Tomtom - Tomtom Go 910

By: David Wood

Once GPS (global positioning systems), created originally for the United States military, hit the streets and citizens could use it for free all over the world, manufacturers of receivers mushroomed. One of those manufacturers is a Dutch company, TomTom NV. TomTom quickly became the leading manufacturer of navigation systems in Europe. In the United States and Canada, their slogan is "Go confidently." In the UK it's "Find your way the easy way."

With roads all over the world getting busier and the time it takes to get anywhere longer, tempers tend to flare. This is a good time for global positioning systems to become as common as Henry Ford's a car in every garage. TomTom leads the way in providing traffic reports so drivers can go around the bad spots as well as in alerting them to dangerous road conditions on their routes. TomTom traffic service is available in Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland the United Kingdom. Even if you are traveling from one country to another, one subscription guarantees that you will have services in that country.

TomTom markets four types of products:

*TomTom GO and ONE-portable models for automobile navigation.
*TomTom RIDER and TomTom RIDER 2-for motorcycle and motor scooter users.
*TomTom NAVIGATOR-software for PDAs and Pocket PCs.
*TomTom Mobile-software for cell phones.

Using a flying interface, the units offer an oblique bird's-eye view of the road. They also provide a direct-overhead map view. A GPS receiver shows precise location. It also gives visual and spoken directions for getting to the destination the operator has chosen. Some of their systems will integrate with cell phones using Bluetooth. Those that have this capability can access traffic-congestion maps, take calls, and read aloud SMS (short message service) messages.

"New" points of interest can be created on newer versions of TomTom as well as map-error corrections. If a user adds these, TomTom will provide them to other users for free. Some are verified by TomTom and are labeled as such. For now, only blocked streets that have been unblocked and traffic directions that are shown to be going the wrong direction can be changed. Street names can be edited and points of interest can be shared as well. These changes will come up instantly on the receiver they are created on. TomTom will make all other changes if they are sent in, and they will appear on future map updates.

TomTom Plus

For a fee, TomTom Plus will warn drivers about speed cameras, give weather updates, and provide traffic alerts. TomTom Plus only charges fees for these services in Europe; they are free in the US and Canada for now except for cameras. Another service provided by TomTom Plus is traffic data over a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone with Internet service or with an add-on aerial that picks up RDS (radio data system), broadcast on FM radio frequencies.

TomTom Plus Compatibility

Only specific cell phone models from AT&T Cingular and T-Mobile are compatible with TomTom Plus. Also, Internet service must be purchased through that cell-phone provider in addition to the plan from TomTom. The subscription cannot be enabled without a license code.

GPS Vehicle Tracking
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