Overturemaps.org - big-businesses OSMF alternative

From reading the various press releases, there’s lots of mentions of companies / businesses contributing to the Overture Map, but nothing about individuals?

Will you & me have the option / ability to work on Overture, or would we “just” be working on OSM, with our work maybe, or maybe not, being included?

What happens with regard to the data that we’ve been given special permission to import & use under oDBl? Will that all have to be deleted before it hits Overture?

There has been no indication that OM (anybody noticed that) will use anything other than the ODbL as a distribution license for OSM derivatives and I don’t quite see why we should be wasting time thinking about OMs problems to start with.

PS: importing ODbL data in to OSM has always been a dreadful idea, but that is completely offtopic here.


That sounds wonderful. Yes, it can be very different here. In any area without lots of pedestrian traffic, a mapper doing a field survey can easily attract menacing stares, or worse, depending on one’s appearance and demeanor. It helps to pretend to be playing Pokémon Go or go out confidently in full corporate regalia. :smirk:


So I made a dedicated post here Proposal discussion to submit for OSMF: normalized/stricter read-only version of OpenStreetMap data focused on an action not related at all with license comments here. Maybe not the best title, and even the examples of automated changed might not be that good, but while I was thinking about since yesterday, Simon even mentioned:

So I do think this could be possible and even willing to help on it for free. But definelly would be easier if know this in advance, not between 1 to 6 months of release based their FAQ. But anyway, still feasible.

This “Global Entity Reference System” mention is by far, what I think is the only change over just “OpenStreetMap Data” + “data cleaning” + “fill data from other sources”.

While it is not clear what this quasi-buzzword means (is the entire schema?) at minimum identifiers for persistent abstracts concepts (something such as Wikidata Qs as we use on OSM today) like “(Google) Places ID”, some sort of internal persistent code to identify administrative boundaries that never change, things like very big roads that even with Relations is not viable have single ID, etc. Abstracts concepts that OSM itself (not relying on something external like Wikidata) could explain (even if mostly an alias for the real underlining thing).

So, what they’re providing is unlikely to be not what @rtnf is assuming as very advanced (like linked data, RDF, etc) but just the bare minimum that is the most important to archive that: some sort of unique identifiers. And yes, this makes a lot of sense for data conflagration, because it is how someone could update data again with imports and exports.

This is something I think would be worth, but not mentioned the created post because it is a different issue. Also, OSM could have edited versions of its own data without this and still be perfectly usable, but OMF simply cannot exist without its own identifiers (they would not even be able to rely on OSM Relations). So, despite this fancy name, they badly need one, they have no option but to have such IDs even for beta versions.

I totally agree with that. We are long over due for some kind of centralized curation system for the more popular, clearly defined tags that most people agree on. Stalemates are bound to happen sometimes, but we shouldn’t be going out of our way to make them happen by not having actual resolution processes beyond automatically defaulting to whomever has had their account the longest or whatever.

I appreciate that and the fact that your willing to at least acknowledge where the pain points are. That said, my comment was less about my personal feelings and more about the facts as they are in reality and on the ground. I don’t deny that I’m frustrated by the dismal state of the Tiger Data in the United States. But that doesn’t negate the fact that there are no community based efforts being made here to do anything about it, at least not that I’m aware of.

At the end of the day I can both be frustrated by the current state of things and your assertion that humans commonly cooperate to review automated data and imports can still be patently false. At least it is in the United Sates and most of the rest of the world outside of Europe :man_shrugging:

I do genuinely appreciate the candor though :heart:

I 100% agree with that. The absolutism is totally toxic and does nothing to retain users. That doesn’t negate the fact that there are certain groups within the community that have their own interests and preferred ways of doing things though. There’s clearly cultural differences between the mappers in Europe and ones in the United States. That’s fine. I’m not going to claim that users in Africa or China have the exact same priorities then me as an American or what works in China will automatically transfer over to the United States. Let alone visa versa. That’s just not how things work :man_shrugging:

Sure. They have done some high quality work in some places. IMO though a lot of this discussion is or at least should be as much about identifying where the problems in the system are as it is just patting ourselves on the back for all the good we’ve done.

