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TomTom maps in North West Spain

 
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qkjb
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:05 pm    Post subject: TomTom maps in North West Spain Reply with quote

I can't find that this topic has been raised before but if it has I apologise.

My wife and I have just returned from a holiday in North West Spain visiting family. We booked the ferry to Santander, updated to the latest Europe maps and chose to follow the 400 mile coastal route rather than a 20 minute faster route inland. Last time we did this route 10 years ago the Spanish were building a brand new motorway system which promised to make the journey simple and we thought it would be fun and interesting. Oh how we were wrong. TomTom created a seamless route down the new motor system and off we went. I had always read that the map providers won't put roads on their maps until they or the representatives had driven down them. That I am afraid is dangerous nonsense. Motorways that should have been there were often still being blasted out of the mountainside and were a figment of imagination - motorways that did exist were shut off for some reason, often to enable the huge viaduct building fest that this part of Spain was undergoing but seems to have come to a halt - and there seems to be a points system allocated to creating new roundabouts which appear on TomTom but not in real life. Sometimes they are real but not on TomTom. On one occasion we were directed to join a motorway travelling the wrong way, and on another, TomTom endlessly looped us between two roundabouts 3 km apart until we just took the one road we hadn't tried and forced a new route to be created.
And we weren't alone. Lorry drivers with Spanish plates and other motorists followed each other in the hope that someone knew where they were going. In the end we resorted to using an old map book and did it the old way across country.
There were other interesting detours that we were given but I won't bore you with those and one incredibly dangerous incident where the motorway was suddenly closed with pink plastic boxes and no previous warning of it happening or detour advice given. The motor way route is the main road system from Santander towards A Coruna and onwards to Vigo so I am not referring to some backwoods route through the mountains although we did get sent on one of those.
I am well aware that you should not follow a Sat Nav slavishly. Moreover I have driven in Spain most years, the North West in particular but this latest experience was so bad that I have to question if TomTom even bothered to check the information at all. They certainly could not have driven down the route - in a large part it simply did not exist. They seem to have used a Highways Authority plan of what might exist sometime in the future.
On the way back we took the boring but inland route which we have used before and everything was OK but I could have done that without a Sat Nav.
I haven't written to TomTom yet - but I will - because as always I will appreciate the views of this forum first. What a dangerous and stupid thing for them to publish.

If anyone else is taking that route from Santander this summer, please pm me and I will give you greater detail.

Any thoughts from the Mods on European map accuracy before I have a go at TomTom?
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johnm52
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you don't supply any routing info other than Santander to Vigo, I have had to guess at some of the roads used.

Google Earth will give a Northern Route, seamlessly directing you along the A8/E70. Closer examination shows that this AutovŪa del CantŠbrico changes from dual carriageway/motorway type road to two lane National Route N634/E70. The motorway building is not complete; there are lots of roundabouts which link the end of the motorway as currently built to main roads in the area. One such section is about three km south west of Valdes, near to LA Granda. There are future road lines on the map but a large interchange to put traffic back onto the national route.

Each change of road type is not listed separately in Google Earth so I would expect it to show similar seamless routing in TomTom. I expect neither of these is showing the route to be motorway all the way, and with ongoing construction perhaps no mapping system is accurate.

I have no experience of that area, but similar knowledge of road building programmes in France meant that new bits of road appeared every time you travelled the same route.

I really don't think that a closure as you describe with plastic boxes is going to be forecast by any navigation ssytem... sounds as though the local authority might have had difficulty knowing about it!
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qkjb
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi johnm52,

Thanks for taking the trouble to reply.

The purpose of my post was to point out how inaccurate the TomTom maps were on this occasion. My Sat Nav system relies on Tele Atlas maps, not Google Earth and they are supposed to be no more than 3 months old when you buy them. Google Earth maps can be up to three years old.

I expect new roads to appear when I drive on the auto route system in Europe - it's where a lot of our contribution payments to the EEC goes - what I don't expect is Tele Atlas to include the ones that aren't built yet as roads to be used in planning my journey. It took a long time for the M6 toll road in the UK to even appear on their maps long after it had been completed so why is Spain different? It wasn't one small section of our journey either. It was inaccurate over nearly 200 miles.

