OpenStreetMap: Possible Threat to Google Maps



by | June 1, 2012       << Back to Blog    

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Online mapping has been dominated by Google Maps for some time. Nevertheless, OpenStreetMap is gaining fast. Though it is only 8 years old, it is clear that the people at OpenStreetMap are competing for the title of most-used web map service.

OpenStreetMap is a digital world map, which allows users to map out directions or get a clear picture of a city they’re touring. Just like Google Maps, OpenStreetMap is free and it is rapidly growing in popularity. It may turn out to be a threat to Google Maps. In March it boasted nearly 560,000 individual registered users.

OpenStreetMap’s Growing Popularity

At the begging of March, Apple switched from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap for its mobile software for locations outside of the United States. And more recently Apple left Google Maps behind and switched to OpenStreetMap for the creation of the photos on a new photo management app for iOS. This was possibly the clearest indication that OpenStreetMap could be a true challenger for Google Maps.

Also, a well known social media service, Foursquare, moved to OpenStreetMap earlier this year. You may ask yourself why OpenStreetMap is growing in popularity. One reason is that its members can update maps based on their knowledge. The reader’s capability to edit and alter articles is what made Wikipedia so popular. Do you think Wikipedia would have become as popular if not for this feature?

Google No Longer Invulnerable?

It used to be that challenging Google was an unwise decision, but things have changed recently. Google has had a few shots that it has missed lately. For example, while Google+ exists, it is not real competition for Facebook, Twitter, or even Pinterest. Do you think OpenStreetMap is going to exceed Google Maps in popularity? Only time will tell.





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