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Why Use OpenStreetMap Instead of Google Maps? (openstreetmap.org)
557 points by tdurden 34 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 209 comments

I totally support OSM 1000%...

But frankly, it seems it's still a lot of work to build OSM into your own website/app, setting up your own tile server.

I know there are instructions for this [1] [2] -- but to really get popular, it seems like there really ought to be up-to-date, auto-updating, officially recommended and totally secure server images on Digital Ocean, AWS, Google Cloud and Azure where anyone can spin it up for $5/mo without even ever having to SSH in once (except to update the root password), and then embed a live JavaScript map into their web page with two lines of code -- one to load the library, and one to insert a live map of a given size centered on a given location. Where the whole process shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, and most of that is waiting for the image to be copied to your server.

I've Googled but I can't find anything like that -- with the links below, I assume I'd be using at least a day to set things up, especially since setting up servers from online tutorials never goes smoothly, as you have to google error messages that arise since newer versions have changed slightly since the tutorial was written... And most times where I just want to "throw in a map", I don't want to spend a day+ doing it.

[1] https://switch2osm.org/manually-building-a-tile-server-18-04...

[2] https://ircama.github.io/osm-carto-tutorials/tile-server-ubu...

We can’t really use google maps in the Danish public sector where I work, because they track your data. So we use osm and I think you’re daily spot on.

I work in a small municipality so we don’t really have the resources to do the integration ourselves. What we did was find a company which specializes in making google maps like APIs/integration to osm as well as having a support line that can correct osm mistakes for us.

This is not free, like doing the integration ourselves would be. I can’t give you the exact price, but it is a lot cheaper than google maps and it’s worked great for us for several years now.

We did by a package with little osm support because we can update osm ourselves, but calculating routes is something we could never do within our budget.

If your country doesn’t have any companies offering these types of osm services, then I bet you could make a lot of money by building it though.

are you using mapbox by chance? im asking because i was under the impression that they were exactly this, a non google maps api.

> We can’t really use google maps in the Danish public sector where I work, because they track your data.

Perfect example of stifling regulations hurting the average person.

This has to be sarcasm.

It certainly feels like it.

If it did not have that snark though, one could make the point that the data could still be 'deanonimitized'.

It's not sarcasm. It doesn't actually matter at all if Google Maps "tracks" you. But this pointless legislation decided it does and now people have to settle for surely inferior alternatives.

You're saying the "pointless legislation" had a point. Just not one that you agree with.

This is a guess, but I suspect the point had to do with data privacy. Maybe someone wrote legislation that prohibits public websites from hosting ads, or third party browser-tracking software. And google maps fits that.

In the parent comment, there's also this bit:

> but it is a lot cheaper than google maps

If true, this is an example of government regulations working as intended, and saving money.

If an alternative was cheaper and of comparable quality then legislation shouldn't have been required for it to be chosen by whoever was in charge of the decision.

> up-to-date, auto-updating, officially recommended and totally secure server images

Plus volunteers to answer any and all support requests? And the tile rendering needs to be fast? $5/month isn't enough hardware to a world-wide tile server and it sounds like users aren't willing to pay for setup costs.

> just want to "throw in a map", I don't want to spend a day+ doing it.

There's plenty of SaaS offering OSM tile hosting. If those are too expensive (quite more than $5/month, some have pay-as-you-go pricing) it's an indication running those servers is more complex than it seems.

> Where the whole process shouldn't take more than 10 minutes

That said, check out https://openmaptiles.org/docs/ installation. (They will charge up to 1000 USD for commercial use, free for personal project).

I think the $5/month he's envisioning is for the computing/bandwidth charges on the cloud providers he mentions. The software, container, images, etc. should all be provided for free, and the open source bug tracker should have a 1 second SLA for replying to questions on getting it set up.

But on a serious note, yes, it would be nice if there was some pre-built container that just served the OSM tiles on an HTTP port. I imagine most people integrating OSM want to use their existing static-file-serving setup, which is why it doesn't already exist. (Or maybe it does, I haven't looked.)

In the end, Google Maps is free for 25,000 map loads per day and you don't have to run any servers. I'm guessing this is why it's more popular. The $5/month the OP ballparks as a price is how much Maps would cost for 760,000 map views per month. In the end, I doubt you'd do a lot better than that unless your bandwidth is free or you're serving a lot of maps. This, I guess, is why OSM isn't much more popular. The map data ends up not being the expensive part; bandwidth/hosting is.

I think the innovation in OSM is being able to use it for whatever you want. Garmin bike GPSes don't even use Garmin's own map data anymore; it's apparently cheaper for them to just use OSM data. That's because they don't have to pay the bandwidth hosting costs, they just dump the data out of the database and give people that care an update every 6 months. Each incremental map render costs them nothing, and nobody can stop them from using the data however they want. Pretty interesting that it ended up a better deal for them than using the maps they collected themselves (and probably supplemented with other vendors' data that won't let them use it on that "download once, use forever" model.)

> Google Maps is free for 25,000 map loads per day

This statement is true for a few more hours. As the headlined article informs us, Google changes its pricing plan tomorrow, 2018-07-16. Instead of 25000 free loads per day, as of tomorrow people get USD200 credit per month, on accounts that now must be backed by credit cards (or have billing enabled). Google tells us that a credit of USD200 per month is equivalent to 28000 free loads (of a dynamic map) per month (not per day).

* https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/pricing/sheet/

* https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/pricing/

Hence the timing of the OpenStreetMap article, of course.

So just under 1 cent per load (USD 0.007)

We were using Google Maps but the change in pricing means that we will need to find another service. From this week onwards there won't be any free map loads a day. There will be $200 of recurring credits which are the equivalent of 100,000 map loads(monthly). Previously if you were signed up for billing you could get 100,000 map loads a day. I can imagine OSM becoming far more popular in the near future.

Takes a couple of days to set it up but the results are amazing. We also have setup the Geo coding and reverse Geo coding with nominatim. A million requests per day costs us peanuts as opposed to Google , which anyway suspended us due to international credit card verification issues.

On a related note, Firefox on Linux came with duckduckgo as default and I am so impressed with it's search results. Unfortunately their API does not return the same quality of results

> On a related note, Firefox on Linux came with duckduckgo as default and I am so impressed with it's search results.

I gave DDG a new chance a few months ago, first just on my phone as a pilot. It was good enough that I switched on all my devices. Huge difference from a few years ago!

I'd be interested in hearing what issues you've had with adding a card on Google's platform. There is a chance you could diagnose it yourself by trying to add it, then contacting your bank and asking why the authorization was declined.

I dont think I should be chasing up my bank on why authorization failed. I have zero interest in using google maps for my production environment

(I'm a software engineer on Google's payments platform)

I'm sorry you've had problems adding your card. If there is a systematic problem with some bank, I can sometimes do something about it (but no guarantees). I've added my work email to my HN profile, incase you want to reach out to me.

I'm upvoting this one as Kyrra works at Google on payments, according to Kyrra's profile. (That wasn't immediately clear to me from the comment.)

> I assume I'd be using at least a day to set things up

You assume wrong. :)

It takes an hour or so to get a tileserver up and running with the switch2osm instructions. I've done it countless times. (You do then need to wait for the Postgres database to populate, but that's just fire-and-forget.) They're written for Ubuntu LTS versions so the "newer versions" issue doesn't arise.

Or if Docker's your bag, you can get a ready-to-go image from openmaptiles: https://openmaptiles.com/server/

> where anyone can spin it up for $5/mo

Not gonna happen. Running a worldwide map server needs a lot of (SSD) storage and decent CPU. I have a £10/month Hetzner VM just to do geocoding (with Photon: https://github.com/komoot/photon) so you aren't going to get a tileserver for half that - and that's no surprise; OSM is ultimately competing with Google, and you can't really expect to host your own Google for $5. But there are plenty of hosted options with tiered pricing.

A worldwide tile server for low load (up to <30 tps) decent latency (<100ms per tile) can be set up with 2core, 4GB ram and 70GB HDD machine. Key is to use “prerendered” vector tile stack. Geocoding is way harder task. The old sites like switch2osm tend to have old and slow imposm/Postgres stacks.

What keeps you from using Leaflet https://leafletjs.com with one of the free tile servers? https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tile_servers

It is a one-liner:

  L.tileLayer('https://{s}.tile.openstreetmap.org/{z}/{x}/{y}.png', {attribution: '&copy; <a href="https://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright">OpenStreetMap</a> contributors'}).addTo(map)

This is what stops me: "OpenStreetMap data is free for everyone to use. Our tile servers are not."


Is that a big problem for you? The OSM operations working group is run by volunteers, on semi-donated hardware. They don't offer SLAs, they don't offer uptime guarantees. If you create an app that's (say) responsible for a 20% increase on load, they'll block you. If you're that popular buy a tile service from someone else.

Exactly the same, I'd like to support it because the idea is great!

But this amount of work is just too much.

Besides running your own tile server I'm also having problems using OSM to navigate. In the meantime I use G-Maps for stuff that is important and when I have to find my route quickly, it's just more reliable (it hurts to say that).

If what you mentioned existed I would immediately implement it on A number of sites I’ve made for clients. I don’t want to ask for the time to setup and maintain something that will take over an hour of the allotted development time.

Yes yes yes.

And if you can't use OSM, try Here maps.

They are easy to download for offline use. Following the suggestion of friends, I have repurposed an old phone as a "travel phone" with maps of the whole world (or at least the parts I can download!)

Not perfect, but when I catch a plane, I don't have to worry about local networks.

Fun story: recently in Europe, Google Maps stuttered. Now and then, there was a networking issue. It is almighty wiseness, Google Maps was then showing a white page instead of showing me the previously downloaded maps. This was irksome, especially in navigation mode. I was litteraly following my way on the screen, when it turned white in front of my eyes. Several times. I turned white too.

After that, I decided I would take a chance with the backup plan. I turned off the phone and used the travel phone instead. No network, so no lookup of business names, but Here maps offline with street addresses did better than Google Maps online.

I called that a learning experience. I later was told Google Maps lets you download some tiles, but it is not as convenient as having litteraly every continent saved. I do not want to plan what part I may need. Just "down it all"!

Your anecdote falls into the trap I see often when comparing OSS software vs proprietary. You’ve found a obscure, uncommon use case where OSM works better. However, the opposite needs to be true for adoption. OSM needs to work better for 80% of the use cases, not the other 20.

OSS's greatest leverage points have always been in the niches, the cases where _if_ it's useful in your situation, you are a very lucky person indeed.

Having read the article I think it's using a great little leverage point: Do you have a website with a map? Does the map not work anymore? ("Yikes, will my map stop working," people think)

OSS doesn't have to win big popularity battles; the little cases here and there just add up over time. Soon it's in the background of everything, even proprietary software, because it's so useful that migration and contributions to the source code make sense.

More like anywhere vaugely rural, Google Maps seems to fail. Going out to the San Juans? Have fun with missing business listings, incorrect road traces and names, or worse.

Just in the past decade Kitsap County (just across the water from Seattle) has renumbered 300k addresses. Google Maps is buying their address database from a vendor that rarely pulls this publicly posted data, thus leaving Google a few years behind (except for spotty user corrections). OSM comparatively gets this data right from the county every week, which is great since they're renumbering 30k more addresses currently. Google will take a few more years to get any of this data if they stick to their current operational model.

Entire countries and continents are far more detailed on OSM than Google. There's a feedback cycle where having lots of active users to passively harvest data or receive user-submitted corrections from improves your map quality. Well, Google Maps is a really bloated app that can barely open on the budget Android phones people use in most developing countries (hell, GMaps pegs the CPU on a 2-year old flagship for several seconds just starting the app).

When nobody uses Google Maps, Google Maps will never have good street/address data. In developing countries there's no official government office to get this data from, just user data.

It strikes me as obvious that what Google should do is support OSM upstream and use OSM data in their product, just as what they do with Wikipedia.

Google feels it has a superior product, which is true for certain types of data in large cities. Why contribute to Wikipedia when your the publisher of Encyclopedia Britannica, you'd eat your own product alive for no notable benefit.

> use OSM data in their product

OSM has a share-alike clause, which would require G to share all their own data with everyone.

> found a obscure, uncommon use case where OSM works better.

Isn't that the entire point of open source technologies? If a platform is open source, then you can make whatever custom changes you personally need and make it work for your particularly scenario.

Downloadable maps, archivable maps, platform independent maps, faster loading maps, more accurate maps, more niche data centric maps, and fail-safe maps are all examples of maps that a particular person needs in a particular setting at a particular time.

