Yes, really. Yahoo! have agreed to let OSM use their aerial imagery. Many thanks are due to Jeremy Kreitler and Scott Regan at Yahoo! for putting this together. On the OSM end, Mikel Maron has put a lot in and I’ve (steve) rewritten the applet tiling code to use Yahoo! Imagery. So what does it look like? Well this is what we could use before, Landsat:
It’s about 15 meter per pixel and so not super useful for things like streets. This is the kind of imagery (actually the same area a bit zoomed in from the above) that Yahoo provides:
Bit better, isn’t it? Yahoo has large sections of the US, 200 world cities (for example the London imagery goes out beyond the M25) and more data being added all the time. Makes that mid 2008 goal a little more real. So what’s the applet look like?
No it’s not a mock up, check out this video:
There’s code in there which updates the relevant image copyrights which we must respect, along of course with Yahoos. This updates depending on what you’re looking at. We can of course derive vectors from it for use in OSM. The code needs some cleanup and tweaks. It needs to be integrated in to the site too, expect it in a week or so.
Of course, we still need to get all those street names and features. GPS traces are by no means dead – think of the new housing estates and areas without imagery. But instead of cycling down every road you should be able to just pass lots of them at either end to get the names. Or just from memory.
Where does this bring us to? Well the ‘big map companies’ use expensive cars and expensive aircraft with expensive cameras and expensive GPS units to create maps. Maybe our GPS units are cheaper and less accurate, but does it matter? I think not. We now have all the pieces of the puzzle and we’re putting out great maps for Free using Free tools.
Thanks again Yahoo!