Exploring Local
Mike Dobson of TeleMapics on Local Search and All Things Geospatial

Beating A Horse I Thought Was Dead

February 18th, 2010 by MDob

I had thought that maybe I would be able to move on to some ideas about local mapping, but I received a comment from Don today (Don is a member of the GIS Hall of Fame and a friend that I have known for a long time), “chastising” me about the fact that I left TeleAtlas out of my last blog and letting me know that I should look at TA’s version of the intersection in Providence on routes.tomtom.com. Don is an authority, so I thought I had better take a look. I did and now we won’t be able to move on to a new topic until next time. Blame Don.

Don, I did not include TA maps in my blog because I could not remember anyone of note who used TA data in North America for their online mapping. In addition, although I have a TomTom PND, my experience with it (more specifically the software in it and the abysmal level of customer service) has led me to abandon it, so using it was not an option to view the I-195 realignment. I agree, however, I should have been more comprehensive in my search for examples of the realignment of I-195 in Providence and for that, I apologize. I remedy that omission below and would welcome any further thoughts you have on the topic.

There is an additional piece of information that all of you should know concerning the blog in which I discussed the Providence realignment. I gave a thanks to “Jim” in the original blog on this topic. Jim Donahue sent me a personal note on the realignment of I-195 in Providence. He informed me of several interesting issues.

Jim indicated “…the Rte 95 and Rte 195 interchange has been completely moved and redesigned. In early November, the work was completed as far as the ramps and such so that the old maps were 100% wrong at that point.”

Jim continued, “… the Navteq and TeleAtlas maps show 50% of the work completed at this point.” Jim even noted, “… that several mapping sources were showing traffic flows at night on sections of the roadway that were being shut down in the evening for dismantling.”

In a further communication to me, Jim noted that he and others he knows allow TomTom to download their GPS traces, but that TomTom/TeleAtlas have not yet fully updated their maps. In addition, Jim added “I’m not sure how they figure people are flying over water these days.”

Obviously, I am not located in Providence or I would be getting up earlier in the morning. My information, therefore, is second hand, but I believe it to be correct. To confirm the information, I called the Providence DOT and their representative assured me that the old I-195 loop to the north had been closed and is currently being demolished. All traffic is now flowing across the new bridge to the south. In addition, I wrote Jim Donahue, my original source and asked him the same question. His reply was “The old ‘loop’ was closed in November. All traffic now travels over the new bridge. There are still some exits that they are working on but the main roadway is completed and up and running. As I said before they are tearing down the old roadway right now at night.”

Now back to Don and beating a dead horse – I admit that I looked at Don’s comment early in the morning (well, early for me) and then went to the routes.tomtom.com website in search of the intersection. Here is what I found. The TomTom map shows the old north loop of I-195 as part of the transportation network. The north loop has been closed and is being demolished.

TomTom's representation of the i-195 realignment in Providence as of 2-18-2010

Here is the relalignment as shown by OpenStreetMap and they seem to have it right

OSM seems to have the realignment correctly mapped

Once again, here one of the advisory maps put out by the Providence DOT.

Rhode Island DOT's thoughts about the realignment

And here is an impossible route from the east to I-195 south using the TomTom routing website.

A route from west to east using the highway that is closed and being demolished

And here is a screenshot of traffic.com taken this morning showing traffic flowing on the old north loop of I-195 that has been closed and is being demolished.

An image screen captured today, showing traffic on the now closed and being demolished north loop of I-195

As I said at the end of the first blog on the Providence, realignment, there has to be a better way of gathering local map data. Maybe it is OSM, maybe it is something else. More next time.

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Posted in crowdsourced map data, Mapping, Mike Dobson, Navteq, openstreetmap, routing and navigation, TeleAtlas, TomTom

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