Tech giants take on Google Maps with new initiative

Global nonprofit organisation Linux Foundation has announced that it has partnered with some tech giants to create interoperable open map data to compete with Google Maps.

The initiative ‘Overture Maps Foundation’ is founded by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, Microsoft and TomTom and is open to all communities with a common interest in building open map data, the Linux Foundation said in a blogpost on Thursday.

It is a new collaborative effort to develop interoperable open map data as a shared asset that can strengthen mapping services worldwide.

Map data will be open and extensible by all under an open data license.

“Overture’s mission is to enable current and next-generation map products by creating reliable, easy-to-use, and interoperable open map data. This interoperable map is the basis for extensibility, enabling companies to contribute their own data,” the organisation said.

In order to create complete, accurate and updated map data as the physical world changes, Overture members will combine their resources.

“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. Industry needs to come together to do this for the benefit of all,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director, the Linux Foundation.

“We are excited to facilitate this open collaboration among leading technology companies to develop high quality, open map data that will enable untold innovations for the benefit of people, companies, and communities,” Zemlin added.

In the future, map services will feature augmented reality (AR) applications merging the digital and physical worlds.

Overture expects to release its first datasets in the first half of next year.

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