It is not software for the masses, just software for the massive number of little things you could possibly need.

Are gaps in cell coverage really that obscure a use case? Sure, if you're only using the maps to route you around traffic jams in your home town, offline maps aren't going to offer you any benefit. But I think most users also want their maps to continue to be reliable when heading out of town on a road trip. Google has improved the behavior of their maps app when data connectivity is interrupted, but it's still a sub-par experience and quite frustrating.

Google makes it trivial to download maps for offline use, I have multiple states downloaded in Maps.

Google Maps experience with offline downloaded maps is 100% quality and absolutely not "sub-par" or "frustrating".

> Google Maps experience with offline downloaded maps is 100% quality and absolutely not "sub-par" or "frustrating".

Selecting areas to download is more of a hassle than with OSMAnd, and the map data requires more storage space. I've also frequently experienced severe degradation in the detail of the voice prompts for turn by turn navigation when the phone doesn't have a data connection, where the phone only saying "in a quarter mile, turn right" without giving me a street name or exit number, let alone lane information.

At some point, there was also this undocumented feature where it fetches not just the directions, but a little extra data so it can reroute you on the device if you miss a turn and your phone has gone offline. It only works for small detours, does not take traffic into account, etc.

There's a paper on how this works from Microsoft Research and KIT (where all of the commonly used routing techniques were developed!): https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/wp-content/uploads/...

Yeah, Google hired Robert Geisberger...

Unless the place you need is "unavailable for download".

It may be trivial, but I have actually never found a way to mark them and assure myself the download was complete and the maps are available before a trip.

The download included a persistent notification informing me of the entire download process, including percentage and a finish message. Perhaps you disabled notifications from the app.

Ouch! Yes, I did disable it. That explains it, thanks.

Google Maps keeps notifying me of "you are at X, would you like to review it?" So it can't make useful notification anymore either.

by trivial, you mean logged into a google account where all 'offline' activity is synced and mapped to your account once connectivity is restored. I also find it hard to believe that Google maps offline can't give voice navigation (reverts to beeps) and that requires constant data connectivity... the app is constantly phoning home too.

Google Maps is pretty bad without fast, reliable data, I remember trying it on Sprint, no joy unless I could pull at least a megabit a second.

The problem is that there is no user-settable 'offline mode', so as soon as Google detects an Internet connection (even a very slow one) it starts trying to behave as if it's on a 100Mbps LTE connection. This makes many Google apps totally unusable on low-bandwidth networks.

When you open apps like Hangouts, Google Maps, etc. on low-bandwidth connections, they immediately try to sync an onslaught of data before making the UI responsive based on the existing offline state. Data that could take hours to sync at 5kb/s.

There's no reason I haven't have a text-only messaging conversation perfectly well on a 2G network. Except when Google tries to sync 50MB of pictures from a conversation I haven't even selected yet, and all of my 500 contacts' profile photos, before I can do anything else.

Incidentally, this is why everyone outside of North America uses WhatsApp.

Heh, I'm an avid Signal User due to that, not terribly much message syncing going on as the message database is stored on your device :3

What are you talking about? There's literally a "WiFi only" toggle in Google Maps app.

How well do you suppose that would work on say, a satellite connection over wi-fi?

I have used it all day, every day I that I've worked in the last seven years on Sprint and very rarely have a problem.

One strange thing I've noticed over the years is there's a difference on Android vs Apple -- can't count the times I've gone to the wrong place following the Android tablet in the car only to have to pull up the address on the iPhone to get there. When they first put the tablets in the cars I was using the navigation and it took me into the alley between the houses and "you have arrived"...in their backyard. Not very helpful.

Honestly, though, I rarely use navigation unless I'm feeling really lazy or going somewhere complicated enough that I can't figure out how to get there by just glancing at the map. 100% don't use navigation on the stupid tablet in the car.

I use mine anytime I have to go through high route traffic like interstates as their traffic data has saved me countless hours rerouting me through some accident. Totally worth it

Working without a network is niche now?

Anywhere you go far from a city will lack a network.

Or working on a slow, spotty network, which is par for the course for 'the next billion users' that tech execs keep talking about.

Or if your mobile connection has strict data caps...

Also Here was useful to me when I burned up my data allowance.

It’s really useful when you’re traveling abroad and might not have access to any data right away.

I'm not sure why it has to be either/or. I use Google Maps routinely for traffic routing among other things. I also routinely use OSM to have offline maps when traveling, for hiking, and various other things.

You obviously did not read the previous post or you don't know what HERE maps are.

https://maps.me/download/ (free for iOS and Android) let's you download countries for offline use. Includes search and car navigation. Based on OpenStreetMap data.

I just downloaded the app and opened it, and it showed me white, and told me I had to download my city first (56MB). I doubt you can download whole countries at that rate.

Also, including the App that was a lot of downloading just to look at a single map.

> I doubt you can download whole countries at that rate.

What? GMaps alone is already 30MB and has to download all of its maps on the fly. What do you think, that Google alone has a magic way of making up maps out of thin air?

And of course you can download whole countries at once, Germany for instance is ca. 1GB, which is totally doable on your home WiFi.

You are not getting a working google maps (or here maps, or bing maps) app for much less.

I have several countries and states on my phone, totaling about 600MB; I download a country on WiFi before leaving for the airport, and I'm guaranteed to have a working map with routing regardless of how well data works when I arrive.

maps.me is really excellent. The only thing is, it's owned by Yandex (the russian equivalent of Google), so your whereabouts are reported to the NKVD/KGB/FSB/whatever-it-is-called-these-days rather than to the NSA.

I use Maps.me, it's OSM based offline maps. Pretty often they're better than Google maps when I just want to look at a map and see different paths and so on, I rarely use Google maps to look up businesses, which seems to be their main focus. And it's a great security to always have maps available regardless of network connectivity.


+1 Here maps (it's the old Nokia maps, now under Daimler and others).

Probably the best UX of any map apps and some great sounding voices.

I think we both have the same experience. User interface and user experience in Here are heads and shoulder above google maps IMHO, so much that after this, I also installed Here maps on my regular phone. The best interface is still on my old windows phone, with zero ads, back when Microsoft owned Here.

Someone said I found an obscure usecase. I disagree. Navigating without a reliable data connection is not obscure and uncommon!!

