When TomTom begins to move its intellectual property to the web so it’s available to everyone, everywhere, you can gather where the company believes the portable navigation device industry is going. Starting this week, TomTom’s web-based Route Planner will be rolling out in closed beta. If it succeeds it’ll eventually roll out across the globe, but right now it’ll be available in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch–a definite European focus, appropriate as that’s where the company dominates.
Route Planner will allow you to pre-plan a trip on the web, finding a fairly precise travel time and arrival time prediction before you head out the door. TomTom will incorporate some of the features typical of its mid-range and high-end devices into the web platform as well. Your travel times will be estimated using historical traffic data from IQ Routes and real-time traffic information from TomTom HD in available countries–Germany, UK, France, Netherlands and Switzerland–and possibly GPRS/TMC in others. Map corrections from TomTom’s MapShare program, which allows people like you and me to add map fixes, will also be uploaded to Route Planner on a regular basis, an added measure of route planning precision.
If you’d like apply for a beta invitation to TomTom’s online Route Planner, just head over to its website.