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Open Source Programming

Great Open Source Map Tools For Web Developers 34

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Peter Wayner surveys the rich ecosystem of free maps, free data, and free libraries that give developers excellent alternatives to Google Maps. 'The options are expanding quickly as companies are building their own databases for holding geographical data, their own rendering tools for building maps, and their own software for embedding the maps in websites. ... Working with these tools can be a bit more complex than working with a big provider like Google. Some of these companies make JavaScript tools for displaying the maps, and others just deliver the raw tiles that the browsers use to assemble the maps. Working with the code means making decisions about how you want to assemble the pieces — now within your control. You can stick with one simple library or combine someone else's library with tiles you produce yourself.'"
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Great Open Source Map Tools For Web Developers

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  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by azalin ( 67640 ) on Friday July 20, 2012 @07:48AM (#40709689)
    While I do appreciate some competition and relying only on google to provide map service might backfire some day, there is no way you can get by simply not using it.
    You can use any map on your page, you still have to go to google maps and set up/edit a profile (for brick and mortar business). So I either use google or have to set up 2 different systems. There may be other uses of course, but for simple "How to find us" pages, google is hard to beat.
    On the other hand I try to keep an open mind for new ideas.
  • by microbread ( 2651139 ) on Friday July 20, 2012 @08:48AM (#40710327)

    The problem (is it a problem?) currently is that the different providers have different strengths. Microsoft has very good non-satellite maps, I think they're prettier than Google and they have the massive bonus of being partners with Ordnance Survey in the UK. Anyone who lives in Britain will know that OS is the mapping service for outdoor people. Bing has also had aerial (45deg) view for a long time, way before Google woke up.

    Open Street Map is highly variable, but the best maps (for instance, Berlin) offer a level of detail that is frankly astounding - down to benches and lamp posts. Crowd sourcing has both advantages and disadvantages, though I haven't seen any vandalism yet. The ability to export maps is also great for developers/data miners. Simply being able to download reasonable maps of the entire planet for free (minus 20GB) is fantastic.

    And of course Google Maps is venerable, has a uniformly good interface, decent satellite imagery and great navigation. And the killer feature - integration with search results and directory enquiry information.

    Horses for courses really. I wish that we could have Google's search capacity with Bing's graphics and OSM's level of detail, but that'll take time.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian