How Mike Gilbert is taking the map further at TomTom
Mehdi Comeau·Nov 22, 2023

How Mike Gilbert is taking the map further at TomTom

Mehdi Comeau blogjpeg
Mehdi Comeau
Nov 22, 2023 · 4 min read
How Mike Gilbert is taking the map further at TomTom | TomTom Newsroom

Meet Mike: the multi-talented Director of Product Management who’s taking a fresh approach to powering TomTom Maps. As a programmer, a pilot, an author and a speaker with decades of experience leading geospatial projects across Microsoft, Mike is now excited to harness AI and large language models to change the world of mapping.

Mike has always had a knack for working with complex machines and systems. He grew up on a farm where he’d take apart equipment and put it back together. “Understanding how things worked seemed important somehow,” he tells me. Throughout his professional career, it’s been more important than ever.

At Microsoft, he worked on a breadth of projects, including leadership roles for their Flight Simulator, Streetside imagery operations and the Bing Maps Data Platform. “I spent about 15 years working on maps and geospatial problems in one way or another. I discovered I really enjoyed the challenge of making maps,” he says

The map leads to TomTom

“I decided if I want to make maps, I needed to join the world’s best mapmaking company,” he says. Mike is now the Director of Product Management for three separate yet connected areas of TomTom Maps, all contributing to TomTom mapping the world in real time.

It’s going well so far. Mike says, “What’s impressed me has been TomTom’ers’ willingness to adopt new approaches and throw their effort behind a single vision of building the real-time map. We’ve demonstrated we can take on and accomplish big, ambitious goals. It’s exciting to think about the next set of big challenges we will take on.”

The future of product management

Within his role, Mike has his own exciting vision. “In the future, product managers will need to be more adept at dealing with data, metrics and generating insights to answer those questions. AI will play a greater role in this,” he says. “PMs will need to become proficient at shaping the AI’s responses, something called ‘prompt engineering,’ to ensure effective, unbiased results. This is particularly exciting because of how it will enable PMs to harness the breadth and depth of knowledge on the web via powerful large language models in ways not possible before in human history.”

Being a mapmaker allows Mike to combine complex problems and innovative tech with real-world solutions that make an impact. As he says:

The world is a big place. Over time, we’ll need more and more detailed, accurate and fresh representations of it. Very few companies are positioned to do that, and TomTom is one of them. But more than that, TomTom’s business model and practices mean we are the best positioned to serve the largest number of customers and needs in ways that positively impact the world and those living in it.

Mike Gilbert

Director of Product Management, TomTom

Making maps with Mike

Mike’s own career path “was far from well-orchestrated – more of an organic journey,” he says, admitting, “My start in tech came as a bit of an accident.” And look where he is now. You never know where things will lead once you start applying yourself in an area of work like programming.

Mike’s always happy to hear from enthusiastic engineers. He says, “We are truly transforming the way we work towards an approach that is open, transparent, and metrics- and results-driven. If you want to work somewhere where different perspectives are valued along with achieving impact, then TomTom is a great place to consider.”

Find your impact at TomTom

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