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Mapping project finds new open source home

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Mapzen, the open source mapping platform that serves as the backbone to such mapping services as OpenStreetMap, Remix and Carto, has joined the Urban Computing Foundation (UCF).


According to Travis Gorkin, Uber data virtualisation lead and Technical Advisory Committee contributor at the UCF, Mapzen encompasses six independent projects and communities involved in developing a truly open platform for mapping, search, navigation and transit data.

Together, these projects give developers the tools they need to build vibrant maps equipped with real-time services.

Mapzen was originally created in 2013 by map industry veterans in combination with architects, urban planners, film makers, video game developers, artists and more. Its popularity grew and it was soon used by over 70 000 developers. But Mapzen failed as a business and it was taken up as a Linux Foundation project in 2018.

The UCF was established in 2018 within the Linux Foundation as a netural forum for accelerating open source development aimed at improving mobility, safety, road infrastructure, traffic congestion and energy consumption in connected cities.

As a focused forum within the Linux Foundation, UCF will provide Mapzen with access to considerably more resources, including support from fellow members like Facebook, Google, Uber, Carto, IBM, Interline, HERE Technologies, UC San Diego and StreetCred Labs.

In challenging times for cities everywhere, we believe that making location software and data open and accessible is important work that can help in large and small ways.

Randy Meech, StreetCred Labs

“Mapzen is excited to join the Urban Computing Foundation to continue our work on open-source mapping tools alongside other great companies and developers,” said Randy Meech, former Mapzen CEO and now CEO at StreetCred Labs. “In challenging times for cities everywhere, we believe that making location software and data open and accessible is important work that can help in large and small ways.”

Mapzen and its projects that are now hosted and governed by UCF, and which are all licensed under the MIT licence include:

  • Pelias – a distributed full-text geographic search engine;
  • Tangram – libraries for rendering 2D and 3D maps;
  • Tilezen – libraries to generate vector tiles for global map display;
  • Transitland – a community edited data service that aggregates transit networks across metropolitan and rural areas around the world;
  • Valhalla – a global, multi-modal routing engine for turn-by-turn navigation services; and
  • Who’s on First – a gazetteer or big list of places, each with a stable identifier and descriptive properties. 


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