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TomTom Developers 2020 Year-End Reflection and Goals for Next Year

2020 was a different year. Let’s reflect on the past year and take a look at what 2021 has in store for us and our developer community.

Happy Holidays, TomTom Devs! 

The TomTom Developer Portal turned 3 this fall! The portal was born in 2017 from the idea of making our maps easily accessible to any and all developers. At the end of last year, our goals for this year were three-fold: continue to improve your experience on the portal, focus more on educational content, and showcase our users more. 
 
2020 has been quite a year. If 2019 was a year of trials, learnings, and successes, 2020 has been a year of being flexible, adapting, and continuing to learn.  

2020: Changing the Way the World Moved 

In March, the way the world moved was rocked and life as we knew it was changed. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, lockdowns were implemented across the globe, borders were closed, and traffic and travel came to a near-standstill.  
 
While individual travel came to a halt, fleets and logistics transport increased the world over as people shifted from in-person to online shopping for everything from groceries to household products. This led to an unprecedented skyrocketing of deliveries as businesses had to rapidly transition and adapt to the online demand. 
 
While this year was filled with a lot of changes, TomTom was glad to be able to provide maps and traffic data and Maps APIs that were utilized by numerous publications to track lockdowns and quarantines, and provide telematics, logistics, and transportation industries with tools to keep the world moving. 
 
As the year winds down and we find ourselves in a reflective space, here’s to looking back at what happened this year at TomTom Developers, and looking ahead to plans for 2021. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the year. 

We Updated Our Products

In the spring, we partnered with Foursquare to grow the coverage of our Points of Interest, and also introduced the ability to display ratings, price range, reviews, and photos for POIs using the POI Details API. Our partnership with Foursquare has improved our map coverage and enhanced the quality of our POI dataset for developers and end-users. To learn more about how to use the Search API to enhance your POI details, check out this article: “Points of Interest with Reviews, Ratings and Photos.” 
 
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In the summer, v6 of the SDK for Web was launched in public preview, bringing major enhancements from v5. The biggest changes were: 

  • Added support for Merged Style, combining multiple styles defining the look and feel of the display layers – including map, traffic, and POI layers 
  • Increased compatibility with the Map Styler and better customization options 
  • Consistency with map and traffic display for Web and Mobile 

Lastly, the Notifications API & Location History API were revamped, with a focus on tracking use cases. To read more examples and tutorials on asset tracking, check out these articles: 

See our asset & vehicle tracking demo here

We Expanded Our Online Presence – Twitch, YouTube, and Reddit

In May, we launched our Twitch channel and our developer advocates Olivia Vahsen and Jose Jose Rojas began streaming live coding tutorials bi-monthly. They covered topics from route basics and geofencing to POI details and building a delivery service app. Since the start of launching these devisodes, our following has grown to nearly 300 and we have enjoyed being able to provide viewers with hands-on tutorials in livestream form, in addition to getting to know a bit more about the people behind the products. 
 
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In July, the TomTom Developers YouTube channel was launched as another way for us to share tutorials in video form. From our full-length hour-long Devisode recordings from Twitch, to 3-minute hints and tips videos showcasing quick how-to's with our APIs, there is a little of something there for everyone. 
 
Finally, in November, we announced our subreddit r/TomTom to showcase all things maps, location, and geospatial goodness. Our presence on each of these platforms is directly tied to our goal of providing more educational content in the form of tutorials and how-to’s for developers of all types, and we look forward to continuing to build the TomTom Developers community!

We Shifted to Virtual Events

TomTom participated in a plethora of online events this year, mainly in the areas of traffic, fleets and logistics, and on-demand delivery. Some highlights included: 

  • Post & Parcel Live – Fleets and logistics product marketing manager Julija Babre spoke on the magic formula behind on-time deliveries. 
  • WeAreDevelopers Live – Jose, Olivia, and on-demand product marketing manager Dosanna Wu gave a talk on matrix routing and building a food delivery app for WeAreDevelopers. To read a re-cap of what they discussed, check out this blog article (Creating an App for Efficient and Convenient Delivery Services) and watch part 1 and part 2 of our devisode, Building a Small Service Delivery App.  
  • Geoawesomeness Digital Meetup – Product manager Sander Pluimers gave a talk on accurate travel times and the ETA conundrum. You can catch the recording of his talk here. 

TomTom also won an award at the API Awards presented at API:WORLD Virtual – Best in IoT APIs for our Tracking APIs. 

Looking Ahead

In October, we sent out a survey to our readers to get feedback on our developer portal blog. We were delighted to get such high response rate and take your feedback into account while planning for 2021.  
 
Some parts of the blog that you enjoy are: the range of topics, quality of writing, frequent updates, simplicity, and amount of informative, helpful, and interesting content. We also learned that you would like you see more tutorials and use cases, better and more documentation, and more variety of content. 
 
In 2021, we will be taking this feedback into account and utilizing documentation more, providing more varieties of examples, use cases, and case studies. We will also continue to highlight ways you can use TomTom with other platforms and tools, and incorporating Python into our tutorials as well. Lastly, we’ll continue to provide educational content within the fleets and logistics and on-demand spaces. 
 
2020 has been a unique year to say the least, but we are thankful for each other and our community, and look forward to a new year. 
 
Stay safe, and happy holidays (and mapping)! See you in 2021! 
 
Best, 
TomTom Developers 

First published: 
Tuesday, December 22, 2020 - 22:00
Last edited: 
Wednesday, December 23, 2020 - 18:25