OpenStreetMap (OSM) is the newest layer for Bing Maps and the newest Bing Map App in the gallery. The map app, dubbed simply, "OpenStreetMap" loads OSM maps as a new map style option. OpenStreetMap follows a similar concept as Wikipedia, but for maps and other geographic facts (despite its name, it’s by no means only limited to streets and roads). A community of map lovers and developers gather location data across the globe from a variety of sources such as recordings from GPS devices, from free satellite imagery or simply from knowing an area very well, for example because they live there. This information then gets uploaded to OpenStreetMap’s central database from where it can be further modified, corrected and enriched by anyone who notices missing facts or errors about the area.
Users can still perform searches atop of the OSM map layer. Once the OSM Maps are rendered, users will find the OSM map option listed in the map types so if you switch to Bird’s Eye or some other native Bing map types, you can easily return to the OSM map style. Of note, we are using the Mapnik map style from OSM (one of the many map styles available to open source users) to create our OSM map type. People love the details you see?
We’ve taken the OSM data as is and are pumping it through our Windows Azure CDN (see my quotes in the recent Windows Azure Case Study, Mapping Service Increases Performance by 80 Percent with Global Data Center Network). This means, pure OSM data coming down at screaming fast speeds from the massive Windows Azure infrastructure built out to support globally distributed applications…like Bing Maps.
And, now, you can get all the benefits right in Bing Maps! Juicy.
Follow me @BingMaps, ^CP