If you were to talk about online mapping systems, I am pretty sure that most of us will talk about Google Maps. Well, we might find some people who would be interested in Microsoft’s Bing Map as well but the key question over is why people know so much about Google Maps over any other online mapping systems? It’s pretty simple, it’s all over. Web sites, your favorite iPhone or iPad, Google’s very on Android devices, gadgets, you name it. We are so obsessed with Google Maps that we don’t even think of any other possible candidates. It’s unfortunate that many of us still remain at the dark in terms of Open Source Mapping project.
Created by Steve Coast and launched in 2004, OpenStreetMap is an open source collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world run by the “OpenStreetMap Foundation”. This is more like Wikipedia like approach of creating maps, contributed by over half a millions of volunteers worldwide.
Now, recently PCWorld reported that Microsoft is also contributing it’s money and support for this open source project regardless it’s very own mapping system which many thinks as the “fighting back” tactics against Google Maps worldwide domination. On the other hand “webmoneky” also stated that Apple is also taking measures to get rid of its Google Map influence on its devices through the new iPhoto app on iOS devices. There would be no wonder if you see that Apple has rejected Google Maps totally on its upcoming iOS releases, maybe it’s just a matter of time now.
However, it’s not quite clear that why Apple didn’t mention OpenStreetMap and necessary credits required to use the open source works of the foundation. The Foundation is not very happy about it but it has shown its interest to work with Apple as the Foundation states on its blog site, “…missing the necessary credit to OpenStreetMap’s contributors; we look forward to working with Apple to get that on there.”
Another phenomenon in mobile social media world is FourSquare. On a recent blog post, FourSquare mentioned that they are accepting OpenStreetMap open heartedly and it looks forward to work with this open source project stating, “We love the idea of supporting open data through OpenStreetMap, and MapBox gives us greater flexibility on tile design for custom maps. And while OpenStreetMap has come a long way, there’s still a bit of work to be done to create an atlas of the whole world (the world is pretty huge). But we’re extremely excited about what we’re building towards.”
On thing is pretty clear that people are really excited about this open source project, at least half a millions of peoples contribution says it all. Yet again we have to wait until OpenStreetMap really gets its deserved attention. If that really happens, I am pretty sure Google Maps has got something to worry about.