Even if it was, my obscure case is very embedded in my mind. I don't care about the 99% cases when google maps work. I care about the 1% when it doesn't work while I need it.

This is why after this, I've decided it was safer to migrate my mapping needs to a more robust solution.

I don't care about how wide user adoption is. I care that it solves my problem better than the alternatives!

> I don't care about the 99% cases when google maps work. I care about the 1% when it doesn't work while I need it.

This right here is a huge reason I distrust Google apps. When it's good, it's good, and when it isn't... it's terrible.

What got me to stop using Here on Android was that when I chose a contact or other address and selected Google Maps to launch it took me to the location. When I chose Here maps it took me to my current location - if I wanted to use that address I'd clicked, I could go copy and paste it.

> Probably the best UX of any map apps

Except for the ads, which I consider to be pretty terrible UX compared to not having any ads.

I'd be willing to pay to avoid any ads in HERE Maps.

I've been using Here Maps for 4-5 years now and haven't seen a single add. Are you sure we are talking about the same app?

The Play Store entry explicitly lists the app as containing ads.

I've definitely seen ads in it before, can't recall on which of Windows/Android/iOS platforms though.

> No network, so no lookup of business names, but Here maps offline with street addresses did better than Google Maps online.

I haven't used Here Maps so I'm not sure what it's like, but at least using OSMand I do have lookup of business names. Furthermore, I've been planning a trip recently and found out that Wikivoyage actually offers GPX files next to at least the articles on the places I'm going, containing the addresses and descriptions of places of interest. I loaded them into OSMand, and it's a pretty great experience.

I would say that when it comes to Europe maps, TomTom ones are hands down the best. But thats not weird as majority of their business resolves around Europe.

Google Maps is also easy to download for offline use, you just have to plan ahead. If you're residing in EU, your data plan is valid everywhere within the EU. Here Maps or HereWeGo or whatever it is called is full with tracking software [1], just like Google Maps (actually more trackers than Google Maps [2] and Google Maps Go [3]; with Google apps you know it is just Google who tracks you plus whoever has authority over them (governments)). It is also proprietary, just like Google Maps. All of that in contrast to OSM.

[1] https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/reports/search/com.her...

[2] https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/reports/11485/

[3] https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/reports/7583/

Google Maps only supports offline maps in selected countries. Places like China, for instance, are not supported even though the online coverage is perfectly good in most major cities.

Which countries aren't supported?

Can't find a list but it does state in [1] that some regions aren't supported for various reasons. The only example that I can think about off the top of my head is China.

[1]: https://support.google.com/maps/answer/6291838

Google Maps does let you save offline areas. And while search is not as capable when offline, I find if you have an address it works, and often it works if you only have a business name. What doesn't work are the walking or public transit navigation options. However, if you can find free public Wi-Fi (which is easier and easier) you can plot the directions while online, and then it will continue to work when you go offline.

Yes it's a little less convenient than live data, but it works great for me. I have an Android phone with no mobile data plan. So whenever I'm in an area that I'm not familiar with, I just download to offline maps and I'm good to go.

For the first 25 years I drove a car, I had only paper maps and/or written directions whenever I needed to go anywhere. So Google Maps even in offline mode is still like magic to me.

Somewhat similar. I have a multiple generations old iPhone in a waterproof Otterbox case and I mostly use it for various GPS and mapping apps. I do have to remember to keep it charged--its battery life isn't what it was--but at a minimum, it's a useful backup to have.

You could try one of the Garmin handheld hiking GPS. I have an eTrex 20 that can read OSM maps and runs for a week on two AA batteries.

I have thought about it but it's really just a backup device so never seemed worth it.

If you ever venture into Android land, consider a phone with a removable battery for your next device. After having I really liked become barely chargeable, I made sure my next phone had a removable battery. I'm glad I did!

Eh. I know the tradeoffs. If I really cared I could get a new one put in for relatively little money. I may but it's a pretty old phone at this point.

Google Maps also offers offline maps.

Which can't be downloaded in many places. I assume it has something to do with their licenses but, outside the US, I have run into a number of situations where I couldn't download an area.

ADDED: I always download the OSM data into Maps.me on my iPhone before I travel internationally. If nothing else, it's a useful backup.

came here to say that. it was a pleasant surprise in january of this year - had little internet connection while exploring a small island (got off a cruise ship). Found google maps had an 'offline mode', so I just downloaded the maps for the island and was good to go. Wasn't until April that maps notified me that the data was expiring and would be deleted.

If I am lost on an island, the last thing I want is google to decide by itself that my data is too old and my expired maps should be deleted for my own good.

It was 4 months later and it gave the option of keeping it.

I am an avid traveler currently traveling South-East-Asia. One of the most favorite tools used by travelers is an Android app Maps.me, that is based on Openstreet maps. You can download any Country or region and have it for offline use, only need a GPS connection.

There are some practical caveats in using it though: -If You are planning a ride by car, the estimated time for Your journey most likely be way (waaaaayyy) off. Especially in Asian countries that are less covered. It can show 3 hours in a journey that is 8 hours without traffic. -some areas are completely not covered (I mean at all)

But for bigger cities it's pretty good in coverage

Have you been improving the less-covered areas during your travels?

Only in available ways. When it is easy to update the situation (add place to map), I do it. But it's only easy to label areas and buildings, and much harder to add whole villages or roads that are missing

I like that the arguments for OpenStreetMap were more about the advantages over Google Maps, instead of "because Google is a 'bad' company" like so many Google debates delve into.

I love using Google Maps for my applications, but I'll definitely look into OpenStreetMaps now.

Reviewing the difference, OSM actually puts the street name where I can find it. The first thing I want with maps are street names and for whatever reasons, google maps makes that very difficult in some cases.

I'm a big supporter of open mapping data and initiatives. I hope companies continue to contribute to the datasets, vs keeping higher quality data within silos.

I registered the domain thislocation.com a while back. Through some other work I'm doing, I'm hoping to release a platform and datasets that allow you to build/upload/download arbitrary metadata schemas that you can attach to a location (coordinate/POI etc).

The data will be freely available to other platforms, OSM compatible as much as possible. The goal is to pull up a location and there could be hundreds of interactive datasets about it specifically or nearby. Anything from a live audio recording of a space, to drone footage, lidar/radar captures.

