Online maps that depend on user-generated content are growing at quite a clip, even threatening the more traditional purveyors of digital cartography. The famously canny Google marked the transition last month by dropping map company Tele Atlas from its US maps, opting to rely on free info provided by the government and, of course, users. “They have coverage in areas that the big mapping guys don’t have,” a consultant says of the new breed.
Those big mapping guys aren’t taking this sitting down. “Most of our customers expect a level of due diligence and quality that is way more than what a community is going to put together,” a Tele Atlas exec tells the New York Times. But while your personal GPS may not be relying on OpenStreetMap or Google Maps, their use by the government and in iPhone apps is big business, the consultant continues. “It has the opportunity to cause a lot of disruption in these industries.”