Help Forum

Help requested posted on 31st August 2012:

Sat Nav Directions

Does anyone have any knowledge or advice on how we can encourage Sat Nav companies to direct some vehicles away from innapropriate routes? We have had several complaints in particular about HGVs using inappropriate routes, or even ignoring warning signs because their sat nav has directed them down a particular route. Any advice or thoughts would be helpful.

Brian Cargill
Perth & Kinross Council

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Response posted on 4th September 2012 by:
Katie Brimley
Essex County Council
T: 01245 437781 Ext: 51781

Sat Navs

Im certainly no expert on this but passed this on to a colleague who has had a bit of experience in this with the Army & Navy flyover in Chelmsford. I understand that the suggestion is to contact the sat nav companies direct. Each company (and several are one company with more than one brand) has their own web site where a member of the public can enter info to "improve" the maps. A couple of companies were even open to useful exchanges about how best to resolve the problem.

What must be remembered is the companies & their map suppliers can only improve the maps from the next map release, and many sat nav owners do not update their maps often enough. In addition as the issue is LGV's I would expect many have not purchased a sat nav for use in such a vehicle (you can program the size & weight of the vehicle and a route will be plotted to avoid weight/width restrictions) so they are using a normal sat nav or phone app.

Katie Brimley
Road Safety Manager
Essex County Council

Response posted on 6th September 2012 by:
Jon Benson
Highways Agency Safety Team
T: 01872 324857

Sat Nav

In my previous life we had similier issues of LGV taking the direct but not suitable route. Whilst I have not researched there was at the time (2002 ish?+) signs being trialed on enter points in to specific routes,and were in process of seeking approval with DFT to advise sat nav users that specific routes were not suitable for LCV. Whilst this might not address the sat nav companies it is a quick and affective solution. I know Caravan club have dealings with "Snooper" who have specificlly designed their map/vehicle programme for caravan/motor home users to be able to enter their outfit and get safe routes. Might be worth a start. Regards

Response posted on 6th September 2012 by:
Marcus Ambler
T-Kartor G B Limited
T: 08443814841

Sat Nav Directions

Hi Brian
This is a common problem. The companies that produce Sat Nav devices tend to rely on data from large mapping firms such as Teleatlas and Navteq. Both of these mapping firms are now actually onwed by Sat nav companies.
Mappign data is gathered from various sources. If the mapping data is not accurate and invariably it isn't, then the sat nav device will not be able to direct you properly.
Furthermore, if the routing engine on the sat nav device is optimised to direct you using a certain set of rules, then the options the device will provide you with will be governed by said rules. Needless to say, they are not always appropriate. There are many horror stories associted with large artculated lorries being send up what is nothing more than a bridleway.
At T-kartor we are currently addressing the issue of routing and mapping for walking and cycling journeys. This link will provide more information
We will in due course also look at car and hgv routing/mapping.
If you require any further information,please don't hesitate to call me.
Marcus Ambler
T-kartor G B

Response posted on 7th September 2012 by:
Chris Broadbent
Cumbria Road Safety Partnership
T: n/a

Sat Navs

Apparently there is one company which is responsible for the underlying data used in sat nav systems. They gather data in from a variety of sources, including oridinance survey, and this data gives the a national road network with info on any restrictions which may exist. Some roads are given an importance rating which is how your sat nav tells you which way to go.

So, theoretically it should be right every time but of course it isn't due in part to the absence of any local knowledge in establishing the most suitable routes. The problem is made worse when HGV drivers use a sat nav designed for in-car use as the machine doesn't know it is in an HGV and therefore ignores all the HGV restrictions. Some newer sat nav's allow the driver to input vehicle details and amend routes accordingly but this is reliant on drivers bothering.

Apparently few haulage firms have sat nav as standard in their vehicles, so commonly drivers use their personal ones. Tyne and Wear Freight Partnership did some work with a manufacturer to offer firms a bespoke HGV sat nav system but firms said it was too expensive.

DfT have held a 'sat nav summit' back in March to try to encourage the data companies to talk to the local authorities and to speed up the exchange of info, but I'm told DfT have shied away from taking any active lead. The summit was co-chaired by ITS(UK) and ADEPT so the person making the original enquiry might want to speak to them.

Hope that all makes sense.
Andy Harper
(via Chris Broadbent)

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