Taking on Google by offering third parties cheaper access to data for their projects
Google Maps is pretty much the mapping service to use if you want mostly reliable navigation and location data anywhere in the world, and the same is true for developers who need to integrate maps into their apps. Google is the only viable commercial option for many, and it’s become prohibitively expensive to license the data. That’s where the Linux Foundation-backed Overture Maps comes in, which wants to present itself as a viable alternative to Google Maps for developers.
Overture Maps was originally announced in late 2022, with Google’s biggest competitors on board. Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, TomTom and more mapping specialists have teamed up to create the project. The foundation announced this week that its initial open map dataset is going live, giving developers access to places of interest (POIs), buildings, transport, and administrative boundaries (via TechCrunch). There are over 59 million places worldwide in the dataset, with the foundation working on adding a lot more.
The group wants to maintain and expand on this initial data set, promising that it will have a reliable library of even more places, navigation data, and 3D buildings available for others to use in their projects. Overture Maps is not meant as a consumer-facing product at all, though — instead, it’s supposed to be the foundation for others to build their own mapping services on or to provide simple maps in their projects, like for car sharing or ride-hailing apps as just one example.
Overture operates with an open standard, so developers will have to pay significantly less for data than they would on Google Maps. Developers can join the Overture Maps Foundation to further advance the project itself and have features added that they need.