MapQuest Embracing Open Source Mapping

Posted by at 11:33 am on July 12, 2010

MapQuest has announced plans to be the first large mapping company to embrace open-source mapping at scale.   The AOL firm has launched a beta of http://open.mapquest.co.uk/ built on OpenStreetMap data for the UK. The beta platform will be a stand-alone offering and will live alongside MapQuest’s existing UK platform, which is based on commercially available map data.

“We launched a version of the newly redesigned MapQuest, but on open data provided by the OpenStreetMap community,” said Randy Meech, Head of Engineering for AOL Local and Mapping. “Not only is the map data open, but also this beta map stack uses popular open-source mapping software, including Mapnik for tile rendering, TileCache for caching, and Nominatim for geo-coding and search. We are now employing developers to contribute back to these projects for the benefit of the community.”

Meech continued, “We believe that open source is ultimately the future for AOL’s local and mapping applications. And we’re very excited about supporting OpenStreetMap, which powers the maps behind Patch, our local news and information platform. We believe community generated maps that are of high quality and accuracy will end up ultimately being the better mapping product for users. Allowing users to improve the areas they know and care about like streets in their neighborhood, in addition to hiking trails, parks and bike paths, we believe will lead to the best mapping experience for all users.”

Additionally, AOL announced a $1 million fund to support the growth of open-source mapping in the United States.

The new fund will support projects in specific communities over the next year to help expand and enhance the geographic data available to developers, designers and other users as part of AOL’s commitment to open-source technology.

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