Overture's New Mapping Initiative

The war over the map: the tech giants threaten Google Maps

A new venture by the tech giants to create mapping data to be used by developers of navigation apps is a threat to Google and Apple's map services that charge a fee for the use of their data

(Photo: AngieYeoh/shutterstock)

Until now, we have relied on the services of Google, Waze (which is also owned by Google), and Apple Maps. However, now, the Overture Maps initiative has been launched as a joint project by tech giants Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, and Amazon, in collaboration with the mapping company Tomtom. This initiative aims to provide an alternative and high-quality option to the dominant mapping services in the world of technology.

The initiative, which aims to generate mapping data worldwide, was launched about a year ago and is now releasing the first set of data from the final product. It is an enormous and impressive data array that provides an accurate global map with four layers, including approximately 59 million different points around the world.

The new Overture map includes extensive information about roads, public transportation, and over 780 million buildings, including recreational places, restaurants, landmarks, streets, and national and regional borders in over 40 different languages.

The project's mapping data (Credit: OMF)

In Overture Maps, there is no intention to offer the map data as a standalone navigation application. Instead, it aims to serve as an "open-source" platform for developers of navigation applications to download the data and integrate it into their mapping and navigation apps, free of charge. This is in contrast to the use of maps from Google and Apple, which charge developers for using maps in their different applications.

Overture expects that in the coming months, app developers will be able to provide worthy navigation alternatives at very low costs, and they commit to continuing to update the maps as needed. They also believe that the use of open-source code will provide a two-way data feed that will enhance and improve the database.

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