New technologies: Google rivals unite around a free mapping tool


New technologiesGoogle rivals unite around a free mapping tool

Google competitors announced on Thursday the creation of the Overture Maps Foundation, which aims to make data available for free to design maps online.

A man looks at a Google Earth map on a screen as Google Earth unveils the revamped version of the app on April 18, 2017 during an event at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York.


Alphabet and its Google subsidiary dominate the online mapping market with Google Maps, sell its services to other companies or platforms, and use its location and navigation capabilities to power its other products, including online advertising.

Meta (Facebook, Instagram…), Microsoft, TomTom and Amazon Web Services are among the founding members of this alliance. The goal: to make map data more publicly available for use by anyone, the Linux Foundation said in a statement.

“Mapping the physical environment and any community around the world, even as they grow and change, is such a complex challenge that no single organization can tackle it alone,” said the foundation’s executive director. Linux, Jim Zemlin. The tech industry “needs to come together and achieve this for the benefit of all,” he added.

First dataset in mid-2023

Google was notably absent from the list of companies to ally with for Overture, which is looking to expand its membership to accelerate its progress. The coalition hopes to release its first map data sets in mid-2023.

“Immersive experiences that understand and blend into your physical surroundings are essential to the embodied internet of the future,” Meta Map engineering director Jan Erik Solem said in the statement, referring to the metaverse, a parallel universe considered by some to be the future of online . technology. “By providing open, interoperability-based map data, Overture provides the foundation for an open metaverse built by creators, developers and businesses,” he added.

Map data is already at work in tools for research, navigation, logistics, gaming, autonomous driving and more, the Linux Foundation says. Overture’s map data will be “open source,” meaning developers will be free not only to use it but also to build more on it, the Linux Foundation said.


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