The Linux Foundation launches map foundation to compete with Google
And, you know what? It's actually pretty well licensed!
I’m a fan of the OpenStreetMap project — which brings together independent, individual contributors from around the world to create an real-world map database. One which not only can be used for everything you would use something like Google Maps for… but does so in a highly open way.
Along comes The Linux Foundation
Now, I’ve been more than a little critical of some of the recent moves from The Linux Foundation. From the fact that they spend frightfully little of their income on actual Linux development to getting into the vaccine passport business.
So you can imagine my skepticism when I heard that The Linux Foundation was launching a new foundation devoted to Map data (dubbed “The Overture Maps Foundation”).
“How is the Linux Foundation going to mess this one up,” I asked myself?
But, you know what? This actually looks like a pretty great idea.
First and foremost: The Linux Foundation has elected to use the same license as OpenStreetMap — the Open Database License. This will make it easy to have data pass back and forth between this new Overture Maps database and OpenStreetMap. That’s a good thing.
Likewise all of the Overture source code will be MIT licenses. Which works well enough.
Honestly, the only thing that gives me pause are some of the companies that are involved in the project.
Amazon? Meta? Microsoft? There’s more than a handful of things that cause me a bit of unease with that group. But, considering the licensing of the data, it should be accessible to everyone no matter what.
Microsoft is right next to TomTom?
Remember when Microsoft sued TomTom because they used the FAT32 file system in their navigation devices?
Now the two companies are part of the same foundation.
More open map data is a good thing
The licensing is good. And if those big mega-corporations donate some significant data to this new map database (which will also use, and be available to, OpenStreetMap)… hey. That’s a win.
Worst case scenario: This new initiative doesn’t work out all that well and OpenStreetMap can ingest any of the good parts that get created.
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