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OpenStreetMap: Welcome Apple (osmfoundation.org)
364 points by sambeau on March 8, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 151 comments

  "It’s also missing the necessary credit to OpenStreetMap’s
   contributors; we look forward to working with Apple to get
   that on there."

While I think it's quite messed up that a company as rich as Apple can't abide putting credits for people who have put some really good work in (I've even made small updates to OSM in my time) I do think that this is a very classy move by the OSM people, no ranting blog post or 'Apple stole our stuff', welcoming people presents a much better image of the project.

Given the behaviour of Steve Jobs over the years, that attitude is probably embedded in the culture.

If you look in the settings of applications like Pages you'll see a section named Contributions, they list opensource projects they use even for those whose license does not require to be mentioned.

While I'm agree with you that credits must be given where it is due, stretching it to the fact that this behavior would be in their DNA seems not backed up by facts in my point of view.

Really? The same Jobs who asked Stallman personally about whether or not Next's modifications to Objective C would need to be contributed back, and who then made sure they were contributed?

If Steve Jobs were still alive, he'd probably be pledging to deplete every last dollar of Apple's billions to run this stolen product into the ground. Who does OpenStreetMap think they are, anyway?


After making this comment I've come back to my 'comments' page from time to time and watched its karma value gyrate between positive and negative.

Do the down-mods represent people operating in good faith thinking I'm being mean-spirited, rude, and damaging the conversation? Or are they Apple fanboys upset by a little uncomfortable teasing at their expense? I can only speculate. :P

Personally, I just don't know what to make of your original comment, serious, or sarcastic, the clarity of what you are trying to get across just seems quite low.

Its obviously (to me) sarcastic.

He is probably getting downvoted by people who

1) don't see it as sarcastic 2) Think it detracts from the conversation and encourages behavior of a similar sort.

If OpenStreetMap ends up like the KHTML -> WebKit ascendancy then things could be very good for their team in the future.

Yeah, because that fork really went painless without the KHTML people publicly having to call out Apple several times.

Apples and Oranges. There are many web browsers. If you want a wiki map data, there is only OSM. Unless you have lots of money to licence other data, and can put up with their flaws (not as up to date as OSM, less detailed in some way etc.), OSM is the only horse in town.

This is great for OSM because it's starting to show how it's a real player, not just as as "open source map data", but "map data", i.e. it's competiting with the big, non-open source, map data providers now.

Attribution is required by the OSM copyright licence.

I think ElliotH knows that. His point is that OSM is probably going to be more effective publicly welcoming and reminding than throwing a hissyfit, even though they'd be justified in doing so.

Agreed. Apple adopting OSM could be huge for them.

And think about it, everyone who they'd want to know that it is OSM, now knows :-P

Who cares what Apple wants? _OSM_ wants everyone to know that Apple is using their data.

Exactly. OSM wants more people using OSM. Getting the pitchforks out now would be contrary to that goal.

It was for stealth. This does not absolve them of their legal and ethical responsibility to give credit where it's due, but it explains their actions above "they're dicks".

April 2010 is around when they would have started working on the maps back-end. Attribution would have meant dev releases would have indicated Apple using non-Google Maps data. They probably wanted to avoid that.

And that makes it OK how?

I noted in my original answer that "this does not absolve them of...responsibility".

Some of the comments were implying that Apple didn't give credit because they have a culture that is insolent. I was just trying to give context to the decision.

Sorry, reading and comprehension never was my strong suit. I just can't help but feel that by 'explaining' this behavior it is in some way condoning it. I see now that was not your intent.

It appears they've had these maps in their desktop products since about April 2010, so this explanation doesn't make any sense. (And if it did, then a simple switch to turn on attribution at launch time would have worked too).

Why is that, that if Apple ignores credit/copyright (on a massive scale), that everybody loves their move.

But if anybody would rip of an Apple product, the descendants of mighty Steve would come raining down with swords, axes and lawyers.

Do you really think they did it, to support OSM. Or should I ask myself: "Where is the money?"

The money, they do not have to pay Google anymore for the use of maps, while not crediting all these people, who supported OSM with their time and data-collecting.

I think the thing you might be witnessing here is what earthlings call "sarcasm," or maybe "a thinly veiled threat". I'm not entirely sure which one.

