They have a good companion post on alternative services for folks needing to migrate. It doubles as a survey of the best in open source mapping tools out there right now. https://mapzen.com/blog/migration/
Edit also a post specific to the Who's On First project: https://www.whosonfirst.org/blog/2018/01/02/chapter-two/
That post needs to be archived somewhere before the shutdown.
It's not as nicely formatted though. The Internet Archive has it too and it's closer to the original: http://web.archive.org/web/20180102173058/https://mapzen.com...
Disclaimer: I'm the founder of PageDash
Says the blog posts will be archived.
The latest of such beauty to come out of the tech world is Otto's shutdown: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16047382. And one of their engineer's reply to that spin: https://medium.com/@ben_73928/as-one-of-the-team-members-let...
It was posted on HN some time back.
(Note that that's actually the earliest archive that archive.org has of it. Alas, it never actually had a generator.)
Unless stated otherwise, I think we can assume whenever a company goes out of business, the reason has to be $$. There are special cases like political pressure etc.
Their open source stuff is really good, and the service itself is excellent as well. Not quite as polished as Google/Mapbox, but absolutely usable in production apps.
Would be very interested to read a post mortem. Did they simply struggle to find users, was their pricing strategy wrong, was quality an issue?
If anyone at Mapzen is reading these comments, thank you for all the work you've done. I'll miss you guys.
Didn't they only start charging for anything 9 months ago? Before then everything was free? ( https://mapzen.com/blog/mapzen-flex/ )
They were trying freemium with the hosted services but not many people were paying.
One of the issues (imo) is that there really isn't open traffic data (but there should be).
This really hampers some of the more interesting routing things and they were focused on a
lot of the more multi-modal and pulling in elevation data for biking, etc. Some people were
doing some pretty cool stuff with their tools but I think in the end Google gives away enough
API transactions for most people and the quality is good enough.
If Google thinks it's in its advantage to keep that data closed to benefit their business model, then no one else has access to it.
But no, although Google and Apple (and also Mapbox!) do not give a away their traffic data, there are still three sources for world wide traffic data:
TomTom, HERE and inrix. All acquire their data via external software companies or automotive companies (or whatever) including their measurement units into their products.
Mapzen was starting their open traffic data project and so we at Graphhopper were hoping they would solve this issue in the next years, but now, obviously they won't:
On their site, it says this, which seems like bs.
>Robust, high quality data
INRIX gathers real-time, predictive and historical data from more than 300 million sources, including commercial fleets, GPS, cell towers, mobile devices and cameras.
>Calculating traffic at a 100m granularity, we use advanced algorithms and heuristics to ensure data is intelligently fused to true traffic conditions for 8 million kilometers of roads in more than 47 countries, making every trip safer and more efficient.
One example - http://www.coyotesystems.eu/ but there are dozens, if not hundreds, more companies selling this kind of data on their users, and companies like Inrix aggregate it.
I am super sad to see this go and still haven't seen any alternative.
Happy to hear about anything in this direction :s.
- GRASS has had that since the 80s: https://grass.osgeo.org/grass72/manuals/addons/r.traveltime....
- ESRI has had those in web form since the 90s: https://doc.arcgis.com/en/arcgis-online/analyze/create-drive...
- GeoTrellis has that working in an open source project on top of a Spark cluster: https://transit.geotrellis.io/travelshed.html
What I meant is the ability to generate them via an API without having to handle any GIS / routing data yourself and this for any city.
Handling these kind of services takes a lot of time, especially if this is only a sub-part of a more generic product.
Thanks for the alternatives though
The third option is faster than anything else, but would require you to load planet-osm.
as well as ours is open source:
disclaimer: I developed Oalley
if you are interesting in isochrones - check our product out . We have:
Time Map - Given origin coordinates, find shapes of zones reachable within corresponding travel time. Find unions/intersections between different searches.
Time Filter - Given source and destination locations filter out points that cannot be reached within specified time limit. Find out properties of connections between source and destination points.
