Wikipedia joins Apple in migrating from Google Maps to OpenStreetMaps

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014


Apple isn't alone in its efforts to lessen its dependance upon Google Maps; Facebook, FourSquare and now Wikipedia have all started using alternatives map services ranging from Microsoft's Bing maps service to information from the OpenStreeMaps Foundation.



According to a report by TechCrunch, Wikipedia has switched from Google Maps to OpenStreetMaps in its mobile apps for iOS and Android (shown below left).



Wikipedia's move comes on the heels of a similar switch by Foursquare, which is also now using OpenStreetMaps on its own mobile website, and Microsoft's Bing maps within its its Facebook app (Facebook has partnered exclusively with Microsoft to serve Bing maps within all of its services).













At the beginning of March, Apple released its new iPhoto app with geolocation features that also used OpenStreetMaps rather than Google's information (show above, right).



In Apple's case, the move appeared to be motivated both out of an effort to distance itself from a dependance upon Google as well as a way to avoid paying new fees Google announced it would start charging large maps users this year.



Open vs Google



OpenStreetMaps shares its open philosophy with Wikipedia. Rather than cost, Wikipedia's move is more intended to leverage an "open and free source of Map Data," the report noted.



It cited the group's Yuvi Panda as stating that avoiding the use Google's proprietary Maps APIs enables Wikipedia's app to "run on the millions of cheap Android handsets that are purely open source and do not have the proprietary Google applications."



While Android's core software is open, Google's "with apps" bundle of proprietary apps (which account for much of the value associated with Android), including Maps Navigation, require licensing from Google. A variety of Android vendors use the free core OS but don't use Google's own apps for this reason.



Google's efforts to begin charging high volume users for its Maps services is likely to drive additional prominent websites and apps to OpenStreetMaps, a free service that requires its users to contribute back any improvements they make to the maps data.



Apple has incorporated its own support for Wikipedia information in its OS X Dictionary app and its system wide search services on both iOS and OS X. The company is likely to similarly expand its use of OpenStreetMaps data in both its iOS and OS X apps, ranging from "Find my iPhone" and "Find my Mac" to iPhoto, Maps and its online iCloud services.



Apple's voracious appetite for maps



Apple acquired the Placebase maps service in 2009 followed by Poly9 in 2010. That same year, Apple began using its own location databases for the Maps software in iOS 3.2, moving away from databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless.



Last spring, Apple also said it was "collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database," in order to provide iPhone users with an "improved traffic service in the next couple of years."



Last October, the company acquired C3 Technologies, further enhancing its internal mapping talent pool and technology portfolio.





[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,469member
    I'm actually surprised Wikipedia hadn't always been using an open mapping solution instead of a proprietary one.



    Now if only this stuff was vector and not hideously blown up bitmap.
  • mbarriaultmbarriault Posts: 237member
    I actually would enjoy such a move, if the OpenStreetMap tiles weren't butt ugly. I really hope it's a stopgap solution until a home grown vector based map is available.
  • asdasdasdasd Posts: 4,229member
    so we are in favour of open source stuff now? I need to read the next ecclesiastical letter from Mr Cook.



    No fan of Android here, but google is better, Bings maps are good, Open Street map is sh*te.
  • menithingsmenithings Posts: 68member
    It's fascinating how so many tech nerds got suckered into Google's "open" BS, especially in respect to Android. All Google is doing is finding ways to cast the widest net for people's personal info. And having Android be open source is one way to do it.



    Google is not the least bit interested in 'open'. It's fantasy to compare Android to genuine open projects like Linux.



    That's because Google is not in the business of making great technology. Google is in the business of selling your personal information. You are the product. Hence their non-existent customer service.



    "Don't be Evil' my arse lol.
  • asdasdasdasd Posts: 4,229member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MeniThings View Post


    It's fascinating how so many tech nerds got suckered into Google's "open" BS, especially in respect to Android. All Google is doing is finding ways to cast the widest net for people's personal info. And having Android be open source is one way to do it.



    Google is not the least bit interested in 'open'. It's fantasy to compare Android to genuine open projects like Linux.



