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The Linux Foundation is collaborating with AWS, Meta, Microsoft and TomTom to make quality open map data available for free.

According to the organizations, the availability of map data is currently limited. “Sourcing and curating high-quality, current, and comprehensive data from disparate sources are difficult and expensive”, the Linux Foundation described. “Open map data can also lack the structure needed to easily build commercial map products and services on top.”

The partners want to address challenges with an open platform for map data. The goal is a central platform with reliable data in a uniform format. The data should be accessible to any developer who implements map data into applications such as navigation apps and logistics solutions.

Overture Maps Foundation

The so-called Overture Maps Foundation was founded by AWS, Meta, Microsoft and TomTom. The Linux Foundation is responsible for coordinating the project. The founders will contribute their map data to the platform. Any company is invited to submit as well.

The concept of open map data isn’t new. OpenStreetMap and planning departments in cities worldwide already provide free map data for developers to source from. The Overture Maps Foundation aims to integrate such data with the submissions of participants to “create a living digital record of the physical world”, the organization said.

The partners expect to publish the first datasets in the first half of 2023. The first batch is expected to be relatively simple. Think of building and road data. Eventually, the partners want to expand to ultra-high resolution data and 3D data for developers of modern applications such as virtual reality.

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