If there are any Mapzeners here looking for something new, please consider taking a look at www.procedural.eu - we also make a WebGL mapping engine based on OSM data, but our focus is more using procedural generation to augment the data, to generate immersive 3D natural environments for visualizing ski resorts, hiking routes etc.
I agree. This would be a great prank. As a bonus, it'd help solidify their disinterest in everything computer-ish, making them more motivated journalism students. Do it OP!
Well... what's next for me is rewriting this application in the next 30 days.
Not feeling too "optimistic" there about that.
I hope we can help you.
Edit: here's the post about the 20% lifetime discount for former Mapzen customers: https://blog.opencagedata.com/post/mapzen
The only guaranteed way to know if a service will meet your needs is to test, hence why we offer 2,500 free queries per day for as long as you like.
Mapbox's geocoder (which mostly uses proprietary data) isn't quite there yet but is steadily improving.
Building/installing is (relatively) easy. Maintaining is hard.
I needed tiles in non-web-standard projections: equirectangular and polar (EPSG:4326, 3575 and 3031). ESRI used to provide equirectangular tiles, but have deprecated the service. Polarmap have an Arctic map, but only at standard resolution . I couldn't find an Antarctic map.
With a fair amount of fiddling, and building on the work OpenMapTiles.org have done, it was possible to generate the tiles, but I now realise why few people have attempted this: it requires a lot of processing power, technical ability to get everything working properly, and cartography to have a map that looks good (not just the final styling, but the choice of what data is present in each layer of vector tiles).
I met the minimum of what we needed , but I need to find more time to do the rest -- like contours.
[2a] Small demo: https://api.gbif.org/v2/map/demo7.html (shows northern fulmar seabirds)
[2b] An overview of the tiles: https://tile.gbif.org/ui/
[2c] In production https://www.gbif.org/species/2481433 (click to change the projection)
It's a bit marketing-y though :-)
Disclosure: we host an OSM compatible geocoder at https://locationiq.org
It's OSM compatible at the moment.
They also have been a big part of supporting the GeoNYC group and helping to organize the OpenStreetMap US conferences.
Thanks for all the maps and data Mapzen!
They have a very nice product but competing with the likes of Google is hard.
Additionally, companies like Mapzen make this mistake in believing that because Google (and a few others) have this massive Maps API ecosystem that there's a ton of money in this market. I've seen similar investment slides and their argument boils down to something like, "well Google/msft is aggressively going after this market so that means there MUST be money here" and that's the bulk of the justification. Honestly, I don't even think Google/MSFT know why they have been going after the Maps API market so aggressively. For one, Google has completely and utterly failed to leverage the Maps API to transition or segue customers onto Google Cloud Platform where there is obviously a lot of money to be made. So like what else is there? There's no way the geo services business matches the cloud, ads, youtube, or chrome/android business. Not to mention all the other shit going on.
In conclusion, I feel like we will see other services fail as well. I would be SHOCKED to see MapBox continue on or even IPO. They will most likely be sold once investors realize what I've just discussed or shut down. I also predict that Google / MSFT will just limit their interest in this product unless they can find a way to help it drive GCP/Azure business.
It remains to be seen whether 200+ employees and sunk costs is a sustainable business; it's an audacious bet on their part that it is. But Mapbox without doubt has the foundations of a very sustainable business within it.
Mapzen never had the revenue, and never looked like it was trying very hard to get it, presumably betting that its Samsung parent would keep the tap running (and, to their credit, being aggressively open-source so that their work wasn't wasted when the day came that the tap was turned off). A bunch of the stuff they did was technologically really fascinating and valuable, such as Who's On First (their geocoder), but never got to saleable product stage. Commercially Mapzen hobbled themselves for geocoding by their laudable insistence on being a 100% open solution: you simply can't do worldwide, reliable, saleable address-level geocoding with open data yet.
Note too that there are a bunch of less noisy players within the OSM ecosystem - Geofabrik, Thunderforest, Graphhopper - who do work which is often as interesting and performant as the Silicon Valley companies, yet with a much lower profile. If you're looking for alternatives following the Mapzen shutdown, I'd commend all three.
