If Apple’s Map Tiles Use OpenStreetMap, Where is the Attribution?

While I was focused on Apple using TIGER in Phoenix, others noticed that Apple was using OpenStreetMap data. But as Martin Daly points out, where is the attribution?


OpenStreetMap needs attribution if used. I looked yesterday to see if there was any credit to the map and didn’t find anything. Nobody has added the Apple maps to the “Lacking Attribution” page on the OSM wiki yet.

So what will happen? If this was Esri or some other large company “stealing” data, the OSM community might be up in arms over the lack of credit. But since it is Apple, will they let it slide?


Is it inconceivable that Apple might not attribute?

UPDATE 1: Alistair Aitchison dives much deeper into the issue. He has a great observation though:

It seems that whoever rendered these tiles lacks any real understanding of how OSM data is structured.

That is clear, this is a hack job at using OSM and TIGER.

UPDATE 2: OSM Foundation welcomes Apple in a blog post. The whole thing is very passive aggressive. Guys, if you feel Apple is doing you wrong, just say so. It isn’t like they are going to donate new iPads to every Foundation member.

Apple’s Map Data is Missing Large Features

Taking a deeper look at Apple’s map tiles reveals much about their source. Here in Tempe, large sections of freeways built in the late 90s are missing.

Take a look at Loop 101 which has been around for over a decade. On Apple’s new maps it is missing:

Apple Tempe Map

Clearly Google has the road:

Google Tempe Map

I’m guessing that Apple used older free map data in many places, this might be something like TIGER 1990 I suppose. It isn’t just this freeway, most of the Phoenix area is missing large sections of development. For showing the location of photos these map errors aren’t an issue at all, but if we are ever going to navigate, Apple has a ton of work cut out for them.

I’ve you’d like to browse the Apple Map tiles yourself, give this website a try:


and here’s an even better resource. Compare OSM and Apple at the same time!


In looking at the data closer, at least here in the Phoenix area, I’m sure this is TIGER data. Compare the Apple tiles with OSM.

Open Street Map Data


Apple Map Data


Apple Shows New Map Tiles in iPhoto for iOS

So you may have heard, Apple released something today. Well in addition to hardware, Apple released iPhoto for iOS. Looking around at it you can see Apple has included maps. But whose maps are they? Take a look…

Apple Maps 1

The new map tiles from Apple. This is the deepest zoom.

Apple Maps 2

Eastern seaboard of the USA in the new Apple map style

I’ve looked around the app and I don’t see any credits page where Apple lets us know where the maps came from. As with everything, I’m sure we’ll learn the details soon.

Looks like Apple has a nice tile API:


Esri Merges Most of Their Blogs — Time to Re-Subscribe to Their Feeds

Yesterday I noticed that there were new blog posts in my Esri feeds from groups that I hadn’t subscribed to before.


What happened was that Esri combined all their “ArcGIS for” blogs into one massive “ArcGIS Blog”.

For the past few years the various ArcGIS product development teams have hosted a few dozen separate blogs covering the width of the ArcGIS system. Now we have pulled those together into a single ArcGIS Blog so that you can more easily browse, subscribe to, learn from, and stay up-to-speed on the latest information from all our engineers and developers. In addition, the single blog reflects ArcGIS as a system and allows us to better tell big picture implementation stories that we couldn’t in the fragmented system.

So now you’ll have to unsubscribe from your existing Esri feeds as many of them will stop working or give you topics you didn’t mean to subscribe to and do this:

While redirects are in place, we suggest that you update your feeds at your earliest convenience. This will eliminate the duplication of posts that you may be seeing in your RSS Readers if you subscribed to more than one of the team blogs. You can subscribe to the entire blog feed (http://blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/feed/) or you can subscribe only to those categories or tags that are of interest to you, http://blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/category/arcgis-online/feed/ or http://blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/tag/flex/feed/ for example.

I haven’t decided what to do with Esri and Planet Geospatial yet. I may just wait and see how verbose the ArcGIS Blog is before adding it back into Planet Geospatial.

Map Cafe

Enjoy a little MapCafe with your Esri Blog Feeds

Bing Maps for Metro Style Apps

I’ve not had time (nor the will) to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview yet, but those who have say the metro style works very well. Since the public at large finally has access to the Metro UI, it makes sense for Microsoft to release an SDK for Bing Maps.

Bing Maps Metro

Licensing has been changed to take advantage of Windows 8 Preview:

Along with the new controls, today we’re also announcing a new licensing model for the pre-release versions of Windows 8, providing you much more flexibility in developing and testing your Metro style apps on the Consumer Preview. The new Terms of Use for Pre-Release Windows 8 Metro style apps allows free and unlimited use of Bing Maps controls and APIs within your Metro style apps for the duration of the Windows 8 pre-release period. Additionally, you are encouraged to submit your apps to the Windows Store for others to use during the preview.

That should make developing much easier so you can jump right in. I suspect Esri will jump in on this Metro stuff quickly as well.