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AOL’s MapQuest announced at the 4th annual international State of the Map 2010 conference, their plan to be the first major mapping site to embrace and encourage open source mapping at scale–Open MapQuest site. As part of this initiative, MapQuest just launched their first site that is completely powered by open source data from OSM (open street map). MapQuest is the first large mapping company to embrace open-source mapping at large scale. See press note here
“Today we launched a version of the newly redesigned MapQuest, but on open data provided by the OpenStreetMap community,” Randy Meech, Head of Engineering for AOL Local.
“Not only is the map data open, but also this beta map stack uses popular open-source mapping software, including Mapnik for tile rendering, TileCache for caching, and Nominatim for geo-coding and search. We are now employing developers to contribute back to these projects for the benefit of the community,” Randy explained here–why its only for UK in first round of beta project and not US/Canada?
Since OpenStreetMap releases the data under an open license, there is no cost for AOL to use the data. However, AOL has pledged $1 million to support open-source mapping in the US. For the company, the main advantage of using this data source is clear, it’s cheaper. As WSJ stated, AOL’s MapQuest Looks to Wikipedia Model for Mapping. User can modify data/address/POI directly on http://www.openstreetmap.org/ that will reflect in using MapQuest Open UK site. In fact, since its using OSM, in actually works for any country data/direction/search which OSM supported, including US and Canada.
Since its an experiment site, not all functionality is going to available on UK open source site, like one click search through business carousal, search on map, 360 views, drag-able route, satellite image —all are missed. However, the open maps may, in some cases, end up being more accurate thanks to the crowd-sourced data coming from local residents for core functionality, like LOCAL search and direction. Good luck and congratulations MapQuest!