TomTom on Openmoko?

Christ van Willegen cvwillegen at
Thu Mar 27 19:14:40 CET 2008

On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 6:05 PM, David Pottage <david at> wrote:
>  On Thu, March 27, 2008 1:33 pm, Christ van Willegen wrote:
>  > Have you seen the progress that's been made in The Netherlands?
>  >
>  > i.e.:
>  >
>  > (yes, there are houses on there...)
>  It is very good. Presumably data from a Dutch publicly funded mapping
>  agency has been uploaded into the OSM databases.

The data has been gven away by a corporation called AND. The houses
were sketched in using Yahoo's (free) imagery and a week of someone's
free time.

>  By comparison if you zoom out an scroll south until you get to the border
>  with Belgium, the situation is very different. Major towns are just dots
>  on the map with perhaps the road thought the center but nothing else. The
>  situation for France appears to be even worse. The motorway network
>  appears to be complete, but much of the national trunk road network is
>  missing, let alone most towns and local roads. If you attempted to use an
>  OSM based satellite navigation system for a journey across France you
>  would not get very far.

I agree totally.

>  What I am saying is that the OSM project looks promising and is a great
>  idea, but without major contributions from big publicly funded databases
>  it is only ever going to be a collection of small areas with good detail
>  separated by vast areas where just major roads are shown. Unlike a
>  software project like Linux the contributions from a few hundread talented
>  developers will never be enough. Unless a public body pays for it, The
>  only way for a particular town to get mapped is for an OSM enthusiast
>  _in_that_town_ to spend a lot of their time recording routes along every
>  street, and then editing it all together. I just don't think there will be
>  enough enthusiasts do do that outside major university towns.

Not quite...

In january 2009, The Netherlands (or at least, the government) will
open its own road database, because European law tells them to do so.
I expect taht France, Belgium (excusez le mot) and Poland will have to
follow as well. That means, that (if they are indeed forced by
European law) starting in 2009 OSM will have coverage for Europa, USA,
India and China at the least (the latter 2 datasets were also given
away to OSM by AND). Which is quite a big part of the world.

It isn't everything, though, and the situation will have to become a
lot better before the OSM data set bevomes large enough to be a major
player in the martket. But, I expect it will be, since the FreeRunner
will do everything it can do make the database better and better (or
won't it?)

Still, the way I see it is that TomTom uses its proprietary map
format, and even though they have MapShare nowadays (users get to
update maps on theur devices, and upload this data to TomTom for their
own usage), they remain closed to this day. I just hope that the
governments can be persuaded to give away their databases (after all,
it's my tax money that's in there!) so thet OSM can thrive.

Christ van Willegen
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