[Osmf-talk] a receding opportunity

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 1 07:35:43 UTC 2012


Apple Maps fiasco has been the biggest story in the space these past weeks. Mostly this has looked bad for Apple, and good for Google. OpenStreetMap has been for the most part outside the narrative, even though OSM on iPhoto was a big story and big issue for the OSMF before. In the few cases a connection between iMaps and OSM has been, the misunderstanding that OSM has any responsibility for bad data has been quickly cleaned up. So on the whole, neutral coverage broadly.

On the other hand, we still have zero real understanding of how and where OSM might be used in iMaps. We have some strong suspicions of where it might be used. We don't understand exactly how the data is being combined or not-combined with other sources. We don't have an effective, confidential communication channel inside Apple. Apple is famously quiet with outsiders, of course. No one from Apple is speaking at SOTM-US.

Meanwhile, more people than ever before are getting obsessed with how their home is mapped. And they don't have any productive outlet. http://theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com/

OSM has had a real opportunity in this whole thing, to add a new voice to this conversation. Explain how we do things, and how powerful it is. Open channels to Apple to show what OSM could really do here. Win over new mappers. Make the map better, and more used.

But we haven't been able to do anything. OSMF does not move pro-actively, in the media, with data users. We're essentially a reactive organization, and that is costing us a substantial opportunity right now.

It's not too late. A strong public statement, explaining how OSM works, how we perceive iMaps, and a real open invitation to Apple is what I'd suggest. Start talking to journalists and prominent bloggers. Pushing the back channels into Apple again.

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