, they don't really know where your hotel is etc. How could they?

    Obviously any particular address IS physically located at some place on the Earth at some latitude xxx and longitude yyy (unless a mobile home!). But the address and or postcode are NOT that place! A postcode CAN get you to an exact destination - it depends. Where I live, my postcode plus my house number WILL get you to my home, but only because of the particularities of where I live and my postcode. This is simply not always the case.

    A guess a lot of people, given an address and postcode for a location unknown to them simply jump in the car, bung in the postcode, drive off and either arrive at their destination, or don't. This can work but it doesn't have to...

    To repeat, the satnav only really knows about GPS coordinates. So, to get to an exact destination you would need to put the correct GPS coordinates into the device to reliably get there. Now this is not usually very convenient: Destinations don't usually know there GPS coordinates, still less quote them, they are also inconvenient for people to handle directly.

    But one way or another, to get say to your hotel front door you need to tell your satnav where exactly that is. This really demands planning for any new destination. If you have the address or postcode use that on your satnav to get to the right area then, can you then find the hotel as a POI on your satnav? If so use that, hoping it IS at the right GPS coordinates! As mentioned in the quote above, you may be able to find the hotel location on Google Maps, Mydrive etc and transfer it's (GPS) location to your TomTom.

    I have an 'old fashioned' Start 25 (NAV 3) so I would also use the Mapcode map, which, as mentioned above accepts as input: GPS coordinates, postcodes, addresses and Mapcodes (now even RoI Eircodes!). Here I can find exactly where I want to arrive, even looking at a car park entrance via the satellite view, placing the map locator exactly on the required spot, reading off the Mapcode (which IS a physical location, but much easier for a human to handle, remember, record, enter than GPS coordinates) and then entering that into my TomTom.

    Now if only destinations knew and quoted their Mapcodes... :8
  • Mike403Mike403 Posts: 21 [Outstanding Explorer]
    .. and your point is? This is what I did using 'LatLong' to obtain coordinates (although Doug's suggestion about Mapcodes sounds a neater solution. Thanks Doug.)
    My point is that something like this could be incorporated with 'MyDrive' to provide a more complete 'TomTom' solution to this issue, rather than relying on third party material.
  • CatNipCatNip Posts: 479 [Renowned Wayfarer]
    Mike403 wrote:
    .. and your point is? This is what I did using 'LatLong' to obtain coordinates (although Doug's suggestion about Mapcodes sounds a neater solution. Thanks Doug.)
    My "point" was the difference between an address of somewhere and it's actual physical location by latitude and longitude. Recognising this fact is, IMO, the prime thing needed to be understood by all we users of satnavs.

    My practical suggestion was identical to that made by Doug, with whom I was agreeing!
    Mike403 wrote:
    My point is that something like this could be incorporated with 'MyDrive' to provide a more complete 'TomTom' solution to this issue, rather than relying on third party material.
    Maybe it could or should. But I don't use MyDrive as I don't have an over the air TomTom. So one way or another, if you cannot find the physical location of an unfamiliar destination address directly via your TomTom (i.e. by POI) then you need to use SOMETHING else to provide the link between the human side (address, postcode) and the physical side (TomTom, GPS coordinates). TomTom provide MyDrive to do this (with which I am unfamiliar) I don't know if this allows satellite views in addition to a map (as Google Maps and Mapcode do) to pin down exactly where you want to go. If I need to I use Mapcode and put the Mapcode manually into my TomTom.

    But without this human step to find the exact physical spot (GPS coordinates or Mapcode) in advance then, simply using a postcode, you just arrive where you arrive and have to discover the exact spot on the ground for yourself, after you get there. Just like you would if you turned up on foot after a bus journey to the area.
  • Mike403Mike403 Posts: 21 [Outstanding Explorer]
    Thank you for your thoughts. This was something that I identified early on as key to being able to use the TomTom SatNav to get accurately from place to place in our touring holiday of the USA.
  • CatNipCatNip Posts: 479 [Renowned Wayfarer]
    Having had a quick look at MyDrive again it doesn't seem to me to offer satellite views, only map views, and I see no sign of Mapcodes. Presumably it relies on getting the GPS coordinates from the map (and or routes) directly transmitted to the TomTom device.

    I would find a satellite view a very useful addition to the map. Otherwise you have to rely on its accuracy and detail and relevant POIs. Of course, for older TomToms, support for Mapcodes would make it at least useful. And to think Mapcodes were invented inside TomTom in the first place!

    Think I'll stick to using the Mapcode site. :)
  • DougLapDougLap Posts: 2,308 Superuser
    Hi Catnip

    It has been noted elsewhere that Mapcodes are not working on MyDrive at the moment.

    On the question of Postcodes on the continent their equivalent can easily cover a complete Village or small town. As I have said there is a Postcode for a Campsite that if input will take you to a point nearly 1/2 a mile away. The problem is that the site does not have a sign at the turn off from the Road which was the reason we finished in the middle of the village with another couple who couldn't find it either. On the Mapcode app you can see the vans parked on the site and can work out how to get into it and so can programme a Mapcode to take you to the entrance.

    Campsite Post Code TN26 2DE Mapcode for Site Entrance RY4.H2N

    Doug
  • YamFazManYamFazMan Posts: 14,351 Superusers
    Hi
    For me, the search engine in MyDriveWeb (v1) Route planner for the UK was perfect before the change to give POIs total priority over Addresses and Postcodes ...

    (1)... If I typed a postcode the map zoomed to the centre of the postcode area
    (2)... if I typed a house number + postcode the map zoomed to the position of the house within the road
    (3)... If the postcode was for a single Building/Business/Farm the location was more or less correct

    Now Using MyDriveWeb (v2) Route Planner...
    Type in a postcode and all you get are lists of Pointless POIs

    Tomtom knows my Postcode, the house numbers either side of my house
    But not my house number
    Plus My Drive Web has no knowledge of a random 50% of the other house numbers on the road

    ATB YFM
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