Apple Using OpenStreetMaps in iPhoto Without Due Credit

OpenStreetMaps has been in news more than once over the last few days. The de-facto name in location-based services, Foursquare switched from Google Maps to MapBox (an implementation of OpenStreetMaps) a week ago. In January this year, StreetEasy switched to OpenStreetMaps after some dissatisfaction with Google Maps and their pricing. However, these were not the only ones opting for OpenStreetMaps. OpenStreetMaps was adopted by many other services for its excellent worldwide maps. Nonetheless, all of them made this transition enthusiastically and openly.

Recently, another major tech giant started using OpenStreetMaps for one of its products. However, their adoption was hushed, with no mention or credit given to OpenStreetMaps. This has upset OpenStreetMaps slightly, and they have written a sarcastic piece saying, “don’t mention it” in essence, which Apple did literally anyway.

OpenStreetMaps writes on its blog, saying,

The desktop version of iPhoto, and indeed all of Apple’s iOS apps until now, use Google Maps. The new iPhoto for iOS, however, uses Apple’s own map tiles – made from OpenStreetMaps data (outside the US).

The OSM data that Apple is using is rather old (start of April 2010) so don’t expect to see your latest and greatest updates on there. It’s also missing the necessary credit to OpenStreetMap’s contributors; we look forward to working with Apple to get that on there.

On one hand, where it is good to see that more and more products are using OpenStreetMaps, it is demeaning at the same time because Apple intends to use OpenStreetMaps only as long as they are in transition from Google Maps to their own mapping service.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.