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Innovation

AOL funds, backs open source mapping tech for MapQuest

Tired of hitting a dead end with outdated mapping technology?AOL has invested $1 million in open source mapping technology and launched a new beta version of MapQuest based on OpenStreetMap data in the U.
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor on

Tired of hitting a dead end with outdated mapping technology?

AOL has invested $1 million in open source mapping technology and launched a new beta version of MapQuest based on OpenStreetMap data in the U.K.

OpenStreetMap powers the Patch network.

AOL's MapQuest subsidiary said this will make more map data open and that the map stack uses open source mapping software such as Mapnik for tile rendering, TileCache for caching and Nominatim for geo-coding and search.

The end result will be better driving instructions (hopefully) and access to open mapping data more broadly across the U.S. The investment, for example, will plug gaps in information in communities not currently covered by Patch. Patch currently serves communities in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

These quotes are from the release issued July 9.

"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, according to a release issued by AOL. "That map data won't only be free to use but also much better than the maps you're used to."

"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."

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