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Geocaching.com dumps Google Maps

Posted by 27745274 on

Google Maps in the bin In a predictable move, Groundspeak have announced that they've dumped Google Maps as their mapping engine of choice on the geocaching.com website. Google's recent announcement on changes to the cost structure for the mapping API* has forced Groundspeak to find an alternative. As Groundspeak explain on their Latitude 47 blog, Google announced that they were going to start charging API customers who made more than 25,000 mapping requests a day. Groundspeak falls firmly within that category (with over 2million map loads a day), and faced significant charges (up to $20,000 per day). As a result, they've updated the website and are now using the OpenStreetMap system instead. For those who aren't already aware of it, OpenStreetMap is an open source, collaborative mapping system, where the data is 'crowd sourced' After a slow start, it has really taken off, although the data doesn't seem to be so extensive in Australia, as it is in other parts of the world, especially in our regional areas. Since OSM is only street based mapping, it also means we've lost the option of the Google Maps satellite imagery. The geocaching.com site offers several map options, including MapQuest Aerial, but when I checked my local area, there were only very large scale images available. Since OSM is crowd sourced, we might find that forcing geocachers to use it, might increase the amount of data input into the system, and improve it dramatically, but in the meantime, I predict there's going to be a severe backlash from cachers who are used to the rich data set that Google provided. Personally, I think I'll miss the Google satellite imagery more than anything else. I found it useful, not just for finding caches, but also verifying coordinates of caches I'd placed. The version of the iPhone geocaching app that's running on my phone still uses Google Maps, so I think I'll hold off updating, at least for the moment. *The Google API, (or Application Programming Interface) is the interface that Groundspeak uses to access the Google Maps data from its website and mobile applications.

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3 comments

  • There’s some good stuff on OSM, but there’s huge amounts of detail missing from some regional areas… not enough people using the system to crowdsource the info.

    This is a massive flaw in a crowdsourced system. Good in metro areas, useless in rural/regional areas.

    mvyrmnd on
  • I recently started using OpenStreetMap on my Oregon 300 (instead of paying Garmin $200 for their maps) and it’s great. Much more detail than ShonkyMaps used to provide.

    So the change that Groundspeak has made actually suits me – now what I see online matches what I see on my GPSr.

    And if OpenStreetMap doesn’t show streets and paths in your area guess what? You can fix it! Yes you! OSM lets you take control and edit maps to help fellow geocachers.

    I like the latest change, I think it will empower us instead of what we did before by relying on a for-profit corporation like Google for support.

    andrew mcphee on
  • My Windows7 phone geocaching app (official groundspeak app) uses Bing and open street maps.
    Is there a reason why they can’t use bing maps on the website?

    CDM on

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