Democratizing the Modern Day Map

Human beings tend to excel in many different areas, and yet their greatest ability is the one that pushes them to get better on a consistent basis. This is because the stated tendency has already fetched us some huge milestones, with technology appearing as a rather unique member of the group. The main reason why technology’s credentials are so anomalous is based on its skill-set, which was unprecedented to realize all the possibilities for us that we couldn’t have imagined otherwise. Nevertheless, if we take up a closer look, it should become clear how the whole runner was also very much inspired by the way we applied those skills across a real-world environment. The latter component was, in fact, what gave the creation a spectrum-wide presence and made it the ultimate centerpiece of every horizon. Having such an ingenious piece run the show expectantly scaled up the human experience beyond every conceivable limit, but even after going so far, this prodigious tech concept will somehow keep on delivering all the right goods. The same has turned more and more evident in recent times, and truth be told, a newly-formed collaboration should do a lot to make that trend bigger and better moving forward.

Meta, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and TomTom have all teamed with the Linux Foundation to launch a new mapping initiative, which will basically focus on developing interoperable and open map data. Named as Overture Maps Foundation, the new initiative will conceive products with openly available databases that members can contribute to and reuse across companies and apps. This could be a massive development for the wider technological space, considering how the need for mapping and location data has been growing at a breakneck pace. You see, at the moment, the stated data is used to power a wide range of apps, IoT devices, fitness trackers, autonomous vehicles, logistics portals, and more. However, despite its expansive application, the availability of such information has been largely controlled by one or two organizations, with Google looking like an obvious answer here.

“Mapping the physical environment and every community in the world, even as they grow and change, is a massively complex challenge that no one organization can manage,” said The Linux Foundation’s executive director, Jim Zemlin. “Industry needs to come together to do this for the benefit of all.”

Apart from democratizing the access to mapping information, the partners will also build a specialized technology to accelerate the development of various mapping products. But how it will do so? Well, developers who are working on such products, at the moment, have no option but to source data from multiple sources. Hence, what the foundation plans on doing is that it will combine different datasets, thus offering these developers a far more convenient alternative.

“Immersive experiences, which understand and blend into your physical environment, are critical to the embodied internet of the future,” added Jan Erik Solem, engineering director for Maps at Meta. “By delivering interoperable open map data, Overture provides the foundation for an open metaverse built by creators, developers, and businesses alike.”

To get the project off the ground, the foundation will use open data that already exists in city planning departments, as well as in open-source projects like OpenStreetMap. Also, while the initiative only has four companies right now, it is expected to invite other businesses and communities in the near future.

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