Driving change for our maps – Why the Navigation Data Standard Unit excites Java engineers
Editorial team
Apr 1, 2021
Life at TomTom

Driving change for our maps – Why the Navigation Data Standard Unit excites Java engineers

Editorial team
TomTom Blog
Apr 1, 20216 min read
Meet our Navigation Data Standard Unit
Things that were originally left to science-fiction writers are now becoming a reality: ADAS, autonomous driving, interconnected devices, and more. But all these revolutionary technologies require a framework to manage them. This is where the Navigation Data Standard (NDS) comes in, and what our NDS Product Unit (PU NDS) specializes in.
You’re probably wondering what is the NDS and how does it relate to TomTom? Let’s start with the definition – NDS is a worldwide map standard that is shared between car manufacturers and, in our case, map data and navigation device/application providers. The significance of this for TomTom is the collaboration it inspires, as we work with our customers to deliver a seamless product.

This includes factors such as interoperability between devices, so our maps can be as easily accessible in your car as on your phone. NDS also requires accuracy from our maps – as they’re used all over the world by millions of users, they need to be regularly updated and efficient.

That means our data is shared between multiple sources and users. One source might be the sensor in a car, as these become increasingly autonomous. Before we know it, our data might be used in fully autonomous vehicles – the data will need to be as accurate as possible, so these cars can function in a safe and eco-friendly way.

This all factors into a primary challenge – managing all our data in order to deliver a high-quality map for our users, automotive systems, devices, at any given time. This task belongs to PU NDS and the Java engineers that make up its teams.



Dissecting the data problem with NDS

The popularity of the Navigation Data Standard offers PU NDS its biggest hurdle and its greatest rewards. With the huge number of users around the world, there’s incredible potential to introduce standardized products that make lives easier and more economical. But there are complications.

Firstly, all our data needs to be delivered faster. Then there are the updates requested by our users. These can be contradictory – one user will want a highway crossing added, the next will want it deleted, so we need to update both times and make sure there’s no crossover. Finally, there can be restrictions that need to be respected also, as even the most state-of-the-art database has its limitations.

How do we address all of this? By automating more and more of our processes. Industry 4.0 is still on the horizon, the ongoing fourth industrial revolution that introduces smart, automated technologies such as artificial intelligence into production processes.

We’re right at the center of this change, adopting more data-driven technologies from machine learning to enhance how quickly we can respond to our customers’ needs, to cloud technologies that improve the speed of our APIs, and subsequently our update delivery times. We’ve even started investing in NDS.Live, a distributed map data system to improve online map-based services such as ADAS and Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA).

These are just some examples of how we’re evolving. PU NDS is working hard, testing new technologies and developing exciting architectures to create maps that have a real impact on the lives of their users. This puts our Java engineers on the frontline of critical change. In order to succeed, we don’t just need the best solutions; we need a collaborative team that can find those solutions together. Like the Goonies, but techies.



Working together as an NDS team

As an engineer, you’ll know that no two days are the same. We’ve got experience with Java, Python, APIs, etc. But each use-case is unique – every customer wants a specific tweak to the map that suits their purpose. That’s why teams in PU NDS work closely together to get the job done, while collaborating with other product units throughout TomTom.

Consider a recent project involving our APIs. Online navigation’s potential is huge, particularly in relation to PU NDS – it offers the smoothest experience for our users, whether they’re in a car, on their phone, or using another device. But online navigation demands near-instant updates. So, PU NDS teamed up with PU CPP, PU Maps and PU NAV, using cloud technologies to improve map update times, making sure they fit in with the Navigation Data Standard.

The key takeaway here is that PU NDS is built on the idea of collaboration with our customers. But our projects also require real teamwork within TomTom as well. Each engineer has a unique skillset that makes the difference. As a Java engineer, you might hold the solution that someone else didn’t consider. Or you could be stuck and need some help in finalizing a sprint. Either way, the problem is shared as everyone is working towards the same goal.

If that’s a challenge that you’re interested in tackling, then perhaps PU NDS is the unit for you.



Joining NDS as a Java engineer

Engineering is exciting because it puts us in touch with the next big thing. We write the code which translates into a technology that’ll help move the world forward. Within PU NDS, you'd be doing that as part of a diverse, ambitious team.

You’ll have the freedom to pitch new ideas that’ll help us standardize, innovate and develop as a location technology company. Java isn’t the end of your contribution – you’ll be actively adding to a process which will lead to the automated systems, mobile applications and interconnected devices that are shaping how we see and navigate the world.

So, use your voice and share your ambitions with us. Apply for a position and take a step into the driver’s seat, as we use our map data to accelerate the automotive industry into its next stages.
Apply for a PU NDS position and we'll get in touch!

We're looking for Java engineers to join our NDS team, to bring the most innovative solutions to tackle global issues.
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