Welcome, Apple!

Yesterday Apple launched iPhoto, its photo management app, for the iPad and iPhone… and we’re rather pleased to find they’re the latest to switch to OpenStreetMap.

The desktop version of iPhoto, and indeed all of Apple’s iOS apps until now, use Google Maps. The new iPhoto for iOS, however, uses Apple’s own map tiles – made from OpenStreetMap data (outside the US).

If you don’t have iPhoto, you can view the maps using this unofficial viewer  from Dair Grant or a transparent comparison from Iván Sánchez.

The OSM data that Apple is using is rather old (start of April 2010) so don’t expect to see your latest and greatest updates on there. It’s also missing the necessary credit to OpenStreetMap’s contributors; we look forward to working with Apple to get that on there.

03 May 2012 Update: Apple appear to have added OpenStreetMap attribution in their iPhoto v 1.0.1

But we’re delighted to see another prominent map user make the switch to OpenStreetMap, and look forward to many more.

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260 thoughts on “Welcome, Apple!

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    1. Russ Nelson

      My position, not that I speak for the foundation or anyone else besides myself, is that use of the map precedes contributions to the map. All we really need is for map users to say “Did you find something wrong in the map? Go edit it here: http://osm.org/

  6. Thomas

    Google, who donated money to OSM and always had places during their summer of code, is the devil and officialy accused of vadalism here and Apple, who has done nothing for us and is well known for defending their own rights, is welcome to violate our license?
    Not welcome Apple!

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  8. Mohan

    You need to ask them to pay or ask them to host your server cost(indefinitely). They mean business, so should you.

    1. Russ Nelson

      I may be wrong, but the only purpose of the OSM tile servers is so that OSM community members can contribute improvements to the data. Consequently, the mapnik rendering has a bias towards rendering everything. That rendering is probably NOT the best one for J. Random Application. But that’s okay, because multiple renderings are available at a reasonable cost from commercial providers, or anybody can visit http://switch2osm.org to find out how to render and serve up your own tiles.

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  11. mark

    apple does not give credit.
    they just “borrow”
    and sue the ones that “borrow” from apple
    shame on them

  12. Michael

    I don’t get why this is a big deal if every other IOS app will be using Google’s iteration of Maps. Why are they choosing to breach consistency?

    1. DrFreeman

      They are using it in the geolocation of the photos. By using this they do not have to share location data of the consumer’s photo with Google!

      At least this was the explanation that someone on Appleinsider forum gave me.

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  21. Zachary Reiss-Davis

    This post is a great example of how to chastise a potential partner without actually getting off too far on the wrong foot; I love it.

    “We love that they’re using us, but they are violating our TOC”.

    1. Tom Davie

      Actually, the images shown on that site very much suggest that they are using OSM data. But the authors don’t seem to realise that data is not the same as rendering. They see that the colours used to display the data are different, and assume that therefore the map data is different. Here’s the OSM map they show overlayed on the apple map they show – they’re identical except for style.

  22. Roland Oth

    Are you saying Apple uses a dataset in a product released march 2012 that dates back to April 2010?? They would be missing out on a lot of datapoint updates. Does not make sense to me

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  37. Pascal

    Apple forgot the credits to the contributors… what a joke!

    These guys are useless, bringing closed technologies, suing competitors, making the world a worst place. Hopefully that will change!

    I also hope they contribute to OSM funding. Keep up the good work guys!

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  41. OpenStreetMap User

    I hope the OpenStreetMap foundation has all your development patented, in case of Apple will sue you for use of their “own” maps. You never know with Apple.
    At least I want to listen from Apple Inc. a public apologies for this “involuntary mistake”

  42. taelor

    These comments make me really scared to join the open street map community. Everyone seems so very hostile.

    I’m a Rails developer that works for a web based health care product. We have been wondering how we are going to start doing our mapping integration. We just discovered this project after learning that Apple started using it.

    This is one of the first blog posts I have read, and the reaction from the your community in the comments is disheartening. Are you always this mean to new comers?


    1. IvanSanchez

      We’re always this mean to people who don’t respect the copyleft license.

      All you need is a tiny “Map data by OpenStreetMap contributors” in a corner, or a mention in the “about” page of the product, or even just a mention in the EULA.

      Y’a know, everyone is mean to the “pirates of the internet” who use other people’s work without permission. But when it’s a big corporation, it should be okay and the authors are just overreacting and being mean. *grin*

      1. K.C

        Then all of you don’t have the facts, I won’t share it with you at this time, in a few days all you finger pointers will have more then Egg on your faces.

        By the way, Grow up..

    2. Richard Fairhurst

      No, we’re not. We’re a big community and fractious like any bunch of people on the Internet, of course; you’ll find people here who can’t stand Apple, and equally, people who’ve never bought hardware from anyone else.

      But, above all, we want to see people using our data. Come and chat to us on IRC, read the switch2osm guide, find out what you can do. Come on in, the water’s lovely.

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  44. Aaron

    My guess is they did it without asking initially so to keep it a secret until after launch. They’re possibly starting with very small usage to work out the kinks, with plans to eventually move away from google maps entirely. Reminds me of their use of the Konqueror browser code when developing Safari.

    1. Russ Nelson

      Randy, the whole *point* behind Open Source software, data, and hardware is that you DON’T have to ask. That’s a crucial part of the Open Source Definition, the Open Hardware Definition, and both licenses used by OSM: the CC-By-SA and the OdBL.

      Don’t ask … but DO say thanks.

    2. Gert Huizenga

      It is not so much that we don’t like them to use the data. Far from it they should keep doing it. What the point is that when they do and reveal their product they are obliged to accredit the owners of the data. A few words in the about is all that it takes. Because keeping it secret when you go public is counter intuitive.
      To be frank you don’t want this when you show of a brand new product. It shatters your image and make people weary and that’s never a good thing.

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