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Crowdsourcing My Ride Home

This article was written by in Software. 4 comments.


Until now, I never paid much attention to the different companies and providers, but I’ve learned that not all GPS devices are equal. I’ve recently been tempted by the TomTom app for the iPhone, especially in connection with the car kit. Turn-by-turn directions, as well as charging my phone, and playing music through the car’s speakers? Yes, please.

visual

But I don’t just go throwing around $100 at every iPhone app. I figured it was at least worth a little research, and I found that one of TomTom’s special attractors is something they call IQ Routes. In short: they gather anonymous user data to provide:

… the driving experience of millions of TomTom users into your maps, calculating your route based on actual speeds driven on roads compared to speed limits. With TomTom IQ Routes you always get the smartest, most efficient route. Saving you time, fuel and money by driving like a local.

Much the same as GMail’s method of eliminating spam e-mail, TomTom “crowdsources” traffic routes in order to save you time. The good news is that you can try out their route planner for free right now and see if it can shed any light on some of your normal routes.

When I started my new job last November, I spent weeks trying different scenarios to and from work, and thought I had it nailed, so I was shocked when I tried the route planner and found a new way home that saved me 5 minutes.

And as we all know, time is money, and in this case, fuel. Give it a try yourself and let us know in the comments how it works out for you.

Updated December 22, 2011 and originally published September 1, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar PK

Ha the trip planner spells minimize wrong (minimise). Too bad the traffic conditions only work for now to now plus 30 minutes.

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avatar Josh B.

Of course, now Google is crowd-sourcing their traffic data as well:
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/bright-side-of-sitting-in-traffic.html

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avatar eli sarver

TomTom is from the UK, of course they spell minimise that way. And how is the tomtom supposed to give you traffic conditions beyond a half hour? Crystal ball?

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avatar Eric

If you do this get this app, can you update us? I’m sitting on the fence thinking about it too!

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