Amazon, Linux, Meta, and Microsoft seek to end the monopoly of Google Maps API. Their solution is the Linux Foundation's Overture Maps.
The Linux Foundation has announced Overture Maps as a “new collaborative effort to develop interoperable open map data as a shared asset that can strengthen mapping services worldwide.” The open-source project is an ambitious collaboration between industry leaders, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, Microsoft, and TomTom.
The Linux Foundation added that the project is “open to all communities with a common interest in building open map data” in a press release.
While there are already other open-source projects and map communities out there, they lack the cohesion (and the resources) that the latest collaboration will deliver.
“The project will seek to integrate with existing open map data from projects such as OpenStreetMap and city planning departments, along with new map data contributed by members and built using computer vision and AI/ML techniques to create a living digital record of the physical world," the Linux Foundation stated in the press release.
Unlike OpenStreetMap, Overture is a data-driven project rather than a collective effort of individual map editors.
“Overture is a data-centric map project, not a community of individual map editors. Therefore, Overture is intended to be complementary to OSM. We combine OSM with other sources to produce new open map data sets. Overture data will be available for use by the OpenStreetMap community under compatible open data licenses. Overture members are encouraged to contribute to OSM directly.”
In comparison to existing open-source solutions, the Overture Maps project seeks to improve big data structuring, documentation and processes, as well as create a well-oiled machine that combines the best of both worlds and challenges Google Maps API’s supremacy.
The first Overture Maps datasets are expected in the first half of 2023. The goal is to offer a competing service that isn’t as anti-competitive and expensive as Google Maps API.
Access to Overture Maps will come in several levels of varying prices. Still, no tier will likely even come close to what Google is charging, nor will they put developers in a situation where they have to choose between going bankrupt or missing out on a crucial business feature.
The foundation has stated that they will release more information as soon as possible, but for now, it seems like Google Maps API may finally find its match.