When Apple launched iPhoto for iPhone, it quickly became clear that there was something odd going on with the maps in the application. Even though Apple never talked about this publicly, the data Apple used to render these new maps was clearly not from Google anymore. Instead, most experts agreed, Apple was using a number of different sources to create its new map tiles without giving proper credit to groups like OpenStreetMap, the Wikipedia-like crowdsourced mapping organization. This week’s update to iPhoto for iPhone, however, finally gives credit where credit is due.
iPhoto for iPhone’s acknowledgments page now prominently features OpenStreetMap, as well as other free and commercial sources including Urban Mapping, GeoNames, LeadDog, the U.S. government’s TIGER/Line and Canada’s StatCan.
OpenStreetMap Foundation’s Richard Fairhurst told TalkingPointsMemo’s Carl Franzen that he would have preferred if Apple had reached out the organization and credited it from the start, but, he said, “If the biggest computer company in the world, one with a perfectionist instinct, feels that OpenStreetMap data meets its needs and is happy to publicly attribute us, then that’s a great vote of confidence in our community’s work.”
The OpenStreetMap Foundation, Fairhurst told Franzen, “made informal contact with Apple,” but he credits one of the organization’s volunteers who is also an iOS developer for finally getting through to the company and getting it to credit OpenStreetMap.
While Apple is using a number of different sources for its maps, it’s worth noting that a number of other developers made the switch to OpenStreetMap over the last few month. Foursquare, for example, now uses OpenStreetMap data and Wikipedia, too, has made the switch in its iOS and Android apps.