Free Vector Maps
I have no idea why this gem could go unnoticed by me, but yesterday a colleague pointed out to me the map service OpenStreetMap. Similar to Wikipedia, many users compile a free map for everyone.
The scope of OpenStreetMap is breathtaking. Vector data is available for large parts of the world, in many areas more detailed than Google Maps. Footpaths, beaten tracks, traffic lights, power lines. Everything is drawn in on OpenStreetMap.
And everyone is invited to add places, places, or names. If you own a GPS device, you can drive off or go down distances and then put the data online.
OpenStreetMap offers different layers of maps in different degrees of detail, export capabilities to countless formats, including vector formats, and all map data is under a Creative Commons license available. A model project that brings plenty of benefits to everyone!
Registration requires a few clicks, then you can edit the maps and help refine everything.
The Wiki is comprehensive and available in many languages.
The wiki lists even Screencasts, which introduce the use and operation of the project.
In parallel, one can use the service OpenRouteService, which is based on map data from OpenStreetMap and can be used to calculate routes, even for bicycles and pedestrians.
With these fantastic maps, Google Maps will be used less in the future. This is even more true if you want to process the data, which Google’s license terms prohibit.