[OSM-talk] will we be nuked from orbit?

tim chippy2005 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 26 23:10:33 BST 2007

Getting back on topic, I have also been mulling this situation. Here
are some inconclusive thoughts:

We saw at State of the Map conference, indeed during Ed Parson's of
Google's talk, about "Tom Tom Share" of an easy interface for the 10
Million tom tom users to edit annotate and correct Tom Tom's data. The
users get something out of it, as their map gets updated. They get
correct information. The users have an incentive to contribute. They
will even pay for the privilege.

I am sure you have all come across this question when explaining what
you do with openstreetmap...  the "Well, why cant you do it on google
maps?" question - Most people are not that bothered about getting
access to the underlying data(at this time). Its like wikipedia, but
each entry is a static jpg of text, folks can read the data, and even
put possibly put virtual post-its on top, but people cant copy and
paste the words of the article.

I am sure if google buy navtech and release a surveying kit, thousands
more people will use it, simply because they will be able to see their
contributions to their map...

another thought, tom tom's competitors had better be looking to switch
from teleatlas.

where's this leave OSM was the question. I think it can be argued that
by being free, it would be seen as the cheaper alternative for in car
navigation, map providers (Multimap for example), businesses, and

An alternate would be if these big players release the data, say "here
you are, here's the data for the world"... I think openstreetmap could
call that a win.

The other question was what would I do differently, based on what I
have scribbled above, I would make the data model more route
navigation friendly, create easy to use mobile editing tools, and even
make it easy for people to add in bay windows if they want.


On 7/24/07, Steve Coast <steve at asklater.com> wrote:
> Two things have happened over the past few days in the community
> mapping world, of which we /were/ the only participant.
> First, TeleAtlas is getting bought by TomTom. You can easily see the
> match up between TT owners becoming surveyors, perhaps in a
> simplified way, and owning that data. TT can't do a whole lot with
> 10e6 people uploading turn restriction data if they don't own the
> underlaying map. They've fixed that problem, and they're going to
> have an awsome product.
> Second, the way Google has been collecting data in India. From the
> sound of it, it's very close to OSM but with a brilliant twist.
> Rather than having thousands of people contribute to a central map,
> they have thousands make their own maps and then use some magical
> software to aggregate over all those individual maps. It's a very
> google black box way of doing it.
> My point is that in 12-24 months we will be only one of three or more
> active community-contributed base maps, beyond sticking pins in
> copyrighted data. Real, owned, active base maps.
> As you know, we have two differences. The first is that we're openly
> licensed (or that was the idea). The second is we have a community.
> Google don't get community (it's just the way they operate as a black
> hole, witness picassa, blogger &c.) and unless TT do some very clever
> things you won't get TT mapping parties any time soon. And to come
> back to the first point, it's unclear (and perhaps unlikely) that the
> data will be licensed in any useful way.
> Wikipedia didn't have two commercial competitors, but we now do.
> We're simply outclassed in budget and the number of surveyors from
> both efforts. That's just a fact. What we rely on to be the 'better'
> map are our community and the license. This could change any time
> from within or without. On the one hand, our flamewars could get a
> bit too hot and the community fragments or the license problem blows
> up. On the other, if Google or TT change course a bit they could
> license CC or start to think about communities. I don't think either
> company will really care about killing OSM. And why should they? If
> they release data in a useful way like we try to, then they have
> completed our aims for us.
> And of course, in theory, we could pull in their data to OSM.
> I don't know what any of this means yet, but I do think it's worth
> thinking about. Perhaps worrying about. What do you think?
> 18 or 24 months ago Tom Carden said to me that OSM could be shut down
> and we could start all over again with relative, /relative/, ease. I
> still think he's right. If we started again today, it would not take
> 3 years to get 9,000 people, or design JOSM, or the code, and so on.
> All of the tools are there, we would just have to restart with a
> better idea about the license. Or perhaps restart with two separate
> licensed projects. If OSM restarted today, how would you run it?
> have fun,
> SteveC | steve at asklater.com | http://www.asklater.com/steve/
> _______________________________________________
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