Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Maps still need direction - Collaborative Maps?

Well, what with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and some other familiar names (even open such as OpenStreetMap) i figured Maps were dead. I mean dead in the sense of why would ANYONE write another one.

Well, that is until is actually tried to use them. The Google and Yahoo API's are nice, i couldn't even FIND an API for Windows Live and although OpenStreetMap is nice, it's API was almost impossible to figure out (i just want to use as part of my app).

Now, even though i can USE Google and Yahoo easily, it doesn't work for place names!! Yes, in most apps people are going to enter a place name "Mitchell Library" rather than "201 North Street, Glasgow" - but although this works great for the browser, it does NOT work as part of the REST interface either company provides.

Is this because they KNOW it is so key to future apps? Particularly in the mobile space (prior to us all having GPS)?

So here's a call to action. Why does every company who doesn't regards their location information as core to their revenue model not join together and create a universal database - like OpenStreetMap or something. Put on a nice API and let people integrate the data.

I don't mean with all the graphical maps etc - i mean just the data about placenames and where they are. Done together.

I'm working on something that really needs more than what these companies offer and i'd gladly put my location data into such an open system.


Initial API:

Put(placename, number, streetname, city, postcode, country, latitude, londitude);

Get(placename, country)
Get(placename, number, streetname, city, postcode, coutry)
Get (latitude, longitude)

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