Competition in the market of cartographic applications is reaching new heights, due to an ambitious joint project by Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, and the mapping company TomTom. The recently released dataset holds the potential to empower third-party developers to create their own maps, making them strong competitors to Google Maps and Apple Maps.
A group of companies called the Overture Maps Foundation came together last year with a shared goal of making cartography more accessible to everyone. This week, they unveiled their first open map dataset, promising to revolutionize the approach to map building and navigation products creation.
This unique dataset comprises 59 million “points of interest,” such as restaurants, landmarks, and other places of interest. It also includes information about transportation networks and administrative boundaries, making it a valuable resource for developing various cartographic products.
“This release is a significant step in establishing a comprehensive, market-grade open map dataset for our constantly changing world,” said Mark Prylo, the Executive Director of Overture Maps Foundation.
“The Places dataset, in particular, represents a major, previously unavailable open dataset, with the potential to map everything from new businesses big and small to pop-up street markets located anywhere in the world”.
One of the key aspects of this project is to simplify and make cartographic app development more accessible to developers. Often, access to APIs of popular cartographic services, such as Google Maps, requires paid subscriptions, which complicates the work for developers. However, the Overture Maps Foundation provides an opportunity for third-party developers to create applications based on this data for free, expanding possibilities for developing new cartographic products.
An important advantage of the Overture Maps Foundation is that they are not limiting themselves to basic cartography functions; they plan to expand the dataset to include routing, navigation, and three-dimensional building data.
This project has the potential to transform the cartographic landscape, opening up new opportunities for developers and companies utilizing cartography in their activities.
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