The point about the pink plastic boxes is that they shut off an auto route which ultimately will lead to a new viaduct now under construction. Tele Atlas showed it as completed and part of my route when in fact it stopped in mid air. Incidentally, because of the multiplicity of regional authorities and government, each area is responsible for it's own section of roads. It is their responsibility to say that that the was road closed and dangerous that they didn't. 43 people died on the roads over the Easter holiday weekend and that wasn't a one off. Spain is a dangerous enough place to drive with this sort of thing.

I pay to have the latest European maps from TomTom refreshed every 3 months and I don't expect the routes to be fictional. Sorry to be so grumpy after you had taken the trouble to reply but having relied on TomTom a lot in Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland and France ever since they were first manufactured, this was my first really bad experience with route planning.
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Andy_P
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

qkjb wrote:
My Sat Nav system relies on Tele Atlas maps, not Google Earth and they are supposed to be no more than 3 months old when you buy them. Google Earth maps can be up to three years old.


I'm afraid you are labouring under a misapprehension there.....

TomTom maps are released every three months - that's true.
But there is no way they are "up to date" at the moment they are released to the public.

Even in the best possible circumstances, corrections usually take around 6-9 months to filter through from the authorities or the mapping vans to the map makers to the TomTom's own maps. Often it is significantly longer.

However that is no excuse for them not checking properly before including changes when the authorities have given them data too early.
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qkjb
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Andy,

I have perhaps misused the expression up-to-date so forgive me. I fully accept that a road should not be on a Tele Atlas map until they have confirmed it exists and that can take up to 9 months or more. The point I was making was that it was impossible for a mapping van to drive down the route because not all of it did exist. It rather destroyed the concept of Sat Nav by having to revert to a 7 year old paper map to get onto a main road.

I must confess I was under the illusion that I was paying for up-to-date map information of what actually existed even if several months old rather than what might exist at some time in the future.
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JaguarV12e
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

qkjb wrote:
Thanks Andy,
I fully accept that a road should not be on a Tele Atlas map until they have confirmed it exists and that can take up to 9 months or more. The point I was making was that it was impossible for a mapping van to drive down the route

Have you ever seen Tele Atlas / Tomtom claim that they drive every road on the map? I don't think they have ever claimed that. Perhaps Navteq did a few years ago.
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mpwilson99
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaguarV12e wrote:
qkjb wrote:
Thanks Andy,
I fully accept that a road should not be on a Tele Atlas map until they have confirmed it exists and that can take up to 9 months or more. The point I was making was that it was impossible for a mapping van to drive down the route

Have you ever seen Tele Atlas / Tomtom claim that they drive every road on the map? I don't think they have ever claimed that. Perhaps Navteq did a few years ago.


I still know of 3 local roads which are included in the Navteq v6.75.1322 map, but are still not in v865.xxxx Teleatlas.

Co-in, I use v675.1322 for my drives to Spain without a hitch ( via Le Perthus ) It is only when i get there I change over to the latest v8.xx map when it takes me down dust tracks!
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qkjb
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In response to JaguarV12e

Quote:
Have you ever seen Tele Atlas / Tomtom claim that they drive every road on the map? I don't think they have ever claimed that. Perhaps Navteq did a few years ago.


Here is a quote from TomTom's own map selling page taken today, 23-5-11



Quote:
Tele Atlas has extensive survey teams constantly out surveying new roads, changed roads, POI positioning and accuracy, map errors, etc. Each change and fix is then checked before being built into the next map release. TomTom predominantly uses Tele Atlas maps, then compiles the map vendor release (i.e. compresses it into a TomTom proprietary and specific format) and has it error-checked by TomTomís own Quality Assurance team. This complex and labour-intensive process can mean it is several months before a map vendorís new release is ready and fit for use in a TomTom product.