The whole article is sarcasm laid on with a trowel by people who would probably be willing to chase all the media exposure and legal avenues available to them if Apple doesn't play nice from here on in.

I would love to be a fly-on-the wall at the Apple meeting where they are forced to discuss this.

It doesn't matter that Apple are a big company: they're still subject to the same rules as anyone else. This is by far the best way to have this issue resolved. Talking to people usually works a lot better than spamming them with legal documents.

> Do you really think they did it, to support OSM. Or should I ask myself: "Where is the money?"

To this very particular point I want to say, I think that large companies switching over to open technologies (edit: because of a profit motive) is a good thing. There needs to be a critical mass of people who value the openness per se in order for the sea change to happen, but ultimately it has to be because we make it more profitable to do so. I have zero expectations that a bunch of CEOs are going to start caring about any cause. If they switch over, it means we're succeeding in making it profitable, and I take that as a good sign.

Well I was just wondering, how many voices are raised in defending a coop, that is known for its love of details, but forgets to mention these tiny little humans, that gathered the data in the first place. </sarcasm>

It seems to me, that the Apple-Folks in Cupertino knew exactly, what they were doing. Who would sue Apple in a case like this anyway?

Being from Germany, I have no idea, what the US-System would look like, but I believe, that suing Apple would mean, that every one of the contributors to OSM would have to sue on his/her own.

And who would do that?

Apple would calculate this. And even, if some people would walk this way, it might still be cheaper, than paying Google.

Just my two cents.

It seems to be driven by the sort of cost benefit analysis that one uses in logistics and elsewhere in business.

With an army of IP lawyers at their disposal, a multi-billion dollar war chest, and an opponent running on a shoe-string, they can probably force OSM to go all-in if it comes to a lawsuit.

The cynical part of me sees this as great publicity for iPhoto using the P.T. Barnum principle:

"I don't care what they say about me, just make sure they spell my name right! "


Better to approach these things positively, than assume the worst case and risk creating resentment.

It is also unrealistic to assume the worst. It is more likely that attribution slipped though the cracks then it is that the Apple executives made a conscious decision to not include attribution in violation of the license.

It's idealistic naivete to assume the best of everyone. But you're right, pretending to does make it more comfortable to operate in the world.

It can also make it expedient and more effective to operate in the real world. You can always say "we tried to approach them and work with them nicely" when you start making noise and going nuclear after they don't respond.

Exactly, it's a very pragmatic move. After all, who has more lawyers? I think that people need to ask the question, "What do I hope to get out of this particular thing I'm about to do or say?" more often, as opposed to, "What am I justified in doing or saying?"

> Why is that, that if Apple ignores credit/copyright (on a massive scale), that everybody loves their move.

It actually sounds very passive-aggressive to me.

It is a mix of sarcasm and being feed up with big cooperations, screwing people who dedicate their own time, contributing to projects like OSM.

So it might sound passive/aggressive.

But wouldn't Apple be active/aggressive, if I would use their IP? Wouldn't they srew me for all I#m worth in court?

I really don't know, but I wouldn't want to find out...

What is your point? All I'm getting here is "Apple has an inhouse legal team."

Could the credits be embedded in the copyright for the software/eula/about in the App?

The GIStiquette, seems to imply that there is almost always some copyright in the footer of the map.

Could this copyright be embedded in the documentation (à la MIT) and still comply?

Well, the license (CC-By-SA) requires that "The credit required by this Section 4(c) may be implemented in any reasonable manner;". So it doesn't need to be in the footer of the map, when there is no footer at all ("at least as prominent as the credits for the other contributing authors"), but I think the EULA/about not reasonable.

But other people might disagree. There are even people that think the whole license is invalid and that it can be used as Public Domain, because the license is for creative work and not meant to be used for databases. This is the major reason OSM is changing to a different license right now (ODbL).

Edit: See here http://www.osmfoundation.org/wiki/License/Why_CC_BY-SA_is_Un...

I wondered that too. I don't have the app, but I would bet that Settings > General > About > Legal Notices would be the place to look?

I didn’t find anything. There is just the license agreement in that place which doesn’t seem to make any reference to OSM.

