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OpenStreetMap is exactly what its name implies—a wiki of maps and location data to which anyone can contribute , just like Wikipedia. With the help of some deep-pocketed boosters, including MapQuest and Microsoft, it’s suddenly a legitimate challenger to the hegemony of Maps.Google.Com. Google announced two months ago that it was going to start charging the heaviest users of its Maps API, which countless sites use to geo-locate their data. Then its sales team fanned out to contact those websites, which Google publicly estimated would represent only 0.35 percent of the users of its Maps API. In what seems to have been a surprise to everyone, the prices that Google asked of its heaviest Maps users apparently dwarf the revenue of at least some of those sites , which is leading to a very public move away from Google and to OpenStreetMap.
Why use OSM
OSM with Desktop GIS
Sponsors <-- Free GIS Software Programs <-- Free ArcGIS Map Shapfile Layers <-- Open GIS Public Domain ArcGIS Shapefiles CloudMade helps you make the most of geographic map data. Data is extracted from OpenStreetMap.org, the community mapping project which is making a free map of the world.