The project started when capturing lidar & precision gps data recently, and not having an easy, agnostic platform to just upload and allow it to work easily. The goal is to understand common data patterns so the App will just consume where it can, or allow extension via custom schemas where needed. Everything now seems to be poorly design UI's, corporate desktop software, or if it is a modern online platform, it's too specific to a particular vertical.

I don't really feel like the layers/photos etc experience of google earth are really the best way to explore mapping data, as well as displaying thousands of markers. We are trying for different approaches based on the types of media.

A user can keep their data private, or share it publicly but it will be just like opening Google maps online, typing in an address etc, then toggling datasets in a modern, beautiful way that just works. hiding the map when needed, activating different pages when more appropriate. Everything defined in JSON Schema etc, no new standards or KML/XML, maybe compatible exports if needed.

Apologies for the long pitch, just wanted to share about this side project, and love for open mapping data.

Another piece would be slowly filling out everything possible that could document a specific location, from the soil, asphalt type/quality, temperature, smell/sound, haze in the air, scientific measurements, video/drone/lidar. Until all checkboxes are completed/amassed.

> The latest change (June 2018) has much more impact : Google decided to reduce the limit of free requests (25000 map display per day to 28000 per month - that's around 1000 map display per day, so 25 times less)

IMO the biggest takeaway from this article. I've hacked up plenty of projects on using Google Maps, but would definitely think again with this much lower free limit. Though, on the bright side, it seems that Google has finally made Maps pricing transparent:


Around a similar time Mapbox also made their pricing much cheaper for lower usage users.

Current Mapbox pricing came into effect July/2017.

Ah yeah I say similar time because I don't check it too often but the pricing used to be: free, $500/month, and "contact us"

Not Mapbox, but MapTiler Cloud lowered the price recently - https://www.maptiler.com/cloud/plans/

I just recently spent a few hours working with OSM and Nominatim as part of a project for my university, an event planning page for ActivityPub social media: http://fedevent.herokuapp.com/

OSM maps are quite detailed, perfectly serviceable...but Nominatim is not very good (at least in my experience?) I used https://github.com/perliedman/leaflet-control-geocoder to interact with Nominatim but entering something that can sound relatively common (like a mall or an abbreviation of an institution) will come up with locations in entirely different countries than the user had in mind and at least in the case of that geocoder control (props to the dev for making it, BTW) there isn't a clear way to determine WHERE something is before selecting it.

I noticed this when I searched for "Mall San Pedro" and was returned the right location but it was displayed as something completely different, under the name of the street. It's a little disconnecting.

I appreciate that it might come down the libraries and tools that are querying Nominatim with certain design decisions, but the useful of a database is in the implementation of it into tools.

Have a look at this page for alternatives https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Search_engines Pelias is the product from Mapzen (rip)

Did you have a look at overpass turbo[1]?

With this API a lot more is possible than with nominatim.

[1] http://overpass-turbo.eu/

This looks useful for the purposes of describing areas in detail but setting an event usually doesn't require more than a couple pins to show where it takes place.

I will keep this handy for any future geomapping projects I work on (which sounds like a possibility given that this was interesting to work with)

Overpass turbo is a great tool, but it's not in the same category as a geocoder like nominatim. Overpass is for querying OSM objects, not parsing addresses.

OSM is supreme when it comes to paths, trails and other such details (like wind shelters). Google Maps seems to be devoid of these.

Absolutely, I use OSM all the time for walking paths and mountain bike trails because the coverage of them is perfect. Google maps seems to fall short where there isn't a lot of money to be made.

Yep, I use OSM to plan runs and rides for anywhere I travel to, and then add any new trails I find.

I can't find it now, but hiking in Kyrgyzstan I took a screenshot of OsmAnd+ and Google Maps. On Google Maps was a river and empty space; on Osmand 3 rivers, uncountable paths, among those the ones that lead to the summit I had as a goal, plus natural water sources (like waterfalls, etc), and all that with detailed countour lines to have a quick visual of the difficulty of each path.

Not sure how the article makes the mental leap from "google is limiting free usage to a few thousand views per day" for a system that costs a lot to operate, to "google may hide stuff or change country borders at will". If that's the main argument for switching to openstreetmaps, it's not very compelling.

What I would love to see in OpenStreetMaps are translated or transcripted place names. And since place names are extremely political, this should also be mentioned that a place has several names in different languages and cultures.

That exists. This blog post explains how to add Welsh names: http://cardiff.theodi.org/2018/02/23/mapio-eich-milltir-sgwa...

There's quite some resistance to adding translations and transcriptions, as they aren't really names as such.

An example would be small towns in the US. They probably don't have a Welsh name, even if there happens to be a direct translation into Welsh.

Cymraeg users often have a strong hatred of English language use, and users, and want to deny that Welsh counties were annexed in to England and want to try and hold back the tide wrt English language use in preference to Cymraeg.

We get silly things in Wales like Cymraeg mono-lingual government announcements/adverts on the radio (accessible to about 7% [1] of the population vs c.100% if they were in English), motorway signs that are only in Cwmraeg for half the people passing them (they change over, useless if you passed already), travel announcements in Cymraeg first. Heck, if you ring 999 in an emergency you have to wait for the Cymraeg speaker to finish their 20s message before you start your call.

Welsh people use British-English language predominantly; the Welsh name is the name in English, the Cymraeg name sometimes differs.

[1] roughly: ~15% of the adult population say they know any Cymraeg, half of those are fluent (self reported). FWIW half of those fluent say they prefer to use English. So one could argue you're catering to <4% of the population.

Cymraeg users often have a strong hatred of English language use, and users,

Not my experience (English - Somerset based - with quite a lot of work and friends the other side of the bridges). If you show some respect towards others, I generally find it returned. They are also not users but speakers. The only time I find dual language to be a bit of a pain is in lifts: being told the doors are closing in two languages is bloody stupid.

and want to deny that Welsh counties were annexed in to England and want to try and hold back the tide wrt English language use in preference to Cymraeg.

You might want to reread your history books and concentrate around 1066. The Norsemen didn't really give a shit whether you were "welsh" or "english" (neither of which, as we now know them, really existed as such at the time). You were probably a vassel, whatever language you spoke. I can't remember or even be bothered to look up when the concept of county was created. I think we still had hides and hundreds back then.

Harold put a vassal in place in Gwynedd in 1063. But IIRC they were already ruling and had originally taken Gwynedd by force with an Irish & Danish army.

