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OpenStreetMap adds directions to its site

OpenStreetMap, a free and open-source alternative to Google Maps, and has launched a new service today focused on giving directions from A-to-B on its homepage.

OpenStreetMap, a free and open-source alternative to Google Maps, and has launched a new service today focused on giving directions from A-to-B on its homepage.

Lots of third-party apps and services have powered their directions using OpenStreetMap data for some time but now the main site supports them too. You can get directions for travel by bicycle, car or on foot. OpenStreetMap is hoping more people will visit the site to take advantage of the feature and offer up edits and improvements to its maps while they’re there.

What makes it huge is the difference it will make to OpenStreetMap’ data by creating a virtuous feedback loop. One of the main reasons that a slippy map is shown on the OpenStreetMap homepage according to a blog post, is because people can look at it, see a bridge that needs naming or a building to add,¬†click Edit and fix it straight away. That feedback loop is what allowed OpenStreetMap to build up what is now the most complete map of many regions around the world. Now that people can see a recommended route directly on the OSM homepage, they have an incentive to quickly pop in and fix it.