By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Digital map maker Tele Atlas released the first version of maps that incorporate changes suggested by users and hopes to expand the use of "community feedback" in maps in the future.
The newest Tele Atlas map release, called MultiNet version 2008.10, includes more than 50,000 user changes validated by other Tele Atlas sources, the company said. The maps should begin appearing in personal navigation devices (PNDs) in November.
Tele Atlas CEO Bill Henry said the company sees "community feedback" as a key way to update the 10 percent of maps that change annually, given that such data is "fresher" than many traditional map update sources.
Over the past 18 months, 4 million user changes have been submitted to PND maker TomTom, which purchased Tele Atlas in June. But only 50,000 user changes have been incorporated into Tele Atlas maps, about 20,000 in North America and the remainder in Europe, because the company focused on street name and road direction (one-way street changes) initially, Henry said. The company, however, plans to expand the program to other map attributes.
Tele Atlas' community feedback is generated by TomTom's MapShare feature, which lets user mark locations by pressing the PND screen and then noting changes such as an incorrect street name, which may be uploaded by connecting the PND to a PC.
Current users of Tele Atlas maps include Google, Microsoft, Mio, Blaupunkt and BMW.
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