Free maps after all?

Florent THIERY fthiery at
Fri Feb 9 15:42:57 CET 2007

> Just to mention, use of  Google maps is not free, it comes only with their software, or trough the browser interface

Of course. But, do you really think that the open source community
will be able to add every POIs (shops, cafes, etc...) ? The content to
generate (tagging streets etc..) is so huge...

Public Domain maps are great, but without metadata... OpenStreetmaps
sure is an really great project, but certainly not "ready" yet.

Why not using the browser interface then? There's an API open to
mashups. I personally don't care if the content is not free, as soon
as the browser is. Map24 products are great Wireless network mapping

An interesting approach: from :

"Mapstraction is a library which provides a common API for Google,
Yahoo! and Microsoft's javascript mapping APIs to enable switching
from one to another as smoothly as possible. The aim of Mapstraction
in mainly to protect companies building commercial products on top of
Google Maps from changes to terms and conditions, the introduction of
ads, or the emergence of a competing library with better maps,
different imagery or preferable licensing terms.

Mapstraction additionally fills some holes each provider's current
offerings (taking advantage of existing open source solutions where
possible) to normalise the feature set across platforms. In the
future, Mapstraction will also talk to OpenStreetMap for people who
want to build maps without restrictions on derived works."

So, IMHO the best way to go is to build a (possibly local) web interface that:
- uses open source / free content if available (locally stored)
- switches to online commercial but free to use ones (mashups)
- integrates GPS coordinates for auto starting point determination

What do you think?

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