Did you look where (s)he indicated or at the right place? Settings-General-About lists (zillions) of licenses for projects used in iOS itself. If I understand this correctly, this is about the new iPhoto app. The Numbers and Pages apps have an 'Acknowledgements' page in the Settings app. Is that where you looked?

Yep, that’s where I looked.

Does Apple legally have to give credit? I thought facts couldn't be copyrighted (from the MLB vs fantasy baseball case - http://www.patentarcade.com/2007/11/case-cbc-v-major-league-...) and wouldn't map data qualify as facts?

IANAL but from what I understand "facts" can't be copyrighted, but a collection of facts can be.

eg. A business' address/phone number can't be copyrighted on its own, but a specific collection of them into a Yellow Pages can be.

This isn't true in Canada. http://www.lmlaw.ca/copyright_raw_data.pdf

"...the selection or arrangement of data only results in a protected compilation if the end result qualifies as an original intellectual creation."

(This actually saved me in university when the school wanted to charge me with copyright violation after I scraped their job database to make it easier to work with.)

storytime! I want to hear more

Well, the university uses a crappy PeopleSoft webapp thing for searching for co-op jobs. It's slow, ugly, and it goes offline every night at midnight. It's terrible.

I got fed up with trying to use it, so I looked at the HTML and decided that it was easy enough to parse. I made the deliberate decision to link to the original job descriptions so that you'd still have to log in to find any real information about the jobs. However, a listing of {employer,job title,location} seemed harmless enough.

I wrote it such that it ran once and spat out a static HTML file so that it wouldn't be constantly accessing the original server. Then I hosted it on my university account and told people about it via Twitter. I had no intention of hiding it; I wanted it to help people! Also, I posted the scraping script (which required a university account to login before it could run) on GitHub for others to use or improve. Y'know.

A few days later, my account had been disabled! When I went to see the people in charge, they told me that I was violating their copyright and since I has posted my code to scrape, they considered me to be a malicious hacker. They also said that I could have single-handedly taken down the co-op program at the university.

For my formal response, I learned some obscure details about Canadian copyright law (like what I posted in the grandparent), and took the opportunity to educate the administrators on hacker culture (with the help of Eric Raymond). I also made sure to explain the implications of my script (runs only once, requires a login, links to the actual copyrighted works). Oh, and I used some of my connections with IT security and professors as character reference.

In the end, they decided to punish me for reproducing their data (which the login screen technically prohibits, but it's unrealistic- having the page in memory is a reproduction!) by making me take a business ethics course, which was actually a fun and interesting course. No criminal charges, no expulsion/suspension. I figured it wasn't too bad, though I would have appreciated an apology for essentially calling me a terrorist. ;)

What would have happened if you declined to take the course? Do you think you "learned your lesson", or would you do something like this again if you had the chance?

They added the course as one of my graduation requirements, so I guess I wouldn't have graduated.

The lesson I learned is to not try to make others' lives easier. :P I definitely won't shy away from scraping whatever data sources I can get my hands on, but I probably won't share the results with large groups of people.

I wonder if that means Apple could take the individual facts from OSM, add a few in from their other sources, reorder the facts (or just build their own tiles from them since that's all they're presenting) and be okay legally?

Don't overthink it, they just forgot the attribution line. It doesn't cost them anything to add it, they just didn't put it in.

It's not a big deal despite the 500 articles that have been written about it.

Map qualifies as "set of facts" just as much as a photograph of something is representation of a fact. So no, maps are not facts. It is quite subjective model of the world. I would say that OSM is huge collaborative piece of art, and I'm proud to be one of the artists there.

Then congratulations Apple, for making a not so great map even worse. I can't really judge map quality in the US, but in Germany it sucks. Cities show up twice or are missing completely, labels are often small, unreadable and ugly. There is no consistency in the placement of lables.

OSM has its fair share of inconsistencies but it's not that bad.

The map is ok for what it is: Just for presentation inside of iPhoto, not for browsing or finding your way. I really hope that Apple doesn't plan to use this anywhere else and hat they just didn't go with Google because they can't customize their maps any way they want.

(That missing credit is also shameful. I was looking everywhere inside of iPhoto but couldn't find it. Stuff like that sould at least be moderately easy to find.)

> but in Germany it sucks

That's funny. A German client of mine specifically asked me to put an OpenStreetMap map right next to the Google Map because the details of OpenStreetMap were more precise. The client creates POI geo coordinates and uses the maps to find the best position for a poi.

I don't know what's going on there. OSM does have lots of detail for Germany and the problems with OSM are more general ones with the consistency of label placement and such. No map breaking stuff.

Apple's tiles, however have more glaring mistakes (double labels, missing labels).

It sounds like you're complaining about the quality of the OSM renderer, not the underlying data. There are a bunch of different renderers out there that can use OSM data - maybe one of the others would help?

its missing detail? at least in my city its much more detailed than gmaps

OSM or Apple's maps? OSM has crazy amounts of accurate detail for all cities I know in Germany.

Apple's tiles have all the streets but not a lot of detail (probably by choice, nothing wrong with a sparser map, especially for the intended purpose) and the labels suck.

i meant osm. sorry for the misunderstanding.

It would be very helpful in this situation to actually mention your city? Promise we will not come after you.

With tigers.

Out of curiosity, I made a comparison between the two towns where most of my photos are taken as seen in GMaps vs. OSM.

http://cl.ly/133M1H3W2W362S2F0l13 http://cl.ly/2P2d3y042N1T0o2p390H

600k and 60k inhabitants respectively.

As others have noted, Apple seem to be generating their own tiles from OSM data. ArsTechnica has a good screenshot here:


Dang... that makes GMaps look like Bing ;)

In my town (Santa Barbara, CA) OSM looks decent - not as many details as GMaps, but more than some others...

Interesting. From your screenshots, Apple's maps are so bad it's not even funny. It's just very, very bad. Steve would've never allowed such a thing to ship.

Is this a first sign that without an asshole with taste at the top, the erosion of Apple is inevitable?

You may be correct, but I'm not positive. These maps are used to give you an idea of where a photo was taken, not to provide navigation to it, so detail isn't quite as important. The other consideration is this is one data point. Perhaps Apple did a thousand of these and felt OSM was better.

Or, maybe Apple is going to quickly flame out.

The OSM images that tcard used are from openstreetmap.org, not from the iPhoto app.

My understanding is that Apple used the data from OSM to produce their own tiles, which, I believe, look much better than this.

In my city it is way more detailed than gmaps. Even the smallest trails in the local park are in there, also cross-country ski runs in the mountains. I trust OSM will pretty much all my hiking plans.

The only thing that was missing in my city were a few house-numbers in some streets close to my apartment. So I went out and fixed it.

Apple's labels are strange, they aren't from OSM, but some other source. There are numerous differences between OSM labels and Apple labels.

According to the post, Apple's using an old version of the OSM data set.

> Then congratulations Apple, for making a not so great map even worse. I can't really judge map quality in the US, but in Germany it sucks.

That's very disappointing to hear. I understood that it was ever better than Google Maps in some parts of Europe.

In my short time playing with openstreetmap I learned that openstreetmap is more of a spec/aggregate/foundation entity that seems to be grouping "open street mapping" efforts under their banner. It's more of a spec than a single data source. I learned this when I had to go elsewhere (government sites and colleges) to find "open" street mapping data. It's was a little confusing to say the least and I still may be misunderstanding their actual position, but that's what I've learned.

Really? Isn't there at least a "main" source of map data that comes from openstreetmap.org? Mapquest is also experimenting with them (gotta stay relevant somehow right?), it seems to contain contributions I've made. (open.mapquest.com)

There most certainly is a single OSM database, so I'm not sure what GP is referring to.

Here's the dump: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/Planet.osm

I didn't even think it was good enough for iPhoto. On one of my photos (in the US), it showed some random town label that I wouldn't consider correct, zooming out didn't add any new labels, and it took forever to download any new tiles.

Also Spain has errors, they call the Madrid area "Los Madriles" which is pretty funny.

I don't know much about OSM, but I saw a comparison of the new map tiles in iPhoto with the same place in Google, and Google's seemed much more detailed. I know Apple is doing this to remove dependencies on G but I fear it could be a bit of a regression. I hope I'm wrong. In iPhoto that's not such a big deal, but other apps rely on the map much more.

In addition to the attribution, I'd like to know how they are going to comply with the "share-alike" part of the license. Where can I download "Apple maps"? According to the OSM FAQ, it should contain not only the OSM data but all other data they have merged in.

