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TomTom beats the drums for its own map-based ecosystem

The company, best known for its auto navigation systems, wants developers to build map apps. And thus it's opening up map display, routing, and traffic details for use.

TomTom is available on mobile devices, including Android. Screenshot by Shara Tibken/CNET
TomTom, the company best known for its auto navigation systems, has opened its mapping data for app developers, making it easier for companies to make programs that could rival those from Google and Apple.

The company, which is one of the main data providers for Apple's Maps app, says it's providing access to its location and navigation services, including map display, routing, and traffic details.

TomTom noted its program, dubbed the TomTom Location Based Services Platform and Developer Portal, will expand its capabilities over time.

It currently includes the following content and services:
  • Map Toolkit API with a map display Web service, a geocoding Web service, routing Web service, and traffic Web service
  • Downloadable iOS, Android, and JavaScript software development kits
  • Cloud-based performance and scalability for constant access
  • Management tools that make it easy for developers to track usage

TomTom is one of the world's biggest navigation product makers. Like its rivals, it has struggled as more people use their smartphones and tablets to find their way round. It supplies maps and related content to the majority of handset makers, including Apple, RIM, HTC, Samsung, and Google, but the new developer program could boost its customer base even further.

Reuters noted that the new program is free on a trial basis, but it charges a fee if developers use the data for commercial purposes.