Meta, Microsoft, AWS and TomTom launch the Overture Maps Foundation to develop interoperable open map data • TechCrunch

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The Linux Foundation In a clear move to counter Google’s dominance in the mapping industry, it has partnered with the world’s biggest tech companies to create interoperable and open map data.

The Overture Maps FoundationCalled the New Initiative, it’s officially run by the Linux Foundation, but the project is run by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Facebook’s parent company Meta, Microsoft and Dutch mapping company TomTom.

The ultimate mission of the Overture Maps Foundation is to power new mapping products with openly available datasets that can be used and reused across applications and businesses, with each member throwing their own data and resources into the mix.

“Mapping the world’s physical environment and every community, even as they grow and change, is an enormously complex challenge that no single organization can manage,” noted Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. Press release. “The industry needs to come together to make this work for everyone’s benefit.”

Map and location data play a fundamental role across society today, powering everything from IoT (Internet of Things) devices and self-driving cars, to logistics and big data visualization tools. Keeping that data under the auspices of one or two mega-corporations can greatly restrict what those companies can do with the data and what features they have at their disposal, not to mention the costs involved in licensing.

Spatial mapping will also be important For the emerging technologies needed by the Metaverse Meta is heavily invested.

“Immersive experiences that understand and integrate with your physical environment are critical to the Internet of the future,” said John Eric Solem, director of engineering for Maps at Meta. “By providing actionable open graph data, Overture provides the foundation for an open metaverse built by creators, developers, and businesses.”

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Google is a notable omission from the founding members of the Overture Maps Foundation. In fact, it is probably proof that such big names and competitors from the tech sphere are coming together in partnership. Google dominates the world of mappingA position it has slowly gained since launching its Android mobile platform nearly fifteen years ago.

Also, with the arrival of the iPhone around the same time, a combination that brought maps and navigation into the pockets of millions of people worldwide, it had a big impact on incumbents like TomTom, which built a substantial business on the back end of physical navigation. Devices coated on car mirrors.

This graph shows how TomTom’s stock has fallen with the advent of the modern smartphone era.

TomTom’s stock since the launch of Android and iOS 15 years ago

In the intervening years, TomTom tried to develop map and data partnerships. People like Uber And MicrosoftAnd when it is Target developers with SDKs And Hit the acquisition trail To bolster its autonomous vehicle ambitions. But the reality is that Google and its mapping empire still rule the roost, and this new collaboration will drive conversation.

Collaborative mapmaking is central to TomTom’s strategy – the Overture Maps Foundation provides the framework to accelerate our goals,” TomTom CEO Harold Cadizin said in a statement. Press release. “TomTom’s Maps platform uses a combination of Overture basemap, a wide range of other data and TomTom’s proprietary data to create a unified and quality-controlled product for navigation, search and automated driving.”

Open Sesame

The look of this new foundation jibes with trends across the tech spectrum, too A growing push towards decentralized and interoperable social networks Driven by regulatory and social pressures. Elsewhere, the Linux Foundation Also announced recently The OpenWallet Foundation is building digital wallets that work against the closed payment ecosystem fostered by tech juggernauts including Google and Apple.

Today’s announcement fits well with that broader trend.

Founding companies engage in collaborative mapping projects, combining data from myriad open data sources and tapping into a design that is flexible, consistent, and standardized for use in production systems and applications. This includes channeling data from Long-established projects like OpenStreetMapIn addition to open data provided by municipalities.

Initially only four member companies, there are plans to expand things in the future to include any company with a direct interest in open graph data.

For now, the Overture Maps Foundation It said it aims to release its first datasets in the first half of 2023, which will include “basic” layers such as roads, buildings and administrative information. Over time, it will expand to include more locations, navigation and navigation, and 3D building data.


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