Recently the Linux Foundation unveiled through an announcementor the creation of the Overture Maps Foundation, a non-profit association aimed at creating a neutral and company-independent platform for the development of a unified map data storage scheme and toolkit, as well as maintaining a collection of map files that can be used in your own services of maps.
It is worth mentioning that the difference between the new project and OpenStreetMap is that OpenStreetMap is a community for creating and editing maps, while Overture Maps aims to aggregate existing open maps from various sources, including maps prepared in OpenStreetMap and maps that are ready to be shared by various companies and organizations.
At the same time, since both projects use the same license, Overture Maps developments can be transferred to OpenStreetMap; in addition, Overture Maps participants intend to be directly involved in the development of OpenStreetMap.
“Mapping the physical environment and every community in the world, even as they grow and change, is a hugely complex challenge that no organization can handle. The industry must come together to do this for the benefit of all,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “We are excited to facilitate this open collaboration between leading technology companies to develop high-quality open map data that will enable untold innovations to benefit people, businesses, and communities.”
It is mentioned that licenses are specifically designed for database distribution and, in comparison with Creative Commons licences, they take into account a number of subtleties and legal nuances associated with combining data from different sources and abstracting the structure of the database in order to preserve the license terms when the structure or order of records changes.
In addition to this, the validity of the data included in the Overture Maps collection will be checked, possible errors and inaccuracies will be identified. The data will also be updated to reflect the actual changes. For the distribution of data, a unified storage scheme will be defined to guarantee the portability of the information. To link the same real objects that intersect in different data sets, a unified system of links will be proposed.
The first iteration of the Overture Maps set, whose release is scheduled for the first half of 2023, it will only include base layers that include buildings, roads, and administrative areas. Future versions will improve accuracy and coverage, as well as add new layers such as points of interest, addresses, and 3D renderings of buildings.
Overture, along with other partners, aims to offer:
- Collaborative Map Building: Overture aims to incorporate data from multiple sources, including Overture members, civic organizations, and open data sources.
- Global Entity Reference System: Overture will simplify interoperability with a system that links entities from different datasets to the same entities in the real world.
- Quality control processes- Overture data will undergo validation for map errors, breakage, and vandalism to help ensure that the map data can be used in production systems.
- Structured data schema: Overture will define and drive adoption of a common, structured, and documented data schema to create an easy-to-use map data ecosystem.
Founding members of the project are mentioned to have included Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, Microsoft, and TomTom. The data will be distributed under the copyleft Open Database License used in the OpenStreetMap project and under the permissive Community Data License Agreement, developed for data by the Linux Foundation.
Finally, if you are interested in being able to learn more about it, you should know that the source code of the Overture Maps tools will be published under the MIT license. You can check the details In the following link.
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