MapBox Aims For Open Source, Digital Map Revolution

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Sep 23, 2012 11:17 AM EDT
Talking Points Memo; By Carl Franzen
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“What a crazy week,” said Eric Gundersen, CEO of MapBox, a cloud-based digital map publishing company, in an interview with TPM. Gundersen’s point is well taken, given his small 25-person startup, based in Washington, D.C., just won a $575,000 grant from the journalism innovation nonprofit the Knight Foundation. The grant was awarded to MapBox specifically to allow the company to focus most of its resources over the next few months on improving its own main source of map data, OpenStreetMap, a free crowdsourced world map created by volunteer cartographers. It’s helpful to think of OpenStreetMap (OSM) as the “Wikipedia” of digital maps (although it’s not actually tied to Wikipedia). MapBox is an outside private company that uses the OSM data to build maps and mapping software, much of which it makes open source, for anyone to use for free, but some of which is proprietary and which it charges high prices to other companies and government agencies to access.

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