My thesis is that "geo services" ventures need to be subsidized or else they can't sustainably exist at prices that developers are today accustomed to pay for.
>But Mapbox without doubt has the foundations of a very sustainable business within it.
Are you sure about that? The world is littered with failed companies with amazing products that couldn't find enough people to sell them to. Just because you have a lot of people who want to buy your $100 bills for $50 doesn't mean you have a strong business.
Yes. Apple learned this with their disastrous rollout of their custom mapping solution a few years back. Mapping/geographic projects are nothing to sneeze at, even for the big guys. There's just so well-integrated and useful that we hardly think about the complication involved.
Saw a great article comparing to Apple maps and this stuff must cost Google a fortune to do.
Google Maps's Moat - Justin O'Beirne
But more to my point Google and MSFT have a "multi-faceted" geo business so they can make money in many different places. Whereas someone like Mapzen or Mapbox ONLY has the geo services/APIs end. So where can the go to subsidize the cost of the services? The answer is they cant so the revenue from the services to carry the entire cost of their efforts.
Theoretically, if Mapbox could get enough views, they could also enter the advertising market. But from my understanding of their company and business model, that would be a really tough sell.
You are correct. They are not owned by Samsung, they were simply part of the accelerator.
> These Terms of Service (“Terms”) govern the terms by which you (if registering on behalf of yourself) or the entity you represent (if registering as a business) (“Customer,” “you” or “your”) may utilize the mapping tools and services made available by Samsung Research America, Inc. on behalf of its Mapzen business unit (“Mapzen˝ or ˝we˝ or ˝us˝ or “our”).
Seems they were actually part of Samsung. Makes me wonder why they shuttered Mapzen. I can see this being useful to them for Tizen amongst other things.
ANOUNCEMENT: The Valhalla team is joining Mapbox where we'll be taking Valhalla to the next level! Stay Tuned!! An Open Source Routing Library/Service
I don't think this is a thing where you just whip up a docker-compose file and spin up a Heroku dyno.
One beauty of OSM is that lots of the software can, and does, work for region based extracts, and doesn't require the whole world. You can render tiles, do geocoding, or routing on a per country, or continent basis, depending on what you want. Mapzen provided "metroextract", but Geofabrik (my employer) provides continent/country/state extracts on https://download.geofabrik.de You can also cut out your own extracts with osmosis, or osmium-tool, based on the planet/continent/country/state region covering your area of interest.
Hope everyone involved manages to find new work swiftly.
For example, while Mapbox use open source (OSM) tiles, other services - e.g. their search API - aren't open, as Mapzen's is(/was). Yet they are listed on that page by Mapzen as an alternative for Search.
There may be other such examples in that list.
Our data isn't, but as other commenters here have said, it's not currently possible to build a good geocoder with the open data available. We're constantly working to support open data efforts, but it's not there yet.
The geocoding engine powering the Mapbox Search API is open source, and has been since its inception in 2012. The same is true of the routing engine powering the Mapbox Directions API (OSRM), and the engine used to create Vector Tiles for the Mapbox Maps API, along with the engines powering most Mapbox APIs.
Non-open code at Mapbox is usually tightly coupled to our infrastructure or data processing pipelines, which would not be generally useful to the community at large. The useful bits of even this infrastructure code is also typically abstracted into generally useful libraries for community use, such as earcut, rasterio, tile-cover, and hundreds of other modules of all varieties.
-  https://github.com/mapbox/carmen
-  https://github.com/project-osrm/osrm-backend
-  https://github.com/mapnik/mapnik
-  https://github.com/mapbox/earcut
-  https://github.com/mapbox/rasterio
-  https://github.com/mapbox/tile-cover
> embraces the open source mentality so I am allowed to permanently store the data
which pertains to data. So I was referring to data.
Boundless helps reduce the cost and time of deploying and managing geospatial software with a scalable, open GIS platform – including Server, Exchange, Desktop and Connect – and a powerful ecosystem of geospatial knowledge, tools and resources.
Please let me know if anyone has any questions!