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Frustrated with those unexpected detours and traffic jams? Annoyed that your GPS’ projected “time of arrival” sometimes seems less like an estimate and more like a guess?

A leading maker of Global Positioning Systems will soon be offering a new service for customers that is designed to assist in such situations, helping motorists navigate around inconveniences such as car wrecks and congestion.

TomTom, which bills itself as the world’s largest navigation solution provider, announced Monday it has entered into partnership with Vodafone Germany that will bring an upgraded traffic information service to its drivers.

The product — TomTom High Definition Traffic — promises to deliver up-to-date traffic and travel time information for all major German roads. The service is expected to be launched in Germany in the second half of 2008, according to the company.

To provide real-time traffic information, TomTom says it will utilize technology that anonymously aggregates data from the Vodafone Germany network, capturing the speed and direction of the mobile phones that are traveling inside cars. That data is then combined with German traffic information sources to deliver traffic news that is continuously updated, according to TomTom.

The goal is to make the traffic information service available to 50 percent of European customers by the end of 2008, Harold Goddijn, TomTom’s chief executive officer, stated in a news release. Similar partnerships have already been announced for the markets in the United Kingdom and Netherlands.

At Army and Air Force Exchange Service shops in Germany and beyond, GPS systems have been a hot item.

“GPS is a popular category for AAFES. It grew more than 350 percent last year,” said Judd Anstey, an AAFES spokesman. Fourteen different GPS models are sold at various exchange shops. TomTom and Garmin products are the top sellers, Anstey said.

TomTom’s release described the technology as a “service” for customers and did not state whether there was a cost. TomTom did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the cost.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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