Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, TomTom and the Linux Foundation want to develop open map products

The Linux Foundation, which specializes in open source projects aimed at fostering innovation, announced on December 15 the creation of a new organization, Overture Maps, with prestigious partners: Meta, Microsoft Amazon Web Services (AWS) and TomTom . Its objective is to develop cartographic tools based on an interoperable and open database.

Cartography for everyone

TomTom knows it better than anyone, after having once dominated the world of GPS navigation thanks to its devices, the Dutch company has been largely overtaken by smartphones and above all by a hegemonic player, Google. Overture Maps could challenge this dominance, if Mountain View does not end up joining the project. Mike Harrell, Vice President of Engineering at TomTom, clearly states the ambition of the foundation, ” create the smartest map on the planet “.

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Getting there is not easy. Jim Zemlin, director of the Linux Foundation, points out, Mapping the physical environment and every community in the world […] is an extremely complex challenge that no organization can manage alone “.

By joining forces in Overture Maps, participants can retrieve data using pre-existing projects like OpenStreetMap or leverage open access information like that from municipal planning departments. They could make them chat between, combine them, check them, create common patterns.

This base will make it easier for participants to develop mapping tools within their own departments. Mapping data powers a large number of applications, including those of devices falling into the category of Internet of Things (IoT), fitness watch, autonomous car, logistics.

Overture wants to deliver its first works as early as 2023

Meta even wants to use it for his metaverse. Erik Solem, the company’s Cards Engineering Manager believes that ” By providing interoperable open map data, Overture lays the foundation for an open metaverse integrated by creators, developers, and businesses “.

Overture, as its name also suggests, wants to be open beyond the four initial companies and the Linux Foundation. Other structures, companies or foundations will be invited to take part. A timetable has already been revealed on the concrete objectives of the organization. From the first half of 2023, a data set will be published with basic information on roads and buildings. It will then be gradually expanded with navigation, 3D representations, etc.

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