Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, and Tom Tom have joined forces to develop a new maps service with what seems to be a motive to challenge Google's stranglehold in the mapping world. The new initiative is called Overture Maps Foundation and will be hosted by The Linux Foundation.
Data will be sourced from multiple sources
The new maps service will incorporate data from multiple sources, including that from the organization's founding members, city planning departments, and open data sources like OpenStreetMap.
The data interoperability will not only speed up the process of building the new map service but also reduce the development cost. The organization aims to make data interoperable by linking “entities from different data sets to the same real-world entities.“
Data checks will be in place to maintain quality
Since the data for Overture Maps will be sourced from multiple sources, there could be more errors and vulnerabilities compared to sourcing data from a single source, like Apple Maps or Google Maps. The organization aims to solve this problem by implementing data checks to detect maps error, breakage, and vandalism. This will help Overture Maps ensure that the map data is reliable and can be used in production systems.
It will be built on a solid foundation
The organization also seems to be focusing on building a solid foundation for the map service. According to the website of Overture Maps, “open map data can lack the structure needed to build map products easily. Overture will define and drive adoption of a common, well-structured, and documented data schema to create an easy-to-use ecosystem of map data.“
Currently, there's no information about the timeline for the launch of Overture Maps. However, since building a new map service requires a lot of work, the launch of Overture Maps could take years. That means Google will have its dominance in the mapping realm for at least a few years to come.
However, once launched, it could be available on all popular platforms, including Android, iOS, and the web. More options are always great for consumers at large.