    That's because Google is not in the business of making great technology. Google is in the business of selling your personal information. You are the product. Hence their non-existent customer service.



    "Don't be Evil' my arse lol.



    but sometimes they do make great technology and Apple should use it until a better alternative comes available.
  • filburtfilburt Posts: 398member
    Hopefully, all these attentions will improve OpenStreetMaps's data quality. But as it stands, their data is extremely lacking, both in terms of coverage and accuracy.
  • mechanicmechanic Posts: 801member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post


    but sometimes they do make great technology and Apple should use it until a better alternative comes available.



    You should look at the C3 mapping technology they bought it is amazing and I would almost garuntee you that they will have there own gorgeous map apps sooner rather than later.

    It takes quite a while to build a map database but where there ready I'm sure it will be with the usual apple flare.



    Here is a link to a demo of c3s tech mapping oslo norway.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...munh6NIQI#t=0s
  • asdasdasdasd Posts: 4,229member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mechanic View Post


    You should look at the C3 mapping technology they bought it is amazing and I would almost garuntee you that they will have there own gorgeous map apps sooner rather than later.

    It takes quite a while to build a map database but where there ready I'm sure it will be with the usual apple flare.



    Here is a link to a demo of c3s tech mapping oslo norway.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...munh6NIQI#t=0s



    Sure, but I was arguing against OpenStreetMap as a valid alternative to Google Maps, it isn't at the moment, I hope Apple do good thuff there, I am not a fan of Open Source.
  • hill60hill60 Posts: 6,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post


    so we are in favour of open source stuff now?



    WebKit 4 life!
  • correctionscorrections Posts: 1,080member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post


    so we are in favour of open source stuff now? I need to read the next ecclesiastical letter from Mr Cook.



    No fan of Android here, but google is better, Bings maps are good, Open Street map is sh*te.



    In 2001, when Apple launched OS X, Windows was seen by many critics as better than Unix.

    In 2007, when Apple launched iPhone, Flash was seen as better at serving video than HTML5.



    Things change. I'd imagine the few teams of mapping experts at Apple probably know more about the potential of different mapping technology options than somebody looking at the current results of something Apple isn't even drawing any attention to yet.



    Are you under the impression that the company that works so hard to perfect its UI guidelines and crank out exacting hardware designs is going to abruptly switch from Google Maps to the currently rudimentary OSM tiles?



    Also, NeXT pioneered the use of open source software before Linux even existed. Apple promoted its open source WebKit before Google even had a web browser strategy. Apple isn't hypocritically "open," it just takes advantage of the best technologies available at the best prices. Google makes the same kind of decisions, but with far less success in terms of revenues or viable products.
  • asdasdasdasd Posts: 4,229member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corrections View Post




    Are you under the impression that the company that works so hard to perfect its UI guidelines and crank out exacting hardware designs is going to abruptly switch from Google Maps to the currently rudimentary OSM tiles?



    lol.



    This article is about OSM, not about Apple's supposed future technology, I am merely saying that Apple, at the moment , should not move from Google.



    Its possible that Apple have some Map technology be wing, but really, who cares, they would be better serve working on the OS ( my favourite OS, as it happens). but lets be clear, the article is about OSM, if you believe that Apple should use OSM, then great. I don't, which is all I am saying.
  • shogunshogun Posts: 356member
    I badly want an Apple soul-ution for my car. So how about the 7.x screens are for a car iCenter, and when they debut that later this year they also debut the traffic program??? What do you think?
  • desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    the 7 year head-start that Google has with location data is massive.



    is Apple also going to create their own version of SketchUp? there are millions of 3D buildings [and trees and topo] available in Google maps and Google earth, with tens of thousands of new buildings being added every day - thanks to SketchUp.



    It's incredibly easy to geolocate a site for your building, throw together anything from a massing model to a highly detailed and textured model; control how the building looks at any time of day and any time of year, with solar orientation accurate to the LONG/LAT. Nothing compares to the amount of information in Google Earth.



