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01 March 2012, 15:09

Foursquare switches from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap

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foursquare logo Foursquare has announced that it is now using open map data from the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project for its popular location-based social networking service. The New York-based startup, which has a community of more than 15 million users worldwide, previously used Google's Maps API for mapping but decided to look around for other solutions following the introduction of a limit on the number of free API calls that could be made without incurring charges.

However, the company said that, when one of its engineers used OSM data during a recent hackathon, the default set of map images provided by OSM "didn't look quite right for us". Because of this, foursquare decided to work with MapBox, a startup that makes "gorgeous maps with the OpenStreetMap data". The social networking service is using MapBox's recently launched MapBox Streets global block-level map to power all of its maps.

Zoom foursquare's maps are now powered by MapBox Streets, which uses data from OpenStreetMap
"We love the idea of supporting open data through OpenStreetMap, and MapBox gives us greater flexibility on tile design for custom maps," said the company, adding that "while OpenStreetMap has come a long way, there’s still a bit of work to be done to create an atlas of the whole world (the world is pretty huge). But we’re extremely excited about what we're building towards."

Founded in August 2004 by Steve Coast, the OpenStreetMap Project is run by the non-profit OpenStreetMap Foundation, and builds free online maps which are not based on any copyright or licensed map data. OSM maps are released under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 licence.


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