The Rise of OpenStreetMap

Online mapping has been dominated by Google Maps for some time. Nevertheless, OpenStreetMap is gaining fast. Though it is only 8 years old, it is clear that the people at OpenStreetMap are vying for the title of most-used web map service.

Just like Google Maps, OpenStreetMap is a world map where users can plan directions and obtain street views of places they are curious about. It is becoming more and more popular. In March, it had almost 560,000 individual registered users.

OpenStreetMap’s Growing Popularity

The mapping service also scored a significant public-relations victory in early March when Apple moved from using Google Maps to OpenStreetMap in its mobile software for regions outside the United States. And more recently, Apple  dumped Google Maps for its iPhoto service on iOS, Apple’s new photo management app. The new maps on this service are created from OpenStreetMap data. This is probably one of the biggest indicators that OpenStreetMap poses a real threat to Google Maps.

Other companies are making the switch as well. For instance, a popular social media service, Foursquare, made the change a few months ago. So, what is the reason that OpenStreetMap is becoming so popular? One advantage that it has over Google Maps is that it lets users to update maps based on experience. Two heads are better then one, right? And if you look at the success that Wikipedia has had with this philosophy, it points to a bright future for the fledgling digital map company.

Google No Longer Invulnerable?

Taking on Google is normally an unwise decision, but the search giant has recently suffered some defeats. For instance, its Google+ social media service hasn’t yet emerged as a serious rival to either Facebook or LinkedIn. Will OpenStreetMap deal Google another defeat? That’s hard to tell, but for now it’s clear that OpenStreetMap is making gains and growing in popularity.