Building A business On OpenStreetMap Data? OpenCage Data Wants To Make That Easier

David Meyer | GigaOM | July 24, 2013

Summary: With location becoming a key part of many new apps and services, the use of free OpenStreetMap data seems like a no-brainer. But, as OpenCage Data company Lokku learned, there’s a lot of complexity involved.

OpenStreetMap is a fascinating phenomenon. The eight-year-old crowdsourced geodata project is powering mapping apps (Skobbler and, in places, Apple Maps), recommendation tools (Foursquare), sports watches (Leikr), classifieds (Craiglist) and property search engines (Nestoria). However, given that OpenStreetMap data is both free to use and impressively detailed, how come even more businesses aren’t using its data?

That’s the question Lokku, the London-based company behind Nestoria, asked itself when it switched from the Google Maps API to OpenStreetMap a couple of years back. The problem, Lokku found, was the data was complex to use. As co-founder Ed Freyfogle explained to me: