US: The map created by Open Street Map, a project building a free, open-source, editable map of the world, is now available as a layer in Bing Maps.
Users who download the OpenStreetMap app (and Microsoft Silverlight) can switch between the traditional layers, which include bird’s eye, aerial and standard street map views, and Mapnik, a colourful map that includes businesses and landmarks labelled by users and devices through Open Street Map.
The announcement of the partnership with Bing comes less than a month after AOL announced a USD 1 million investment in Open Street Map to fund open source mapping in the US companies like AOL and Microsoft have an interest in supporting Open Street Map in order to combat Google’s dominance in mapping.
OpenStreetMap follows a similar concept as Wikipedia, but for maps and other geographic facts (despite its name, it’s by no means only limited to streets and roads). Map users gather location data across the globe from a variety of sources such as recordings from GPS devices, from free satellite imagery or simply from knowing an area very well, for example because they live there. This information then gets uploaded to OpenStreetMap’s central database from where it can be further modified, corrected and enriched by anyone who notices missing facts or errors about the area.
Open Street Map has been praised for being more detailed than maps compiled by big companies. It has more than 250,000 registered contributors and has been steadily growing.
Sources: Bing & ReadWriteWeb