Category Archives: Mapstraction

First commercial OSM usage!

Mikel and I are at the OS in Southampton for a mashup event. Thanks to a lot of work from Mikel and Etienne in producing the tiles nestoria are now using openstreetmap data rendered by osmarender as a google maps layer! This means that when browsing properties you can choose to overlay our map data rather than googles. It’s not perfect but it is an awsome first step and a farsighted decision by nestoria. Check it out here and hit ‘OSM’ in the map type above the map.

This Isle of Wight data used stretches back to the mapping party we held there where 30 or 40 OSMers decended on the Isle to map it in a weekend. A large vote of thanks goes to those people and in particular David Groom for annotating all that data.

At the same time, we can announce mapstraction support for OSM. There’s a demo over here which consists of the same Isle of Wight data. As our data gets broader and in more areas more tiles will be available. Right now, is uses google with some hacks to make it go. The API will remain the same but google will probably be replaced with openlayers at some point. Mikel also got on the fly API switching going, check it out.

Mapstraction progress

Mapstraction has been making good progress with integration from geopress (awsome plugin for embedding maps in wordpress) to Nestoria (awsome map for finding somewhere to live) (Other sites can be found here). One of the more interesting things to note from mapstraction’s evolution is the clear but unnoticed disparity in APIs. Microsoft Virtual Earth has by far the best aerial imagery of the UK, they have complete high resolution coverage! See an example here. But the API is perhaps the worst thing on the planet. Little documentation and many ‘basic’ features missing. The good thing for you, of course, is that mapstraction abstracts this all away and you need not worry because we’re spending the time to make it work. A hidden feature of Yahoo Maps is their high res data (see here) for lots of cities. It’s not obvious as they don’t hide good imagery behind brown goo of death.

Nestoria launches

Nestoria is a sweet UK-based tool for finding property. Not really what I’d usually mention on this blog but they’ve sponsored the initial work on mapstraction, which makes them very cool! You too should think this is cool because work like this allows more development of openstreetmap. I’ll let them explain why it’s a good idea:

Why does Nestoria sponsor Mapstraction? The past year internet users have benefited from an unprecedented level of innovation in online mapping. We’re interested in providing Nestoria users with the best possible user experience. Right now we think that means using Google maps. But in the future that might well mean using maps from someone else, perhaps even the open source mapping service being developed by OpenStreetMap. Mapstraction will give us the greatest flexibility to always provide you, the user, with a compelling mapping service.