the alliance of giants against google maps

Microsoft, Meta, Amazon, TomTom and the Linux Foundation join forces to form the Overture Maps Foundation. The goal ? Provide open source map data to compete with Google Maps dominance.

Google is a leader in the online mapping industry with its Google Maps platform with a 70% market share, especially since it acquired its main competitor, the Israeli app Waze – although both continue to develop in parallel. The strength of Google Maps lies in data collection. to Every time a user uses the service – surfing, walking, driving, taking a bus, etc. – the web giant relies on the data of their journey – the time they started their journey, their speed of movement, the time of day – to to enrich its algorithms and benefit the next user. . The more the user base grows, the more data is collected, the more relevant and therefore important it becomes. Also with the recent internal merger of the development team working on Waze, with that of its navigation services, will allow Google Maps to benefit from the active participation of the Waze community, which provides Google with valuable data every month, such as speed limits, accidents reported by motorists or danger zones and roadside checks . The problem is that this hegemony shuts out competition, limits innovation, and prevents users from resorting to other practices. Because of this, several tech giants have decided to join forces to compete with Google Maps.

Overture Maps Foundation: the alliance of Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and TomTom

Linux Foundation, a non-profit consortium that promotes innovation through open source – with 70 members including AMD, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, Intel, IBM, LG Group, NEC, Novell, Oracle, orange, Samsung, Twitter, Valve, Yahoo! and many others – wants to create an interoperable and open data alternative to the map data of Google Maps. As a result, most of Google’s competitors, viz Amazon Web Services, Meta (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp), Microsoft and GPS specialist TomTom will unite in the Overture Maps Foundation – which is open to anyone interested – the ‘announcement says their press release. Remember that each of these companies has its own mapping service or data on this sector. So Microsoft offers Bing Maps and Instagram launched an interactive map in July to find “interesting” places. However, we can note the absence of Apple, which nonetheless offers a fairly developed Apple Plan service.

With the Overture Maps Foundation, the various actors are building a kind of shared database in which everyone can contribute to create the most complete and accurate open source mapping system possible and thus stimulate innovation with new services. “Mapping the physical environment and every community in the world, even as it grows and changes, is an extremely complex challenge that no single organization can tackle alone. The industry must come together to do this on a global scale. “Everyone’s interest “explains Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “We’re excited to facilitate this open collaboration between leading technology companies to develop high-quality open map data that will enable countless innovations to benefit people, businesses and communities.”

Overture Maps Foundation: a high quality open source database

Map data powers thousands of applications for research, local discovery, navigation, autonomous driving, and even data visualization. So many actors, even minors, who can benefit from the Overture Maps Foundation. But presented this way, the project is very similar to OpenStreetMap – which it will rely on as well as the city planning services. to The difference is that it aims to integrate data from multiple sources while facilitating their interoperability. They are subjected to validation to detect errors – voluntary or not. Last but not least, Overture Maps Foundation Define and encourage adoption of a common, structured, and documented data schema to create an easy-to-use map data ecosystem.

The consortium initially wants to publish a first version of its data by mid-2023. It will include the base layers (buildings, streets and administrative information), the coverage, the resolution and the accuracy of the data will regularly improve existing data and introduce new layers such as locations, routes or 3D building data. Application developers can then leverage this data for their services, with the platform’s source code being free and distributed under an MIT license – for free and open source software – on GitHub.

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