Google rivals launch Overture Maps Foundation for open source map data

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Google rivals launches Overture Maps Foundation
Image Courtesy; Pexels/Brett Jordan

The tech giant, Google rivals has unveiled a project to make freely available data sets for map features to be built into online offerings.

The Alphabet-owned company dominates online mapping, selling its services to other companies or platforms and using location and navigation capabilities to enhance its other offerings, including online advertising.

Global nonprofit organization Linux Foundation announced its partnership with other tech giants, Meta, Microsoft, TomTom, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to create interoperable open map data to compete with Google Maps.

These giants teamed up to launch the initiative named Overture Maps Foundation, the goal of which is to make comprehensive mapping data openly available for use by whoever may need it.

Jim Zemlin_Google rivals launch Overture Maps Foundation
Jim Zemlin
Executive Director
Linux Foundation

“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. The industry needs to come together to do this for the benefit of all.”

Google was notably absent from the list of companies teaming up in Overture, which said its goal is to expand membership to speed up progress. The coalition expected to release its first mapping datasets by the middle of next year.

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

Map data already underlies applications for search, navigation, logistics, games, autonomous driving and more. Overture map data will be open source, meaning developers are free to not only use it but to build on it, the Linux Foundation said.

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