Announced earlier this month, the Overture Map Foundation is an initiative founded by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta (i.e. Facebook), Microsoft and TomTom to build an ecosystem of interoperable open map data—an ecosystem, note, that does not at the moment include Apple, Esri or Google, so presumably this is a way for smaller owners of map data (at least for TomTom values of smaller) to
form Voltron punch above their weight by making it easier to combine and share resources. From the press release:
Multiple datasets reference the same real-world entities using their own conventions and vocabulary, which can make them difficult to combine. Map data is vulnerable to errors and inconsistencies. Open map data can also lack the structure needed to easily build commercial map products and services on top.
Making it easier to combine data—one of Overture’s aims is to create “a common, structured, and documented data schema”—sounds an awful lot like a way to address James Killick’s complaint about the geospatial industry’s lack of common data standards (previously). It also sounds like TomTom’s map platform, announced last month, is part of something bigger.
Given the talk about open map data, it’s not surprising that the OpenStreetMap team has some thoughts about the announcement, and about how Overture and OSM might work together in the future.