Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Future of personal navigation data & software is free & open

A while ago, a cool freebie Android navigation app called AndNav2 became available in alpha. Two things that caught the eye immediately, are first that it supports turn-by-turn directions (not available on the iPhone yet), and second that it now uses the Open Street Map database. AndNav and the app store revolution can't be too pleasing to GPS vendors such as Garmin. But what's also interesting is that OSM "aims to do for maps what Wikipedia has done for encyclopaedias". This is crowd-sourcing brought to mapping!

Until recently, this was the commercial province of companies like NAVTEQ and TeleAtlas. If you look on Google Maps or MapQuest, for example, you'll see copyrights from those two companies on the bottom of the map. What really struck me as an endorsement and signal of the future of OSM, was that recently the French granted OSM access to land registry data! This helps set a precedent, that such data such be shared with the World community, and I would think will nudge other governments to follow.

I can think of so many new kinds of data which can become available in a crowd-sourced database, that a whole realm of startups and opportunities await...

Disclosure: no positions

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