Re counties, there were established principalities in the West of the British mainland -- Gwynedd managed to subdue many of these other counties (ie independently governed areas), whilst paying fealty/homage to the English Crown, once Gwynedd had subdued Deheubarth and Powys and such, they (Llewellyn The Last) stopped paying the Crown. At which point Gwynedd was put down, handing their recent won territories over to be annexed to the "English" King's territories (Edward I).

I don't think the Welsh counties in general were divided in to hundreds until Henry Tudor (who also issued a writ demanding use of English across his whole territory). Hides and hundreds, like the words, are Anglo-Saxon I think?

AFAICT Gwynedd grew strong (post-Romans) by earlier conquest by Vikings and Irish-Scots.

You're right, the Norse, like the Romans before them didn't care what tribe you hung with, Wales is called that because it's the bit the Romans hadn't conquered yet (cf Walloons, Wallachia (? in Romania)); which is down to physical geography. Same with the Norse AFAICT. And the same in the other direction with why Gwynedd was able to conquer the principalities but not subdue the Marches or Pembrokeshire.

'A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes, in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French conté or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount...When the Normans conquered England, they brought the term [county] with them. The Saxons had already established the districts that became the historic counties of England, calling them shires; many county names derive from the name of the county town (county seat) with the word "shire" added on: for example, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.' [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County ]

I found one phone box where the instructions on how to call emergency services were only in Welsh, it was in a major tourist area too.

112 works in all of the EU, many other countries, and on all GSM phones.


Well, that could change as of next year, when the Isles get their splendid isolation back.

Then dont add a translation for a small town and you have 0 problems.

That would work. If this were a task of some central authority, and not literally anyone who happens to come by with Maps.Me installed. (Adding translations becomes a lesser problem, compared with "I know, I'll replace the local names with my mistranslations and personal scribbles like 'I left my car here'."

Surprisingly, even discounting this, the crowdsourced POIs are quite accurate.)

I don't really understand the approach to names which takes them and translates them: Pen-Y-Bont and Bridge-end are translations, but the name is one or the other. Transliteration seems fine to me, Caerdydd <=> Cardiff, but we shouldn't say it's "name" in English is Diffcastle (or perhaps Taffcastle if you take an etymological approach).


What do you call Germany? Germany, or Deutschland? Why is the one you use more correct than the other?


In other words, both are correct. Choosing the one that's appropriate in a specific context...is a tricky problem.

Germany is more correct because they write " made in Germany" on German products.

But that was mandated by the British because the zeitgeist was that German products were shoddy crap.

So since the Japanese write 日本製 on their products you agree all maps should write it 日本 then?

I bought a zojirushi rice cooker last year, It said 'made in Japan'. Not quite sure what those characters are in your comment or what you are trying to say.

I simply wouldn't be able to remember or refer to Russia if it was always called Русский, but I do agree that we shouldn't translate as much as we do. Be it names in translated books, cities, countries, software... For example, the number of translations for a small city in Belgium called Liège/Lüttich/Luik is just confusing, and it's not even a popular tourist destination (everyone drives through it on their way south, but nobody goes there because it looks very ugly when you only drive through it on the highway).

It's a fair-sized city (population of 200000) in the French-speaking part of Belgium near the Dutch-speaking part, with historical ties to the German language. Of course it is known in all three languages. And as with all cities of some importance on OpenStreetMap, its entry includes the names it is known by in a variety of languages. These aren't shown by default, but they can be used to search for in ones native language.

> because it looks very ugly when you only drive through it on the highway

A lot of places look ugly if you stay on the highway.

Your attitude pegs you as a fellow Dutchman holding the classic but outdated, tiresome, and condescending view of that city that you only pass it on your way to France for the holidays. But do stop there some time, the past decade has been kind to it (the modern train station is beautiful). Keep in mind that this is a large city in an area dominated by the coal industry for the better part of the twentieth century.

...granted my partner (who comes from near Liège and studied there) also doesn’t like it because it is pretty grey, but so is most of Belgium. I find the mix of old and postwar architecture quite beautiful and there is lots of cool stuff going on now; it’s like an edgier, more “Brooklyn” alternative to Maastricht.

What I find interesting is that the road signs in the Netherlands say Liège whereas in the few km of Vlaanderen on the way there, they insist on Luik. But this is what makes Belgium, Belgium.

Russia is Россия in Russian.

Ah, copied the wrong string from Wikipedia it seems.

I always wondered who actually pays for the bills in OSM? Who pays all the servers, all the traffic, etc...?

The Openstreetmap Foundation[1]. They publish financial info too [2].

1. https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Main_Page

2. https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Finances

Donations and a little assistance in kind (discounted/donated hosting). But OSM is incredibly efficiently run. Turnover in 2017 was just £185,395 and that includes the State of the Map conference. The foundation has just one part-time employee for administrative support. Compare to Wikimedia which has turnover of around $80m and 280 employees.

With OSM you have to host the map tiles yourself if you add maps to your website, because OSM servers only provide limited traffic hosting via the API.

Anyone providing service on top of OpenStreetMap can or ideally should host/render stuff on own mirror server. However for small uses I recommend utilising simple reverse proxy caching e.g. with nginx. Here is snippet of nginx config from my geo side-project: https://pastebin.com/brTQ68nw

I use Carto's free tiles, which are great. I only found them when I did a project where the client had a Carto licence. I've used the free tiles (with Leaflet) for every map project I've done since.

There are OSM tileservers.. that's what you see when you go to https://www.openstreetmap.org. You are encouraged to host your own tiles if needed.

The main OSM org doesn't actually host any of the servers that end users use. They host a website for editors to contribute and publish data dumps. Devs providing access to OSM download the data dumps and host it on their own servers.

The OSM website includes tile servers which render the tiles that are on https://www.openstreetmap.org

They do but thats not meant to be used on your app/website. It's mainly for editors to use.

OSM does not offer live traffic data, which makes it hard to use it for real life navigation. Does anyone know a project that takes care for this kind of data?

Are you from the USA? I'll assume so, because I've often seen this on HN/Reddit: a lot of people there seem to use Waze or other traffic info sources for getting around traffic. I want to know whether I'll be delayed so I'll check before a trip (and also during a trip if it's >2h), but I can recall driving around a jam maybe once in my life. It usually isn't faster, and that's assuming the byways/B-roads aren't congested as well, in which case standing in the jam is definitely faster. It sounds like spreading the load over multiple roads in the USA is a must.

