Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and Linux launch an open source “Google Maps”

It was by understanding a little earlier than the others that putting on online cartography was a major strategy that Google succeeded in imposing Google Maps everywhere, and its ecosystem of services. Without there really being alternatives that stand the comparison. Even the best retroceded projects, such as the Maps application maintained by Apple, are at a less precise (and therefore useful) date than the application developed by Google.

However, the success of the Google Maps application is not surprising. the first representations published since the 6th ret 5th century before our era, the maps always had a deep impact on the territories of the world, the place of the territories and their interactions. Maps today are not limited to depicting cities, mountainous topographies or dangerous sandbanks in straits and near shores.

Big tech is getting organized to launch a completely free alternative to Google Maps

Maps can describe virtual worlds, and many wonder what ways of interacting with cartography can still be developed. While Google’s control over its application implies, by definition, arbitrary choices and the impossibility of developing improved variants yourself. There is also the essential question of the development of specialized cards for self-driving cars.

So many elements that are essential for certain players, the advent of an open alternative, which could innovate for as many people as possible, and thus open the next chapter of online mapping. A base that implies simplified access to data, and better interoperability. That’s why Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, Microsoft and TomTom are announcing with the Linux Foundation the launch of Overture Maps Foundation.

To conclude for their purposes, the actors of the project will pool existing data and aggregate them with data from other open source mapping projects such as OpenStreetMap and free access cadastral data. The set will be fed with data from AI analysis. The actors of the project pursued in fact four objectives:

  • Collaborator to build the next generation of mapping platforms
  • Develop a unified reference system – i.e. a system that simplifies interoperability between various services
  • Ensure data quality through a validation process, error detection and vandalism
  • Develop an open issued data format and drive its widest adoption

A project manager points out that Overture is more of a platform, an infrastructure, than a single mapping service: “you will not be able to log in and request a comment from point A to point B”. But multiple third-party services could, instead, use this infrastructure to offer various mapping applications, whether classic (competitors of Google Maps) or more innovative (for example by taking advantage of mixed reality).

For now, however, the project will have to be given some time to learn more about the technical details behind it.

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