They may not yet be able to find most streets in Delhi, but a start is a start. AOL owned MapQuest, once one of the largest players in the maps space in the US, has launched its India site at http://open.mapquest.in/. This is MapQuest’s first foray into Asia, and its first Open Street Map based site launched outside of Europe. The other MapQuest OSM sites are in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
The site has a single-box search functionality and driving directions with draggable routes. For data, MapQuest OSM India will leverage Open Street Map data, effectively crowdsourcing data from users, allowing them to improve upon their local areas by editing streets in their neighborhood. What I quite like about the interface is that if you’ve selected hotels as a category that you’re searching for, as you scroll through the map, only the hotels in that screen are listed in the sidebar, and it keeps changing as you scroll.
Mapquest had launched OSM sites in July, and in conjunction with that launch, AOL had announced a $1 million open-source mapping investment fund, focused on local communities that Patch.com covers, with the idea of integrating maps with the community specific news and information that Patch has. A long way to go before that: several mapping companies in India already have a head start, including Google, MapMyIndia, NAVTEQ and SatNav. Crowdsourcing data is not new to India: Google has its MapMaker, and even Bhuvan, the Google Earth like service from the India’s space organization ISRO, allows mapping data to be added. I quite like the MapQuest interface, but what will make a user accustomed to adding information to other mapping services choose the relatively unknown MapQuest?
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