Look at this way, we can point to the hundreds of times that things worked perfectly that probably had nothing to do with why MAMT created OvertureMap, or we can be honest about what got us here. Which we know had something to do with poor quality data and a lack of review. OvertureMap isn’t building things like QA tools and curated tags into their system by default for nothing. It’s 100% because those are things that OpenStreetmap, including HOT, don’t currently do a good job at. This isn’t magic. Everything they are implementing in their system is probably something OpenStreetMap doesn’t currently do well.


It takes a village. What’s does that prompt when people sign up for an account say, “Focus on the content of the comment. Not the person who wrote it”? :man_shrugging:

Totally. I’m always surprised by how many private driveways and back roads Bing Maps was able to go down in the United States without them running into trouble. The fact that their cars look somewhat official probably has a lot to do with that.


To this point, here’s Microsoft talking about the work they were doing to conflate data sources with OSM back in 2017:

I don’t have any inside knowledge to know if this particular project is being used in connection with Overture, but it’s a pretty obvious need for anyone working with datasets that don’t share a common stable identifier scheme – or that lack one altogether.

Conflation has long been important for routing use cases. For one thing, you need to be able to match traffic and incident data to the road network. OpenLR is a linear referencing system that TomTom helped standardize; it later found its way into OSM-based products (including by my employer Mapbox).


You are simply showing your normal behaviour, drowning out everybody else in the discussion and trying to make the discussion about your specific grievances with the DWG and OSMF. You are currently getting a free ride here because the moderators are separate from those of other platforms in OSM space, I wouldn’t throw that away.


The greatest asset of OSM is the community. If now the OSMF puts emphasis on building it, we have nothing to worry about.


By the way… Tom Tom contacted us in Poland (I live in Lodz, where they have a big office, so it’s easy) We’re talking, we’ll see what comes of it.
One of the first topics we discussed was establishing talks with the OSMF and creating a dedicated blog or website with information about their involvement. I hope that the co-corporation machine will come back to us with some answers in early January.


Not really. I’m just giving my opinion on why I think OvertureMaps become a thing and what OpenStreetMaps can do better to retain users. I’ve been pretty debilitate to not call out specific users or incidents while doing that because turning into “specific grievances” with the DWG, OSMF, or anything/anyone else obviously wouldn’t be constructive. It seems like you’ve got that area covered pretty adequately by coming at me for no reason anyway :+1:

Kind of off topic, but you really seem to have it in for me more pretty badly lately for some reason. Kind of weird considering I don’t think we’ve ever actually had a conversation about anything. Let alone have I done anything to you to deserve the way your acting toward me. People will gossip though. I don’t expect everyone, or really anyone, on here to my best friend. Let alone do I care about whatever petty nonsense you’ve told about me behind the scenes. You taking personal swipes at me repeatedly over the past month over some petty gossip is a little ridiculous, but whatever. It’s par for the course.

Just between you and me, the comment of mine that you quoted was in reference to whomever was reporting Mikelmaron’s messages and trying to get them hidden. Since I think mass reporting random messages that are perfectly fine is stupid as someone who has had the same thing happen to them before. It had nothing to do with you, the DWG, OSMF, or anything else except the people who were reporting Mikelmaron’s messages. But be my guest and attack me for it when I was essentially taking your side. That just makes you and the platform look bad. In the meantime I’m going to continue sharing my opinion about how I think OpenStreetMap can improve as a platform regardless of if you keep coming at me. If nothing else, by being this ridiculously petty and defensive your just making OvertureMaps argument for them as to why people should use their platform instead of OpenStreetMap :man_shrugging:


That TomTom blog post about Overture is definitely worth a read to understand how they see OSM

OSM seems to be the “base map” layer, which they will enrich with their own sources on top, basic information like speed limits, one-way streets, and building entrances is not something they consider part of the “base map”

In its first iteration, Overture’s base map will include the road network and its geometry (provided by TomTom), building footprints and some basic POI information.

