AOL Seeking to Fuel Open-Source Mapping Globally with Establishment of a $1 Million Fund to Foster Open-Source Mapping in the United States
GIRONA, Spain — (BUSINESS WIRE) — July 9, 2010 — MapQuest, a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), today announced plans to be the first large mapping company to embrace open-source mapping at scale. Today, MapQuest is announcing the beta launch of http://open.mapquest.co.uk/ built on OpenStreetMap data for the UK. The beta platform will be a stand-alone offering and will live alongside MapQuest’s existing UK platform, which is based on commercially available map data. The announcement was made today at State of the Map 2010, the 4th annual international OpenStreetMap conference, in Girona, Spain.
"Today we launched a version of the newly redesigned MapQuest, but on open data provided by the OpenStreetMap community," said Randy Meech, Head of Engineering for AOL Local and Mapping. “Not only is the map data open, but also this beta map stack uses popular open-source mapping software, including Mapnik for tile rendering, TileCache for caching, and Nominatim for geo-coding and search. We are now employing developers to contribute back to these projects for the benefit of the community."
Meech continued, "We believe that open source is ultimately the future for AOL's local and mapping applications. And we're very excited about supporting OpenStreetMap, which powers the maps behind Patch, our local news and information platform. We believe community generated maps that are of high quality and accuracy will end up ultimately being the better mapping product for users. Allowing users to improve the areas they know and care about like streets in their neighborhood, in addition to hiking trails, parks and bike paths, we believe will lead to the best mapping experience for all users.”
Investing in Open-Source Mapping
Additionally, AOL today announced a $1 million fund to support the growth of open-source mapping in the United States.
The new fund will support projects in specific communities over the next year to help expand and enhance the geographic data available to developers, designers and other users as part of AOL’s commitment to open-source technology.
“MapQuest is the first large-scale mapping site to embrace the open-source community,” said Jon Brod, Executive Vice President of AOL Ventures, Local and Mapping. “We believe this investment in openness and innovation will not only pay significant dividends for our MapQuest and AOL users and developers, but also for the greater local and mapping ecosystem worldwide.”
"AOL's investment in open source mapping data and technology represents rare foresight in recognizing that the future of map data will be a commons,” said Steve Coast, Founder, OpenStreetMap. “That map data won't only be free to use but also much better than the maps you're used to.”
AOL’s $1 million grant will help fund local initiatives to identify and plug gaps in information in open-source mapping data about specific U.S. communities covered by Patch. Patch offers news, business listings, recreation, events and other information in communities across America. The Patch network currently covers communities in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, with new sites constantly coming online.
More information about the grant application process is available at Email Contact.
Meech’s full remarks from State of the Map 2010 are available at http://bit.ly/osm-mapquest.
AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is a leading global Web services company with an extensive suite of brands and offerings and a substantial worldwide audience. AOL’s business spans online content, products and services that the company offers to consumers, publishers and advertisers. AOL is focused on attracting and engaging consumers and providing valuable online advertising services on both AOL’s owned and operated properties and third-party websites. In addition, AOL operates one of the largest Internet subscription access services in the United States, which serves as a valuable distribution channel for AOL’s consumer offerings.
MapQuest provides Internet, mobile and business solutions delivering on the promise of helping people research and discover: where is it, how I get there and what’s nearby. MapQuest is one of the leading mapping brands online, offering maps and directions, reaching more than 49.1 million users in May 2010, according to comScore Media Metrix. MapQuest’s mobile solutions are compatible with a variety of mobile devices, including iPhone and BlackBerry devices. MapQuest, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Inc, is based in Denver, Colorado.
VP, AOL Corporate Communications