Updating the software is easy. One can easily find the TomTom website and go to the download section. Once one has found the download section, one simply has to ask the update system for the latest mapping software and the new software downloads automatically.
After one has finished downloading the updated mapping software to a personal computer, all one has to do is insert the USB cable into one of the computer's USB ports and the other end into the interface port on the 540TM. It takes roughly an-hour-and-a-half to update the software and when you are finished you have new software that covers the North American continent, the US, Canada and Mexico.
The TomTom is actually a mini-radio transceiver tuned to the frequencies used by the "universe" of low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites that have been lofted by a consortium of the military and Motorola. The 24 polar-orbiting "birds," used by TomTom units (as well as other GPS-enabled units) rely on "seeing" four or five satellites to work correctly. The TomTom must see four or five satellites to work correctly. If it sees the right number of satellites, it enables the TomTom's ability to tell you where you are within 50 meters of your current location.
That's the beauty of the TomTom. It not only provides you with your current location and it then takes that locational information and turns it into map information that is displayed on the five-inch screen sitting on your car's dashboard.
Setting up the TomTom is simple as it works right from the box. About the only thing you have to do, other than enter the addresses for the trip, is to choose which voice you want to hear. Several are included with the TomTom, however, you can purchase up to 16 other voices to take you through a turn-by-turn trip to your final stop.
The TomTom has several features that are very good. For example, its Lifetime Traffic system checks routing information provided by RDS-equipped radio stations (these are the stations the enable you to see not only the call sign but also the name of the artist and tune information). Riding on the same signal is traffic information that provides updates to the TomTom so it can recalculate the quickest route.
The TomTom is a very positive unit. Unlike other systems on the market which are constantly updating routing and may actually put you far away from where you want to be, the TomTom keeps you headed where you should be. Like the Garmin, it will go into RealPhoto mode where the screen splits and provides an overall map of the area on one side, while providing you with detailed turning information on the other, down to 50 feet or less.
There is also an iPhone app that allows you to interface your TomTom with your iPhone so that your receive directions on either device and the Map Share Technology lets you use either.
As you can see, the TomTom, Amsterdam-based and in business for 40 years, is an excellent value, one that you should look at if you are in the market for an aftermarket navigation unit that will give you great directions all the way to your destination and back.
One last item, aside from providing over 7 million points of interest (gas stations, restaurants, entertainment venues), the TomTom will use its GPS-enabled interface to provide you with the location of emergency services or, if you need help, the TomTom will bring help right to your driver's door.