1. 45

  2. 11

    I’ve seen some open street maps renderings that are better and more detailed than both. I wish Apple would embrace OSM as a way to compete with Google

    1. 6

      I investigated using openstreetmap.org as a map provider for a private commercial project I worked on, but hit a wall. When it came to their policies (which are reasonable), they all generally resulted in rolling your own system and administering it, whether your project donates to the foundation or not.

      https://operations.osmfoundation.org/policies/api/ (tagged map data, for directions and annotated locations) https://operations.osmfoundation.org/policies/tiles/ (provided image assets) https://operations.osmfoundation.org/policies/hosting/ (contributing hardware for free, open use) https://operations.osmfoundation.org/policies/nominatim/ (search appliance usage)

      I really wanted to use it since there wasn’t much expectation for heavy use, but couldn’t guarantee that any potential spike in usage wouldn’t get our access blacklisted, and couldn’t justify adding the overhead of a mirror to the cost of the project, to get an instance hosted.

      Hypothetically speaking, if Apple adopted Open Street Maps as a provider, and contributed to the foundation, and assisted in crowd-sourcing an accurate data asset, they’d have to deal with a number of complicated issues (running isolated systems that firewall usage habits from leaking into the open; curating information in a commercially relevant manner while operating some else’s data set; controlling the affect of new data introduced from the other direction on their own product), all while hosting their own massive cluster for reliable service delivery (which they probably already effectively do), and certainly rolling their own map skins to match Apple UI conventions.

      Somewhere along the line, it becomes clear that in such a situation, Apple’s influence over Open Street Map would be very nearly total, and not unlike Google’s near total influence over Firefox prior to Chrome’s existence.

      1. 2

        Does that mean that there is a space for an OSM mirror that would offer an API to others, having them pay for resource usage?

        1. 2

          Aren’t there? At least Mapbox seems to use OSM data (and looks like building lots of stuff around it, pretty cool), I’ve also used MapQuest in the past (but remember they were serving map times not even as PNG but JPEG with artefacts). There seems to be a lot of services out there.

          1. 1

            I’m not entirely sure, but I see that the Open Street Map Foundation has some answers to common licensing and legal questions over here:




          2. 2

            It’s my understanding that Apple does use OSM as a provider and contributes back.

            1. 2

              OSM did a blog post on this back in 2012: https://blog.openstreetmap.org/2012/10/02/apple-maps/.

              To save you a click, it suggests that Apple uses OSM for some locations (they use Islamabad as an example), but largely sources map data from Tomtom. Granted, OSM’s blog post is coming up on half a decade old, so Apple’s map data preferences may have shifted.

              1. 1

                Ha! Shows how much I know… Or could even be bothered to Google about…

                But then again, I’m neither an Apple employee, nor a contributor to OSM (at the moment).