Meta, Microsoft, TomTom, or Amazon Web Service have joined forces to make extensive mapping information freely available to the public. Google competitors announced a project on Thursday to make freely available sets of data for map features to also be built in to the online services.
Google, which is owned by Alphabet, dominates online mapping, selling the services to other companies and platforms and using location or navigation capabilities to improve its other offerings, such as online advertising.
A nonprofit Linux Foundation announced the formation of the Overture Maps Foundation by Meta, Microsoft, TomTom, or Amazon Web Services, with the goal of making comprehensive mapping information openly available to be used by whoever needs it.
“Mapping its physical environment but every community with in world, even though they grow and change, is such massively complex challenge which no single organisation can manage,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.
“Industry must band together to accomplish this to the benefit of the all.”
Google was conspicuously absent from the list of companies collaborating in Overture, which stated that its goal is to increase membership in order to accelerate progress.
By a middle of next year, the coalition hoped to have released its first mapping datasets.
“Immersive experiences that appreciate or blend into the physical environment are critical to a embodied online of a future,” said Jan Erik Solem, engineering director at Meta.
“Overture creates the foundation for in an open metaverse built by creatives, developers, or businesses alike by having to deliver interoperable open map data.”
According to the Linux Foundation, map data is already used in applications such as search, navigation, logistics, games, and autonomous driving.
According to the Linux Foundation, Overture map data would be open source, which means developers will be able to not only use but also build on it.