Foursquare ditches Google Maps for open source data

Geolocation service Foursquare is to ditch Google Maps, moving to an open source mapping database to escape Google’s revamped API pricing model.

Foursquare ditches Google Maps for open source data

The company said it would be using data from OpenStreetMap, which it describes as a “crowd-sourced global atlas… like Wikipedia for geography”.

According to Foursquare, the move comes after it reassessed its relationship with Google and started looking for alternatives.

“While the new Google Maps API pricing was the reason we initially started looking into other solutions, we ultimately ended up switching because OpenStreetMap and MapBox was simply the best fit for us,” the company said in a blog.

The company said it was using MapBox to interpret the huge data sets of mapping information from OpenStreetMap, which would otherwise have been overwhelming.

“The hard thing is taking the OpenStreetMap data and turning it into map images. Millions of map images, for every corner of the world. OpenStreetMap has a set of default map tiles, but they didn’t look quite right for us,” the company said, adding that MapBox gave it more flexibility.

Google announced changes to its Maps API rates last year, with fees of $4 dollar per thousand requests among other licencing models.

However, Foursquare said it would continue to use the Google API on mobile platforms because they come integrated with both iOS and Android handsets.

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