    ...and what about StreetView?
  • desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shogun View Post


    I badly want an Apple soul-ution for my car. So how about the 7.x screens are for a car iCenter, and when they debut that later this year they also debut the traffic program??? What do you think?



    i just want Siri to control the music, phone, climate control and nav in my car. now wouldn't that be great? Siri telling me that there's a traffic jam ahead and giving me the fastest detour around, factoring in live traffic and inclement weather.
  • sinisterjoesinisterjoe Posts: 134member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post


    so we are in favour of open source stuff now? I need to read the next ecclesiastical letter from Mr Cook.



    No fan of Android here, but google is better, Bings maps are good, Open Street map is sh*te.





    Unfortunately both Bing Maps and Google Maps now cost money to use commercially. They are certainly better services but a lot of developers/sites just aren't going to have a choice. They'll have to dump mapping or use OSM. So it's not a choice of good vs. bad -- it's a choice of something vs. nothing.
  • nhtnht Posts: 3,017member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by desarc View Post


    the 7 year head-start that Google has with location data is massive.



    Nothing compares to the amount of information in Google Earth.



    ...and what about StreetView?



    Lots of folks are collecting street view data now.



    Much of the satellite imagery is available if you wish to pay. Same for ariel view data. There are extensive POI databases outside of Google as well.



    Many things can read KML and sketch up (,skp) format now. Importing the data not direcly generated by Google is pretty straight forward.



    But I do agree...OSM tiles are pretty butt ugly. I'm surprised they didn't license navteq...perhaps Nokia won't let navteq sell Apple a license.



    7 year head start is surmountable if you have both the desire and the money. Apple has the money but I dunno that they really care enough to bother.
  • mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post


    lol.



    This article is about OSM, not about Apple's supposed future technology, I am merely saying that Apple, at the moment , should not move from Google.



    Its possible that Apple have some Map technology be wing, but really, who cares, they would be better serve working on the OS ( my favourite OS, as it happens). but lets be clear, the article is about OSM, if you believe that Apple should use OSM, then great. I don't, which is all I am saying.



    Apple should move away from Google maps ASAP.





    Well sorry if it's not up to your standards... there's always the web. But until companies and people start using OSM and contributing to it, it will never get to the level of Google Maps. Hopefully, one of these companies will buy out MapQuest and other regional mapping companies and throw it into the mix. Maybe Microsoft will also add mapping data? You never know. But one thing is for sure. Google is going to find itself alone and unable to sustain their own mapping solution if others aren't willing to pay for it.



    The bigger problem for Google is it doesn't matter if their solution is the best, if closed environments/platforms like Facebook, iOS, Four Square start using other mapping solutions, there aren't alternative ways for Google to enter those platforms and they will be locked out.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 12,932member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shogun View Post


    I badly want an Apple soul-ution for my car. So how about the 7.x screens are for a car iCenter, and when they debut that later this year they also debut the traffic program??? What do you think?



    I think I want an Apple Car!
  • macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by desarc View Post


    the 7 year head-start that Google has with location data is massive.



    is Apple also going to create their own version of SketchUp? there are millions of 3D buildings [and trees and topo] available in Google maps and Google earth, with tens of thousands of new buildings being added every day - thanks to SketchUp.



    It's incredibly easy to geolocate a site for your building, throw together anything from a massing model to a highly detailed and textured model; control how the building looks at any time of day and any time of year, with solar orientation accurate to the LONG/LAT. Nothing compares to the amount of information in Google Earth.



    ...and what about StreetView?



    I am going to take a wild guess that you haven't seen Apple's 3D Maps solution? The link provided is for Nokia 3D Maps aerial view of San Francisco. The Nokia 3D Maps solution is licensed from Apple (formerly C3 Technologies).



    http://maps.nokia.com/34.7536264,-92...341,72,3d.day#



    As you can see, a street level view is provided as well. The data is far more detailed than Google Maps.



    I am convinced that the next generation iPhone will use the A5X processor, 1 GB of RAM and have 4G LTE due to the Apple Maps solution to be introduced this year.
  • welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,228member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    I think I want an Apple Car!







    http://www.curatedmag.com/news/2009/...ons-ford-021c/
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