Apple Finally Tips Its Hat To OpenStreetMap, Admits To Using Their Mapping Data

Apple Finally Tips Its Hat To OpenStreetMap, Admits To Using Their Mapping Data

OpenStreetMap is pretty happy that Apple finally tipped their hat to them.

When Apple first released iPhoto for iOS, it quickly became clear that the new app was Apple’s first app to distance itself from Google’s Maps API in favor of OpenStreetMap (OSM), a collaborative online project aimed at making a free and complete map of the world. When you checked in iPhoto where a photo had been taken, you were seeing maps built upon the foundation of OSM. The only problem? Apple wasn’t bothering to credit them.

Now with the latest update to iPhoto, Cupertino’s decided to do the right thing. OpenStreetMap is credited in the app’s acknowledgement section.

When we originally spoke to OpenStreetMap about Apple’s move back in March, they told us that while Apple had no obligation to contact them and get permission to use OSM’s map data in one of their apps, Cupertino did need to give attribution in order to comply with OSM’s licensing requirements.

The fact that OSM’s essentially giving the data away for free while Google charges for app access to their Maps API made Apple’s failure to even hat tip OSM pretty indefensible, but Cupertino has been silent on the issue. In fact, the acknowledgment was snuck into the app stealthily with the latest update.

According to Talking Points Memo, OpenStreetMap believes it was actually an iOS dev who volunteered on the product who was instrumental to getting credit where it was due.

The OSM Foundation has made informal contact with staff at Apple and, in addition, one of our volunteer mappers who is an iOS developer spoke to people at Apple. We believe it was the latter that precipitated adding the attribution – it’s great to have such an active and engaged community!

It’s widely believed that Apple is trying to distance itself from being reliant upon Google’s APIs in iOS. Because of Android, Apple’s frenemies with Google at best, and the relationship between the two companies has become increasingly frosty. That Google makes more money off of iOS than it does off of Android should make the growing schism with Apple increasingly worrisome to the search giant.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , |