Inaccurate Guidance in Southern California?

Jan 23, 2009
Has anyone else noticed that the street and freeway guidance in Southern California is woefully inaccurate?

The most glaring problem is that the TomTom does not consistently or correctly identify the freeways in this region. Sometimes freeways are correctly indicated by their number, such as I-405. But other times, the number is missing, replaced by an obscure name that nobody knows and which no sign bears. For example, the device routinely tells me to take the "Corona Del Mar Freeway." To my knowledge, no sign references this freeway. Locals certainly don't know it by that name -- rather, it's the 73.

Even worse, sometimes the device doesn't show any name AT ALL for the freeway until you're already on it. Instead of showing you that your next turn is "CA-55 North" (which any decent nav system would do), it just displays a green box with the word "Riverside" on it. Now, as a local I happen to know that the northbound 55 will put you on your way to Riverside -- but a nav system shouldn't require that kind of background knowledge.

In a similar vein, the TomTom often fails to tell me what street I'm turning on. For example, it will show a right turn in 0.7 miles. But if I look to the upper-right area of the display, it shows nonsense! Sometimes it shows the name of the street I am ALREADY ON. Other times, it shows a destination that has nothing to do with my next turn. For example, it routinely tells me to make a left turn toward "San Diego". Huh? San Diego is two hours away! And on this particular route, I'm not even getting on a freeway -- we're just talking about local side streets here. I can't figure out how the TomTom could possibly think I should be on the lookout for San Diego.

I think it's a beautiful device, and one that has a lot of potential. But it boggles my mind to think that TomTom overlooked the most basic purpose of a nav system: to tell you where you're going! I have a BMW OEM nav system from 2001 (ancient), which works flawlessly and ALWAYS shows me, correctly, what freeway or road I'll be approaching next.

Is anyone else having this problem? I've got Navcore 8.3 and an 8.15 map.
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Same issues in the Bay Area. 101 south of San Francisco and 80 at the Bay Bridge are called names I have never (or seldom) ever hear. Has anyone ever heard of the James Lick Freeway?
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I have heard of the James Lick Freeway - it is mentioned occasionally in traffic reports. it is not real helpful when they use that designation though.

What map version, app version, and "voice' are you using currently in LA area ?
I think it's under voice preferences to read highway numbers or road numbers. Is that checked or not?
Tomtom doesn't do a great job with highway names, especially onramps. But I've seen that on most nav systems.

Tomtom does let you change the road names in mapshare (although you have to do it one at a time), and all future navigation will use the updated name.

And the "show numbers" preference may help you too.
Here's my info:

Application version: 8.300
Map: 'North_America_2GB' v815.2019
Voice: Paul (New Zealand)

I've only been using human voices. I would like to use computer voices, but the pronunciation is so bad that roads and cities are unrecognizable (and painful to hear). San Deigo becomes "SandieGAHH." Santa Monica becomes "SanWaNeeka." The computer even sputters over words that should already be in its vocabulary, such as "Northbound" (pronounced "Northba-aound".)

It really seems to me that TomTom's development team chose to prioritize skins, changeable icons, MP3 playback and other fun goodies over basic navigation capabilities.

As I was saying above, our old BMW nav system performs flawlessly in showing us the name of the next road or the next freeway number. It shouldn't be that difficult, when you think about it. If you plot a route on Google Maps, do you get nonsense? No. The Maps engine is able to tell you to take "I-405 North" for 13.7 miles and to "Merge left on I-605 North". What is wrong with TomTom's map data that makes it screw up the basics? Is it because TeleAtlas is just vastly inferior to Navteq in the U.S.?

I would also forgive the poor pronunciation, but *excellent* street pronunciation is available from VZ Navigator. Anyone ever used it? It pronounces 99% of local streets exactly the way they are pronounced locally. Honestly, text-to-speech is nothing new. It just seems to me that TomTom tried to save a few bucks when it contracted with Loquendo.



I haven't found any solutions yet, but I think I've figured out a big part of the problem. I think the "next signpost" information is covering up the next street instruction! I looked through my owner's manual. From the images in it, it looks like the next street is supposed to show up in a dedicated strip along the bottom of the screen, while signposts and other general direction info is displayed in the upper right.

My unit doesn't work that way! There is no space for the next street at the bottom of the screen. Rather, the next street seems to share the same place as the "next signpost" - the upper right of the display. They are both competing for space, and the sign wins. Which is why I get nonsense directions like turn left on "San Diego".

Is anyone else having this issue? I played with all the settings but I can't make the next street appear at the bottom of the screen, as shown in the user guide.


If you have firmware 8.3, the next street has indeed been moved to the upper right of the screen. And, if the street has a very long name, you'll find the font size is very small as it appears on screen.

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