Tech giants band together to set up open-source mapping platform

TomTom illustration of Overture Maps Foundation
(Image credit: TomTom)

The Linux Foundation has announced plans to create an interoperable open map data set that it will call the Overture Maps Foundation. 

The project was co-founded by tech giants AWS, Meta, Microsoft, and mapping giant TomTom (note the absence of Apple and Google) and is set to be “open to all communities with a common interest in building open map data.”

“Members will combine resources to build map data that is complete, accurate, and refreshed as the physical world changes”, the group noted in a press release, adding that the Overture Maps Foundation seeks to support both current and next-generation mapping products.

Overture Maps Foundation

The Linux Foundation’s executive director, Jim Zemlin, explains how mapping every community’s physical environment is a “massively complex challenge”, and hopes that the collaboration will “enable untold innovations for the benefit of people, companies, and communities.”

Mapping isn’t just limited to the obvious - it’s also set to underpin other functions like autonomous driving, data visualization, and in time, augmented reality.

In time, Overture aims to deliver collaborative map building, inviting data from the likes of civic organizations; a global entity reference system designed to link data from different sets; quality assurance processes; and a structured data schema which it hopes will create an easy-to-use ecosystem.

Overture’s aim is to grow its membership and contributors, enabling even better advancements, but it’s yet to be seen whether the behemoth that is Apple will join the movement. 

While the company has historically liked things its own way, it recently formed part of the Matter smart home standard with Google, Amazon, Samsung SmartThings and the Zigbee Alliance, contributing its own HomeKit as the foundation.

Also absent, for now at least, is Google, which makes up for almost 72% of the mobile OS market with its Android operating system, credited for putting mapping in the pockets of millions. The threat it is to face by the Overture Maps Foundation is yet to be seen.

TechRadar Pro has reached out to Apple and Google for comment on their absences from the recently announced alliance.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!