Open Street Map (vs. Google Maps)

Open Street Map (vs. Google Maps)

I expect you have all used Google Maps. You have also probably been frustrated with it. Open Street Map is an alternative. While you may start out being frustrated with it as well, you can actually do something about it.

What's Wrong With Google Maps?

If you have used it you must be aware that it is full of incorrect and missing information. This includes:

  • Information for a business who has moved or gone out of business.
  • Lots of businesses that have no descriptions.
  • Businesses with no contact information.

You need to think about why Google Maps exist to better understand this. It exists to make money for Google. It is created (mostly automatically) to appear as a resource for your business. If you then "claim" the listing you get inundated with requests to place paid advertising. And, if you find something wrong with a map entry you have to ask Google to fix it.

How Does Open Street Maps Differ?

As you have probably guessed, it is open. That means you can just sign up for an account and edit the maps. This is no "boss" and no profit. It is a cooperative effort. Just go to OpenStreetMap.org and start using and, hopefully, sign up to participate.

At first you may notice less entries in the area you are looking at. You may also see incorrect entries. My experience has been that there is usually about the same level of useful (meaning correct) entries on OSM as a Google map. But, again, you can personally make the difference.

My Plan

I am moving to a new house soon. My plan is to start with the house and start adding/editing OSM entries near the house. I don't plan to turn this into a career but each time I walk to the bank or grocery store I will see what businesses I pass and add them. If we all do this, OSM can grow into the best map resource. Join me! And, for those of you who own a business, add yourself the way you want to be listed.