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Michael Weisman

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About Data    |   September 29, 2010   |   By Michael Weisman

Full Speed Ahead with OpenStreetMap

Some more great news on the OpenStreetMap (OSM) front. Back in July, MapQuest announced that they were moving towards using OSM data to power their mapping service and they released a slick beta of the OSM-based service for the UK. Last week they expanded the OSM beta to include Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. You may notice that the United States, who is usually first to get cool betas, or smartphones, is absent from that list.

Unfortunately there is still quite a bit of work to be done in the United States (and even more here in Canada). There is data on the map in both countries if you go to the UK site and pan west across the Atlantic, but no search or routing. Mapquest has recognized the shortcomings and has donated money to OSM, as well as hired an organizer to oversee mapping efforts in the US.

What’s great about a company like AOL (the parent company of Mapquest) getting involved in OSM is that the project is now an easier sell to more traditional GIS types, who are often dismissive of it. I was pleasantly surprised to see a talk on using OSM data with Smallworld at the recent Smallworld Users Conference, and Alfred gave me a demo of an impressive Smallworld application he has developed that uses both OSM tiles and vector data alongside utility GIS data.

Now that the applications are here, why not get to mapping so that these applications get even better for all of us?

Do you have any plans to use OSM data in your work? Please share with us.