Overture Maps Foundation releases the first beta of its open map dataset

The Overture Maps Foundation today launched the first beta of its global open map dataset. With this, the foundation, which is backed by the likes of Amazon, Esri, Meta, Microsoft and TomTom, is getting one step closer to launching a production-ready open dataset for developers who need geospatial data to power their applications.

“This Beta release brings together multiple sources of open data, has been through several validation tests, is formatted in a new schema and has an entity reference system that allows attachment of other spatial data,” said Marc Prioleau, executive director of Overture Maps Foundation. “This is a significant step forward for open map data by delivering data that is ready to be used in applications.”

Overture was founded back in 2022, under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation. At the time, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin noted that “mapping the physical environment and every community in the world, even as they grow and change, is a massively complex challenge that no one organization can manage. Industry needs to come together to do this for the benefit of all.”

Now, two years later, some Overture members have already started integrating its data into their applications. Meta, the foundation says, is using Overture data for its map solutions while Microsoft is adopting it to add coverage to Bing Maps.

Overture’s dataset includes five base layers in the beta release that include 54 million places of interest, 2.3 billion buildings, roads, footbaths and other travel infrastructure, administrative boundaries, and a contextual base layer including land and water data.

In a world where OpenStreetMap (OSM) has been around for a very long time, it’s worth asking why the industry would need a project like Overture (which actually uses OSM data as part of its data set).

“Overture is a data-centric map project, not a community of individual map editors,” the project’s FAQ explains. “Therefore, Overture is intended to be complementary to OSM. We combine OSM with other sources to produce new open map data sets. Overture data will be available for use by the OpenStreetMap community under compatible open data licenses. Overture members are encouraged to contribute to OSM directly.”

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