They couldn't have done this because the roads, in some cases, didn't exist. I wonder whether some of the posters who think I am expecting too much of TomTom maps would have been just as relaxed if parts of the M1 or M6 suddenly disappeared from an up-to-date TT map ? We waited long enough for the M6 Toll road to appear long after it had been finished but parts of these motor ways in Spain, on the maps, simply don't exist - yet!
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technik
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

qkjb wrote:
I wonder whether some of the posters who think I am expecting too much of TomTom maps would have been just as relaxed if parts of the M1 or M6 suddenly disappeared from an up-to-date TT map ?


The impression given by users, is that Tele Atlas rely on people that use the roads to report to them any missing roads or changes. If the roads are quite new then I am not surprised they don't appear on TomTom's 'latest' maps.

It took Tele Atlas 4 years to reply to tell me they are going to add a road change, so good luck with expecting it in 9 months. Rolling Eyes Laughing
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qkjb
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This problem is actually the other way round. They showed a completed motor way on their map when in fact it was still being blasted out of the mountain side. We got diverted off onto a dirt track and eventually joined a minor road that was on the map.

Today Tele Atlas advised me that they had agreed a road amendment that I had notified them of three years ago so I understand your point BUT on the Spanish map they are showing a motor way that doesn't yet exist. According to TomTom every new road is checked out by Tele Atlas first before it goes on the map but that cannot be true.
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JaguarV12e
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

qkjb wrote:
In response to JaguarV12e

Quote:
Have you ever seen Tele Atlas / Tomtom claim that they drive every road on the map? I don't think they have ever claimed that. Perhaps Navteq did a few years ago.


Here is a quote from TomTom's own map selling page taken today, 23-5-11



Quote:
Tele Atlas has extensive survey teams constantly out surveying new roads, changed roads, POI positioning and accuracy, map errors, etc. Each change and fix is then checked before being built into the next map release. TomTom predominantly uses Tele Atlas maps, then compiles the map vendor release (i.e. compresses it into a TomTom proprietary and specific format) and has it error-checked by TomTomís own Quality Assurance team. This complex and labour-intensive process can mean it is several months before a map vendorís new release is ready and fit for use in a TomTom product.


That quote does not say that Tomtom don't use other data sources or physically inspect new roads, it just says that they check corrections that come from their survy teams.
I believe that a large proportion of map changes are sourced from official maps of planned road construction, and in this case checking might involve a second person verifying the documents.

In general UK users are spoilt by how good the Teleatlas maps of the UK are compared to other countries, I know towns in France where the Teleatlas maps have features that are at least 100 years out of date.
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AliOnHols
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My TomTom regularly tries to send me along the unfinished/barely started, A2 near Girona. It's been like this for at least 4 years and shows no signs of changing in the foreseeable future.

Although similar occurrences have caused me a lot of grief in the past I blame local governments more than I blame TomTom who are Damned if they do and Damned if they don't.
After years of being justifiably criticised for not updating their maps quickly enough I guess that TomTom tried to jump ahead of the game by plotting major roads under construction. The recession arrived which halted a lot of engineering/construction works and left us with incomplete maps.

Edited to add---

But now i think about it further, I guess that they should at least "block" the road in future map releases. Ok, I blame TomTom also. Embarassed
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qkjb
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi AliOnHols,

Thanks very much for those comments. I was beginning to think it was just me.

I certainly go along with the view that the recession has halted a lot of the road construction. There was a part of the motor way which crossed a valley and used a fairly straight forward bridge. They had decided to build a rather swish viaduct instead and it had come to a complete halt in the middle. Neither the bridge or motorway was in use as a result. My Spanish relatives tell me that there will be a lot of uncompleted road systems from here on, particularly in North West Spain. Public service employees are about to have their second pay cut (not freeze but cut) and the system whereby they get 14 salary payments a year (one extra in June and one at Christmas) has also stopped. I guess roads are at the bottom of the agenda and who can blame them. (Except old and grumpy TomTom owners)

Also thanks for the picture. I wish I had taken one of the road still being blasted out of the mountainside.
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