Some of this is probably due to American vs European driving habits, with respect to long trips. It's hard to gain much by routing around congestion along a half-hour trip, but if you're going to spend half a day or longer then you definitely want to know when there's a wreck that makes it worthwhile to get off the interstate to avoid.

I'm in the UK. I have a half hour commute by car when there's light traffic. Congestion can easily add 10-15 minutes to that. There are at least three almost entirely independent routes that I can take to work that are the same without traffic so it's absolutely worth routing around it

There is http://opentraffic.io which was developed together with Mapzen(RIP), Conveyal, and the World Bank, which shows a lot of promise

So far only proprietary and not shared. https://maps.me/download/ has it (not in the offline mode obviously), mapbox does. Collecting the data requires to have 1000s of users sending their position and speed and OpenStreetMaps usual target audience is rather tracking-averse.

One of the interesting trends I've been seeing are the amount of companies that are rebuilding there maps from the ground up. While Google currently provides the best data set, there is a resurgence of companies mapping from the ground up to solve problems that Google isn't solving for its customers. You've got Apple[1], Tesla[2], and Uber[3] all rebuilding maps and all current/previous customers of Google.

[1] - https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/29/apple-is-rebuilding-maps-f...

[2] - https://electrek.co/2017/07/03/tesla-map-navigation-open-sou...

[3] - https://www.uber.com/newsroom/mapping-ubers-future/

Maps make even more sense to be free for the public to access, than the summary of human knowledge known as Wikipedia.

This is a literal description of the physical space we occupy. The knowledge of "what is there" should not be owned by any entity.

Now, I am aware that map data includes more than just "what is there" and one could argue that certain types of metadata can be more appropriately owned than others. But on the whole they should be the minority. In particular, the metadata required to "make sense of it all" should be free: Systems for searching between the wildly different naming conventions and other mapping oddities in various parts of the world.

I am also aware that certain parts of map data may be classified to certain governments. Exceptions could be made. I'm not sure what the best solution is but it's not that important as these spots are a minority of the world's mapped area.

Open Street Maps is great as a data source, but the front end client apps for using it are somewhat lacking. On my iPhone, I use Maps.me when I travel to Cuba and Google Maps almost everywhere else. If I was building an app, I'd definitely use OSM and probably Mapbox.

I think the weakest part of OSM apps is search. When I type in an address into Google it will most of the time find what I am looking for whereas in OSM apps I have to go through country, state, city, zip code and whatever. The maps themselves are excellent.

Absolutely. Search is pretty abysmal in many of the OSM apps. I did a bunch of editing for OSM a while ago and I went to search one of the things I had added and it didn't come up because I had searched "office works" instead of how it was entered in OSM "officeworks".

On Android, Osmand works very well.

I've found it rather slow and temperamental, plus their business model of charging for access to map updates basically means that you have to pay them to use corrections you contribute to OSM.

> plus their business model of charging for access to map updates

Not sure what you are talking about, but I am not prompted to pay for updates. In fact, I'm installing some updates and new maps right now. Even the 'live' feature works. I am using the f-droid version of the app though, so maybe that's the difference?

The version in f-droid provides anything free, which the version in google play does not.

This app is excellent. I'll probably donate. I would be totallly comfortable with doing this if they made their UI free, making osmand a completely free software.

I which I could use it on a regular computer, or if a web service provided something similar to what we get with osmand, the experience of its offline search included.

Next step would be mapillary providing a free app to contribute to their database or osmand providing a way to do it.

They charge $9, which is basically just covering server resources.

I haven't done it in quite some time, but if that is overly burdensome, it is also possible to avoid needing access to their servers by building a map file yourself.

I feel like I'm crazy when people recommend Osmand and have a good experience. I've tried and tried to like it but I can't even type in an address and have it find it. Other apps based on OSM seem to manage just fine -- I'm not exactly in an obscure location.

For “off road” use, Gaia GPS is great. Especially since it syncs to their website.

I love OSM but editing is horrible. Draw a small path that wasn’t there before, pick from 500 different labels and tags (landuse:path or landuse:track?), make one small mistake, get a passive aggressive reply from an experienced editor that is basically “get off my lawn” and have your edit reversed...

On iphone, the nicest looking app I found is called MapOut.

Very slick, works well, offline. I guess aimed more at outdoor use than cities, or driving.

Can you describe where you find maps.me on iOS to be lacking?

I developed a Maps centric app recently I realized all the things mentioned in this article and made a comment recently on HN related to Apple maps about this.

Popular times (Maps) in Google Maps is incredibly useful and a good example, requests to expose this data are ignored. Some may argue Google has a right to therefore it should. The data is gathered in numerous ways, perhaps unsuspecting mobile users is one which method is used to.

I want more competition, I don't think a flood of Maps providers is a good thing either. A single source of really good data is what is needed. Perhaps OSM can be that, or perhaps smaller Map providers can provide data to an open standard for which OSM can use through some type of exchange license.

From the purely practical, pragmatic point of view both GM and OSM are very far from perfect. Similar services offered by local service providers can be much better in some cases. For example Seznam's Mapy.cz is feel much much better than Google Maps when it's about the Czech Republic. I don't work for them, that's my purely pragmatic user experience.

I quite like https://maps.openrouteservice.org/ as a UI for OSM that has sensible search and routing.

The routing has many different cycling modes, and you can also click the little leaflet icon on the right and switch the view to "OpenCycleMap" to get a more cycling-oriented map view.

Another OSM-based cycle map and routeplanner you might be interested in: https://cycle.travel/map (disclaimer - my site! Western Europe/North America only at present).

Very nice, interestingly it doesn't always come up with quite the same route as openrouteservice does.

So roads are great and all, but the info I really care about is what's on them. I know all of my possible commute routes like the back of my hand, and couldn't care less about which data source is more accurate for them. What I don't know is which one is the fastest to use right now given current traffic conditions. As far as I know, OSM alone doesn't collect or store such ephemeral data.

(Please remember: driving, like all practical and modern travel modes, is the art of getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. I don't get paid to sit in a goddamn parking lot that calls itself a "highway", nor to sit in the other parking lot that calls itself a "two-lane rural road", nor to superspeed through an overly non-straight two-lane rural road while the other roads are actually performing as advertised.)

