• Google
  • Nokia
  • Yahoo! Inc.
  • AND Automotive Navigation Data
  • earthmine
  • First American Spatial Solutions
  • Waze
  • Google

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How Open Should Mapping APIs Be?

Following innovation comes standardization. The open source JavaScript library Mapstraction has been at the forefront, but some see it as a watered down version of other maps. In that sense, standardization means squelching innovation by only including the union of all feature-sets.

The title of this panel asks a question: how open should mapping APIs be? It is not a yes or no question, but rather a gradient. The APIs likely should not be either completely open nor completely closed. The speakers, themselves representatives of the companies behind these innovative APIs, disagree about where we should aim on the spectrum between open and closed.

There is much more to location technology than web mapping. Nevertheless, much of the user-facing data ends up being plotted with mapping APIs. How this landscape looks in five years will be greatly impacted by the answer to the question this panel is being asked to discuss.

Photo of Adam DuVander

Adam DuVander


Adam DuVander helps people create on the web. He has been a contributor to Webmonkey, Wired’s Web developer resource, since 2000. His location-related work for BestPlaces.net has been seen on MSN, Yahoo and the Wall Street Journal.

DuVander founded Portland Web Innovators and sits on the board of non-profit Legion of Tech. He is currently writing an online mapping book for No Starch Press from his home in Portland, Oregon.