The problem of computing the driving directions from A to B can be divided into two equally important parts:

  • Finding the best path from A to B.
  • Identifying all the relevant maneuvers along that route.

While there is loads of information and research papers on the first topic, no one seems to be talking about the second one. And from my experience, computing instructions is a non-trivial problem for at least the following reasons:

  • Maps are very complex, diverse and sometimes full of geometry inconsistencies.
  • It is very hard to define what a "relevant maneuver" is. Some users might want to hear a "Go straight" instruction at each crossing, just for reassurance. Others would find this totally annoying.
  • It is hard to compare two sets of instructions and decide which one is better (because of the previous point). This makes automatic regression testing impossible.

So, are there any resources on this topic? Some literature, best practices, or actually any kind of advice would be very welcome.

  • Search through this site, there have been several questions similar to this. Most are phrased something like "How do I get PGRouting to work like Google Maps". PGRouting is a routing extension to PostGIS, which itself is a spatial extension to the PostgreSQL relational database. – HeyOverThere Mar 21 '13 at 15:47
  • I'm not sure what your question is. Are you interested in the deviation of their algorithm from the standard algorithm? Or are you interested in how they provide Driving directions? – Devdatta Tengshe Mar 21 '13 at 16:29
  • Search our site for Questions containing 'pgrouting driving directions' for lots of similar questions. – RyanDalton Mar 21 '13 at 18:04

You are unlikely to find the actual algorithms (would be classified as intellectual property)

Google use TeleAtlas data, since 2008 this has been owned by TomTom (know for Sat Nav products).


likewise Mapquest and Microsoft (Bing) use NavTeq owned by Nokia.

TeleAtlas capture this from multiple sources

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After it is captured is then goes through a verification process

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The product is available to purchase under the 'multinet' brand which is the most comprehensive of TomTom (TeleAtlas) Products with contains Navigation attributes (speed, restrictions, traffic lights, impedance factors)

multinet http://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/licensing/products/maps/multinet/ http://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/licensing/products/maps/multinet/

Sample Data is available from (Shape, File Geodatabase or DWG formats)

TomTom MultiNet With Driving Attributes Chicago, IL http://www.adci.com/html/samples/tomtom.php

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