I generally favor Google Maps for the things they care about--like major roads, directions, etc. But, while not perfect, I find OSM is far more likely to have things like hiking trails and other types of features that are apparently not on Goggle's list of things it actually cares about.

I've stopped using Google Maps as a map altogether and subscribe to the service of a navigation map maker directly. Their maps (they do combine proprietary materials and sources like OpenStreetMap) are of higher quality and have a satisfactory degree of completness as well as good search.

Gmaps has stopped being useful to me since searches in a given perimeter do not show all results spatially at any given zoomlevel, and whole roads and labels go missing if you zoom out a little bit to much or too far in. It used to be a fairly good product around 2012 but has since then declined in utility, especially in contrast to all the catching-up the competitors did in the meantime.

I suppose a huge part of Gmaps business nowdadays is the embedding of Gmaps in 3rd-party products.

While I love OSM for the data and the free approach, one thing which annoys me with OSM is that their main map doesn’t support hdpi (retina) displays. That makes the map look ugly on iPad and MacBooks at least, I suspect on much more recent devices.

There's tentative discussions underway about providing a vector-based rendering on osm.org to augment the current raster styles, which of course would be resolution-independent.

These look fine on my 4K display, but too small in my phone.


OpenMapTiles.org provide vector tiles using OSM, but they don't include all the data for efficiency.

I think the problem for OSM is choosing which data to include in the vector tiles. The tile could get very large, but the outdoor view benefits from including electricity pylons.

> What if Google decide to "hide" or "highlight" certain kind of shops for instance

Doesn't google already do this? Shops with paid advertisement come much higher than unpaid shops.

Or for navigation: walking, biking, public transit, driving, uber

MapTiler Cloud is also an alternative based on OSM data. It is free for personal use and prices for businesses are fair: https://www.maptiler.com/cloud/ We also offer many advanced services like hosting own data, easy map customization tool, support for 55 languages with an autodetection and much more!

" but also made it mandatory to give your credit card number even if you do not go over the free limit !"

Only if you are a new user. Google published a transition document for existing users and it says they don't have to add a card, but then of course your maps stop working for the rest of the month if you go over the $200 free quota.

So current users have it easier, but new users have to add a card.

One must supply a credit card or have an account with billing enabled. Existing users will have accounts. But they must be altered to have billing enabled if they do not have it enabled already.

* https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/pricing/

There is a separate guide for existing users and it states:

"If you choose not to add a billing account, there is a risk that if your usage exceeds $200 in a given month, your Maps API implementation will be degraded or other API requests will return an error."


So you can choose not to add a billing account if you are an existing user, but then maps won't work beyond the $200 credit/month.

You might want to re-read the "all Google Cloud Platform services require a credit card and billing account" in the first sentence of that. (-:

Which agrees with "Is a credit card or billing account required? Yes." on the other page.

I read it. And then comes the second part: "If you choose not to add a billing account..." If a billing account is required then the second part makes no sense, because then it would simply say the service won't work at all without it, but it talks about the monthly free credit instead.

That second part is the difference between the docs for new users vs. existing users.

But we'll see who's right soon. Tomorrow.

Why the downvote? Is this not correct?

What I miss is actual functionality that makes my life better as a user. I totally agree on all points made, but it is not going get me a better mapping experience in any way. For me to consider OSM, I need most features that are as good and some that are better. I don't like to say it, but OSM does not (yet?) offer this.

Also you can try https://windymaps.com/app I think they're using osm data for their maps. Can navigate also on bike or hike.

Yes, they do, for most of the world, at least. In fact, it was originally a Czech-only map website Mapy.cz (and later a mobile app), with their own map data (they even have their own Street View-like function) in the Czech Republic. For the rest of the world, they used map data from the common commercial providers. Then, they switched to OSM for the rest of the world (keeping their own for the Czech Republic). And finally, they launched the international version of the mapping app after the success of the Windy weather app which used the map layer.

what if they decide to draw the border between countries wherever they want

This seems a bit tin foil hat to me. Has Google been caught doing something like this before with malicious intent?

I would not call it "malicious intent" but for example the borders of Tibet are very controversial: https://qz.com/224821/see-how-borders-change-on-google-maps-...

Interesting stuff. Thanks for the link.

It’s not about malicious intent on Google’s part- the borders between countries are literally the most contentious lines ever drawn, people die every single day over them. Google shouldn’t be an authority on border disputes in any capacity.

I'd gladly use any map except Apple maps for navigation on my smartphone, but its the only map software that navigates through the lock screen on my iPhone.

I used OSM instead of Google Maps for a tracking project because I didn't have 11000USD to pay them upfront for the licence.

Back in the days, I rode hundreds of kilometres on my bike to map empty areas of OSM, but I never really used OSM.

Google Maps is not perfect but is there an OSS alternative to :

- a map

- a strong search engine

- POI synced on the cloud

- powerful transport/traffic route calculation

I can't use a map service without these features.

Ironically the website is giving a 500 error.

I just finished a week long drive and "wild" camping trip in Scotland. I have Maps.me and Osmand on my phone and it was excellent. Helped me find all kinds of things that aren't on any other maps. The best thing is, as a mapper myself, I know the people who mapped it are people like me, rather than people doing their job or trying to make money. It also makes me think someone has probably appreciated my mapping at some point.

What about mapbox?

The article talks about them ("probably the easiest way to switch from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap") and links to them, and they use OSM data. What more were you expecting?

Mapbox consumes OSM.

Can one use Google maps offline?

Yes. There's an option to download sections . It shows how much space it will take. Expires in 1 month I think and gives a notification to update it to reflect latest changes.

Whenever I say this kind of stuff on HN lately — supporting open source over proprietary solutions — I get downvoted.

Facebook and others will always be in charge unless open source software gets good enough to form decentralized networks compete with it. It has to be user friendly and developer friendly enough to gain massive adoption.

Here is Qbix Platform. It took 6 years to develop, is open source and free.


Well, Google can "correct" your spelling and take you to the correct city (let's say it's not a big deal), but mainly Google Maps rules for multiple points navigation A->B->C->... I think it allows 10(-ish) intermediary points.

Osmand on android provides this feature. You can also ask to avoid a specific road in the map.

Correcting the spelling and always guessing what your query means... Well not so much.

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