OpenStreetMap (OSM) unveiled a new tool in hopes of making the map editing process more intuitive and increasing the number of contributions.
OSM is an open-source map that was created entirely by a horde of volunteers; recently, the organization announced that it has reached one million registered users, though not all of them contribute to the editing process. OSM is being used by companies like Foursquare and Craigslist, non-profits, and government agencies. The maps are open-sourced and free, which separates OSM from some of its corporate brethren (Google, for example, charges companies for heavy use of its Maps API).
OSM was created back in 2004 and hasn’t had amajor update to its editing tool until yesterday. The new editor is meant to entice casual cartographers to try their hand at mapping their neighborhoods.
“By lowering the barrier to contributions, we believe that more people can contribute their local knowledge to the map – the crucial factor that sets OSM apart from closed-source commercial maps,” the company announced in a blog post.
The new technology, codenamed ‘iD,’ was created by the company MapBox. Development began back in mid-2012, and moved forward with a $575,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. The map editor is open source, and was built with HTML5, using the D3 visualization library.
OSM also announced a donation drive to raise $40,000 for new server hardware to keep up with its fast growth.
Can a crowd-powered map make a dent in Google Maps’ popularity in this space? Let us know what you think in the comments.