This week Nestoria went live with a significant change to their service; in most countries they have moved away from Google maps and are now relying exclusively on OpenStreetMap maps served by MapQuest.
According to Nestoria, here are four main reasons the company has made the switch:
1. The maps are equal or better
OpenStreetMap’s great strength is that anyone can contribute. Since the OpenStreetMap project started, over 500,000 people around the world have signed up to do just that, often going into insane levels of detail. Fixes can be added and reflected in the maps very quickly.
People can map whichever features are important to them (paths, pubs, buildings, etc) and escape the car centric focus of many mapping services. All of this data is then made freely available for all to use. Increasingly government agencies are realising that it makes more sense to cooperate with and benefit from this new approach to data gathering and maintenance.
Thanks to the hard work of all of these volunteers, in many places of the world, particularly the European countries Nestoria is focused on, OSM maps are of equal or better quality than any other widely available mapping service.
2. It is another visible way for Nestoria to support open data
Nestoria’s service aggregates data from many different sources and presents it in an easy to use format, thus it benefits greatly from open data; the company wants to do its part (within the limited resources of a start-up) to help the open data movement. This is why they sponsor OpenStreetMap conferences and recently donated to OpenStreetMap’s humanitarian efforts. This is why Nestoria features the work of open data advocates on its blog, and also why it makes its own data available via our API and other tools. Nestoria is a company that believes in open data.
3. Google introduced charging for map usage
Earlier this year Google announced that they would begin introducing limits to the use of Google maps by commercial websites. Nestoria has grown significantly since its launch back in 2006, which means that they are well over the free usage limits Google announced.
4. The tools are ready.
Nestoria has stated that they would not have been technically able to make the switch unless there was a solid set of tools and services around OSM that made the switch possible.
When they realised it was time for the company to make the move, they faced the decision of using someone else’s OSM tiles or render and serve their own. Having consulted with experts on the topic, they concluded the only viable path was for Nestoria to leave the rendering and serving to experts and use someone else’s OSM tileset.
CloudMade has for several years offered an OSM tile layer for all to use. In 2010 MapQuest released a similar service. While Nestoria is a long-time fan of CloudMade (they use their tiles on our Where Can I Live? service), for their global infrastructure and speed they made the decision to use MapQuest’s OSM tiles.
For further information visit the Nestoria blog here.