It’s in the speed limits, one-way streets, road restrictions, routing, ETAs, search, building entry points. It’s in services built on top of the base map.

TomTom’s proprietary map layers are things like one-way streets, speed limits, curvature, gradients, more detailed POI information and lane information.

The industry will begin to compete based on what they build on top of the base map; the big difference now is that the doors to innovation are wide open and collaborating on location tech is a whole lot easier.


My take on this is that while the OSMF website says that OpenStreetMap is “dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data” we leave gaps all over the place. Historically the gaps that have been exploited by an ecosystem of companies related to the distribution part. We’re now seeing the gaps in growth and development being exploited.

We left gaps because there were things we were unwilling to do, such as developing our own AI layers or collating layers of Openly Licenced (but not yet imported) data.

If OSM genuinely wants to “encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data” then just look at the areas where these companies won’t include data for free in the base layer and focus on providing that. As an example, TomTom have already stated that speed limit data will be a paid for dataset. We could provide our own speed limit data fully calibrated to be a drop in replacement to TomTom’s (i.e. linked to whatever stable identifiers Overture maps uses) if we wanted to. I think we should. I fear we won’t.

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LOL, Tomtom was already hawking this years ago trying to differentiate themselves from OSM. Seems as in the the span of a couple of weeks they’ve gone full circle from embracing OSM to reverting back to the proprietary model that was the dead end they where desperately trying to get out of.


If this is just a new Daylight 2 possibly combined with a Geofabrik-like translation into more “standard” formatting then I’m not too concerned.

If they want to move away from using OSM as a major input then I am concerned as it could mean the end of our use of imagery we rely on.

That’s comedy gold right there :slight_smile:

Surely TomTom’s marketing people can’t have written that with a straight face, can they?

other TomTom’s blog post :

TomTom’s CTO, Eric Bowman, on the company’s new strategy and mapping platform
Dec 14, 2022

Q: What role does TomTom play in the world of global mapmaking right now? How do we see that position evolving with this announcement?

TomTom’s CTO, Eric Bowman:

Mapmaking is a pretty hard capability to copy and as a result, there aren’t very many commercial mapmakers.

Realistically, there are only two of us [mapmaking companies] selling a map that other companies can build on. There are a couple of others that either provide services that use a map and others that build some extensions on OSM.

Our approach is quite different and not easy to copy: we have data that others do not, and we have seen this coming for some time. We have managed our operations carefully, and we have created a very healthy relationship with OSM. OSM plays an important role, but we are taking a different approach than just “building atop OSM.”

Our map uses OSM as its creators intended and we use data and computation to build a map and operate a platform. That puts us in a unique position in the world of global mapmaking.

We are participating in the OSM community, we are thriving in automotive and through that have amassed extremely rich data to improve the commercial features of our map. We also have many years of being a great partner for the best companies in the world, whom we team up with to solve their hardest problems.

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others NEWS:

"Ars Technica": "Linux, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft want to break the Google Maps monopoly
Overture Maps Foundation wants to end the oppressive rule of the Google Maps API."

HackerNews comments: Linux, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft want to break the Google Maps monopoly | Hacker News


This comment in the Ars Technica article yesterday is pretty interesting. Not because I think it’s true or anything, but the 100+ upvotes clearly shows that right or wrong it’s how people on the “outside” view OpenStreetMap. We can sit here all day and re-affirm to each other that “the community is our greatest strength” or whatever, but there’s clearly something being lost in translating “the community” aspects of the project and what types information it accepts to the wider public. There’s also clearly a disconnect between how new users are being treated and how certain perceive them being treated. While AdamWill’s comment is probably hyperbolic, I’m sure there’s some truth behind it and that they had an extremely bad experience as a new user.

Or conversely maybe they and the 100+ people who upvoted the comment just have personal axes to grind with the DWG/OSMF :joy: