It’s not exactly news any more, what is going to be really interesting is how good the quality is in comparison to products from companies like TomTom who have invested huge resources in learning how to analyse and interpret real time traffic data. They have a lot of data that traditionally Google doesn’t. This includes current data on speed zones, turn restrictions, road class, lanes on highways and much more, compiled by GIS specialists in conjunction with roading authorities, councils and driven data, together with in many cases, real time traffic control centres. They also subscribe to data from Fleet Management companies that have many vehicles on the road as well as the intelligence to identify the difference between a taxi and a street sweeper that always goes slow.
In addition to this, they have many years of historical data that can ensure that experiences I have had with Waze in the past are not experienced, for example reporting congestion, that is in fact normal traffic conditions for that location for that time of day. The only way you can get historical data is to buy it or collect it.
Just having the data doesn’t make it usable as Apple found when they decided to create their own map application for iPhone. It’s the math and the algorithms behind it. This is a science that whilst many of the principles haven’t changed, the incrremental improvements come from experience.
There is a lot of support for Waze because it is crowd-sourced and I really do like that concept myself, however when I am on my way to a meeting and there is something ahead of me that will impede my progress, I want to know that I can trust my device or application and from what I have experienced of the various options to date, I’ll be sticking with TomTom for now.
One other point, when you buy a device like a TomTom with a SIM Card, you have fixed costs for a year, built into the price, you know what it is going to cost you. If you are in an area where mobile data is expensive, using an application that delivers maps, and especially things like the 3D buildings and other cool features that Google’s Waze is now offering can be very expensive.
Don’t take my word for it. Close all your programs on your device except for Waze. Install or check your mobile data monitoring application or clear it, I use a free app from sigterm called Data Usage. Set your destination and drive. You might be shocked at how much data you use. I was, last time I did a 30 minute drive using Google Maps on my iPhone.