This was very much inspired by the month of OSM (and is not a replacement) which has seen a soft launch over the last three days. I hadn’t intended to spend all this week on OSM, I wanted to launch with a camera so you could see me working and stuff but hey. I’ll count it as one day, and if you’ve been following the slippy map progress then you know it’s making an impact. More on the month of OSM in later posts, back to multimap.
I and others have been looking for sponsors which didn’t compromise the soul of openstreetmap for a while. The great Nestoria sponsorship of the related mapstraction was a great start but wasn’t going to go on forever. I met the founders of multimap and others at their offices to talk about openstreetmap and they immediately ‘got it’, to the extent of sponsorship. This makes them pretty far ahead of the pack and, I think, visionary.
What’s in it for them? Well, that’s not entirely clear right now. Obviously there is publicity. It’s early days and there are things to be explored but I think 80n has something on his user page when he says ‘My dream is of the day that Google Maps starts to use OSM data (under our license terms).’. Because multimap, google and a lot of others arn’t really in the geodata creation business, they have to license it for lots of money whether its maps, postcodes or whatever. If that is cheaper then great. If the technology behind OSM can be used on existing proprietary data then that’s good too, there’s many uses that can come as OSM matures. This might all be disturbing to some people, so I need to state some things plainly:
- Will the OSM license change? NO!
- Will OSM close off the data? NO!
- Will OSM be re-branded as ‘multimap OSM’? NO! But, given that they sponsor us along with UCL and bytemark who host us I think it’s entirely fair that we acknowledge that like we do for the others already on the front page
- Are there any strings attached to the money? NO!
Those are real ‘NOs’. What’s telling is multimap haven’t even asked me for these things. They ‘get it’. If they did, then sponsorship simply wouldn’t happen as OSM will and must remain Open. OSM is really you and the data and code you’re putting in – there won’t be an CDDB-like debacle.
So what do you get out of it? Well, thanks to you the month of OSM is getting started and now further, deeper work can occur thanks to multimap. This means more bugs fixed, more hours spent rendering places, more coding and ultimately a better OSM.
So, a big thank you to multimap and to all of you for continuing to build OSMs data and code.
Feel free to discuss all this on the mailing list and I’ll try to answer any questions that arise. Hopefully we should have some more good announcements soon.