It also seems like they should be required to release all the styling parameters and/or code needed to render the maps exactly as they appear in iPhoto - does anyone know how far CC-BY-SA reaches in a case like this?

EDIT: for that last part, I guess they probably would be fine just releasing the whole thing pre-rendered.

No-one really know how far CC goes, and that's one reason OSM is changing licence to a new Open Database Licence (ODbL)

Why wouldn't CC cover this?

Because they aren't distributing OSM data or a renderer, just images created from OSM data.

Here is an explaination from the OpenStreetMap Foundation on why CC isn't great for OSM: http://www.osmfoundation.org/wiki/License/Why_CC_BY-SA_is_Un...

OSM is a database of geographic facts ("There is a road here. It is called Main Street. It is a primary road." etc.) Copyright of databases is non-obvious, so they are switching to a click through database EULA thingie.

Copyright of databases has on several occasions been overturned

See Feist V. Rural

"The constitutional requirement necessitates independent creation plus a modicum of creativity. Since facts do not owe their origin to an act of authorship, they are not original, and thus are not copyrightable. Although a compilation of facts may possess the requisite originality because the author typically chooses which facts to include, in what order to place them, and how to arrange the data so that readers may use them effectively, copyright protection extends only to those components of the work that are original to the author, not to the facts themselves. This fact/expression dichotomy severely limits the scope of protection in fact-based works."

Whether or not the street data is copyrightable in light of this decision is definitely sketchy; the tiles etc. clearly are since they have some modicum of creativity.

And remember that OSM is a global project, that works in many countries, with different interpretations of copyright law. You don't want it to be open in some countries, public domain in others etc etc

There are two things that Apple should do in order to avoid being viewed as a jerk once again. Put in the credit to OpenStreetMap and make a sizable donation to the OpenStreetMaps Foundation.

Apple must give attribution, not to be nice, but to avoid being guilty of copyright infringment.

Not only credit to OSM. They would have to credit every single contributor (whos data is used).

Not really. Yes the Licence is CC-BY-SA, but "OpenStreetMap Contributors" is accepted form. (cf. http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright )

Thanks for clarification.

I wonder if this is a temporary quick and dirty solution from Apple, pending a full-scale switch to their own maps in iOS 6.0.

"Their own maps"? These are their maps. They are rendering them, they are hosting them. If you mean "their own map data", then that would be silly (& expensive) for Apple to either (a) drive a car around everywhere like Google Street View or (b) licence some third party mapping company. OSM is a good solution for Apple here.

They did buy c3 technologies so they are probably up to something map related.

I'm pretty sure they can afford to buy their own map data. What would be nice, though, is if they put the cash into fixing up OSM. Somewhat like what they did with KHTML.

Right. Because they don't have the cash to do these things. Expensive is relative.

This is (for me) a very timely validation of OSMs efforts, congrats to them!

Has it been confirmed that they're using OSM data or could the data be a product of their acquisition of Placebase (back in 2009)?

Apple have actually been using this tile set for a while (it's used in the slide show mode of the current version of iPhoto for OS X).

Yes, it looks like OSM. There are small roads that I've mapped that are only on OSM, and are present on these maps. The data from OSM is from april 2010 (based on "The road added to OSM on $DATE1 is on these appple tiles, but the the road added on $DATE2 isn't")

And yes, it looks like they've been using it for a while, no-one noticed till now.

> And yes, it looks like they've been using it for a while, no-one noticed till now.

What do you mean by that? This is all from software released today, right?

No, the same tile sets are used in iPhoto for OS X (part of the iLife suite) and some people claim they're used in Aperture (another photo editor but I've not used it).

Where they have used it, they used it as hint as to where a photo was taken. The more detailed info panes still use google's maps.

It has come to prominence due to software released in the last few days, yes. But it was also used in other software.

I can see a big migration away from Google Maps with Google's new pricing. Google's pricing can potentially get prohibitively expensive quickly. 25000 map views per day and $4/1000 map views that exceed the free 25000 map views. I am starting a new project that is focused around mapping. There is no way Google Maps will work for me with their pricing model. Open Street Maps is great.

What is the word I'm looking for, "disappointed"?

The lack of given credit to OSM doesn't seems like an accident, and I was looking forward to see what Apple was doing with that amazing mapping technology from SAAB.

This is underwhelming to say the least, I was expecting much more from Apple.

I presume the missing attribution was an accident. They cannot avoid it for much longer. It's legally required under the OSM copyright licence (CC-BY-SA)

Yeah. Apple isn't known for sweating the small stuff.

Accident my ass! Incompetence, at best. If this was Microsoft or Oracle, not Apple, HN would be grabbing their pitchforks in three seconds.

If this was any other company not a single article would have been written about it in the first place.

Microsoft has been a huge friend to OSM. They have allowed the OSM community to trace stuff from their aerial (but not 'maps'). This is a great way to "armchair map", especially for lots of little roads in the country,.

Expected an article about Microsoft not providing attribution to OSM but you didn't deliver.

An exaggeration on my part perhaps but when you compare the number of articles written about this compared to the Google contractors that intentionally sabotaged OSM data the difference is staggering.

I took the broader class to be articles about <company> using/working with OSM, not <company> misusing OSM data. However, I'd also say that if people are going to write about that sort of low-profile collaboration between Microsoft and OSM, I think plenty more people would have written about it if Microsoft had done anything inappropriate with OSM or OSM data.

As for the Google contractors, I remember that being a big story (especially coming on the heels of the Kenya incident) until Google fired them and apologized.

Similarly, I'd expect interest in Apple's failure to credit OSM to go away once they fix it and apologize. Apple's use of OSM is interesting on its own terms, of course, so I doubt interest in that will die down anytime soon.

Off the top of Google: Company that isn't Apple uses open-licensed content without proper attribution, gets written up in an article: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1619205

I see this as a favorable move to OSM. Hopefully the OSM's data would be enriched further considering the huge volume of people who would come in contact with OSM. OSM still lacks in a few places like middle east (Kuwait). But what was surprising was, wikimapia has several orders of magnitude better data for the same region compared to OpenStreetMap or other commercial map providers ( That includes google maps, yahoo maps etc )

The map for my hometown shows a train station that hasn't existed since the early 1900's.

If it's in the current OSM db, you should fix it. That's the great thing about OSM.

I thought someone compared the terrain with OSM and in certain locations it differs?

Edit: They're apparently combining map data in some places.

OSM doesn't have "terrain" (as in hill shading and mountain slopes), but it does have streets and roads. Apple and OSM match up in lots of places.

Apple are not using OSM in USA (maybe canada, i dunno), but are definitly using it outside there.

OSM does have terrain, just not in the default map render (which includes most hand-editible data to aid contributers but is often assumed to be the single intended end product). For elevation they re-use SRTM data (and other sources) to create maps with shaded slopes or contours:




Apple data is about one year old, this is the reason behind the spotted differences.

2 years old actually. Dated to about first week of April 2010 (based on "this road added on $DATE1 is there and the road added on $DATE2 isn't"). They are also using non-OSM data for the USA

There are some licence and copyright matters to be dealt with, but it's good to see another company switch to OpenStreetMap

We know that Apple is working on using their own map technology based on some of their acquisitions. Is it possible that OSM is just a stop-gap until their own maps are ready to go? Perhaps they didn't want to enter into another licensing agreement with Google if they're going to be ready to switch to their own solution later this year with iOS 6?

Well these are already their maps. They have styled them, hosting them etc. They are just using the raw underlying OSM data. You have to get data from somewhere, and OSM is probably one of the best sources of data.

Interesting. Does that mean that the companies like Placebase (which Apple acquired) weren't generating their own map data? I guess I just assumed that they were, but the small amount of info I can find on them now makes it seem unclear.

I don't know anything about Placebase (or the other map company Apple acquired at the same time).

But from a practical standpoint, the world is really really bog. "Generating map data" isn't exactly easy, you don't "generate it", you have to "collect it". This isn't like generating a spell checking dictionary, or a a user generated world for a video game. You have to use reality.

The half a million OSM users has been collecting this data for about 8 years now. Either with lots of GPSs or buy tracing satilite/aerial imagery from Yahoo and now Bing (not Google ☹).

To generate it yourself, you need to reproduce all of that above. Google's Street View is a way to reproduce it, since you'll have GPS traces of all the roads, and photos of what the road is like (for street names). OSM covers twice or more times what Google Street View does, so that won't even get you there.

The other option is to pay companies that have already done this, this is what Google Maps (et al.) mostly is, and is also what GPS/SatNav companies do. They get their data from either governmental sources if possible, or from tracing aerial imagery.

All those options are expensive. Why not just use that free OSM data?

This is why OSM was created. To provide a free source of map data to improve humanity.

With many of these larger map-based apps switching to OpenStreetMap, does anyone know any apps that receive a large amount of traffic that are currently/going to stay with Google Maps? And if so, how are they dealing with the charges (is it doable with a large amount of traffic without a significant source of revenue)?

Could someone clarify using a service like OSM or Google Maps vs. using their data for map tiles?

After the announcement I read tweets that basically said Apple was still using the Google Maps service, but the tiles were rendered by Apple?

Based on what I'm reading it sounds like I misunderstood or am misremembering what I read.

Some of Apple's software is still using Google Maps. Some is use tiles that Apple render and host, but based on OpenStreetMap data. Basically 2 years ago someone download the OSM data base (you can get it here http://planet.openstreetmap.org/ ), and then they made up their own style.

Someone at Apple definitely deserves a good spanking..

Link is down. I'd ask for a google cache link, but the irony would make me implode.

I don't know if you posted this just for pointing out the irony, or if you really don't know: Retrieving the website from the Google Cache is as easy as searching for "cache:FULL_URL" with Google, there isn't even a results page or anything, you get directly to the cached page.

Great Apple, do no evil! How can we get better coverage for Asia?

With OSM, just start mapping! It's a wiki! http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Beginners%27_guide

That won't help Apple users though -- OP points out that the map data is stale (possibly two years old). It suggests there was a one-off dump at some point which was then used to build the service.

I doubt they would dump once and never update it... Eventually they'll need to update or the maps will be useless...

The Apple tiles are completely missing the street I live on ...

Well add it into OSM ;)

Just when I thought they couldn't get any more evil.

How can a project this cool have such an ugly website? It's shit like this OSM...

I don't get it. Where's the evidence that these maps are based on OSM data versus, say, Navteq or TeleAtlas data?

The tiles use terrain data that nobody thinks is from OSM, and when I look at North American cities, the street grids certainly don't seem to match any better than you'd expect.

This post sounds pretty confident but they don't explain why.

One of the pingbacks on that article[1] shows that Apple's tiles have features (like lanes in a parking lot) that is only in OSM data, and that Apple is mis-rendering it.

[1] http://alastaira.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/apple-maps-aka-app...

Don't read between the lines:

"The new iPhoto for iOS, however, uses Apple’s own map tiles – made from OpenStreetMap data (outside the US)."

Ah, thanks -- I missed the (outside the US) bit.

It feels a bit silly to fawn over map tiles... and I'll probably be accused of being an "Apple Fanboy"... But I'll be damned if those aren't some gorgeous tiles.

Hopefully, this signals apple will move away from google for the built in maps app and provide something superior themselves with something comparable to the kick ass turn by turn in the current Android devices.

One of these is far nicer and clearer than the other:



Apple's version comes up really lacking in comparison to the default OSM one, which I would call gorgeous, personally.

I find the OSM one to be way way to busy. I think the Google tiles provide better information clarity + attractiveness value. However, I still maintain those new apple tiles are gorgeous, the way an antique map is gorgeous. I never claimed it provided more information; It's clearly providing less information. But aesthetics and function are separate vectors.

Meh. I love what OSM is doing, but IMO their tile style doesn't hold a candle to Google's (but then I dislike Apple's style here, as well).

Anyone can make their own tiles with things like tilemill (http://mapbox.com/tilemill/)

OSM is trying to give you directions, Apple is trying to show you the general area of where a photo was taken. I like that Apple is throwing away some of the information to make it look a little nicer. In a map app though, this would be stupid.

I think your broad point is valid (brevity and concision are virtues). But in this specific situation your way off, sorry.

That photo was taken in a park. In one of those maps that fact is abundantly clear. In the other it's not. Hell, in the apple map the trails look like roads. How on earth could anyone call that "clear"?

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