The level of stockholm syndrome among techies is fascinating:

"Google charges a few dollars for every 1,000 times the map is accessed by users. On the afternoon of the first day after the web site went live, Wu received a bill for $2,000. The next day, the total jumped to $26,000."


"Google also helped out by waiving Maps charges in the interest of fighting Covid-19."

If only there was some other, free, map. If only...

@rysiek How does waiving charges help fight a pandemic?

@jkb the developer that made a tool very useful in fight against the pandemic is now not having to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars of charges.

Or, you know, they could use OSM instead.

@rysiek As a bonus they would get much higher-quality maps.

@rysiek @jkb so if is cool to use OSM like Google maps (i.e. as a hosted solution)? At least until you get enough traffic to justify extra infrastructure in your part. I had no idea! Thanks.


Some UK Government departments use OSM these days (Ofcom certainly does when you licence a radio transmitter); it must be cheaper than internal funds transfers to Ordnance Survey (OS UK have also started sharing some data that OSM uses)

@vfrmedia the reason why OSM was created was that Ordnance Survey maps were stupid expensive.

@rysiek they've drastically reduced the prices of their GIS services in recent years and updated their website but its also surprisingly difficult to purchase a custom OS paper map centered on a local area (I ended up using OSM for this purpose and using our heavy duty Japanese printer at work to do this instead)

@rysiek @vfrmedia The original OS data was publicly funded, it really should have been made freely available to the public instead of making OS a self funding organisation. I hardly ever use OS mapping any more - OSM is usually more detailed and up to date.

@rochelimit @vfrmedia yup! Public money -> public data. That's how it should be.

@rysiek @vfrmedia I wish there was an alternative to Google live traffic data - OSMand~ is my goto mobile map, but it doesn't do live. I've set GMaps to incognito mode, but I don't trust it really.

@rochelimit @rysiek

I think the issue here is getting this data is dependent on Google's surveillance tech gathered from monitoring the movements of all Android users who don't switch it off (which a FOSS project might find it difficult to convince users to opt in to).

I use a standalone satnav in my car (TomTom) to avoid risks of old bill accusing me of mobile use behind the wheel, it does pick up traffic data (for which I use a separate mobile as an LTE modem) but thats not 100% up to date

@vfrmedia @rysiek I think governmental bodies in the UK still have to use Ordnance Survey maps for official uses (planning etc.)

@gid @rysiek

they have to use the OS grid reference locations, but can use OSM for public facing websites. Most internal GIS systems are filled with OS data as they are 20-30 years old and those organisations using them have already paid for OS licence.

An OS grid ref can be converted to work with OSM but the maths isn't trivial (the 'British grid flattens the earth, that has to be compensated for)

@rysiek you think this is stockholm syndrome and not plain old ignorance?

@wolf480pl @rysiek or just laziness from webdev.... ("We always do this way, what could go wrong?"...)

@wolf480pl @rysiek “Google ... helped out ...”

Saying someone “helped out” by not charging predatory prices sounds like Stockholm Syndrome to me.

@djmoch @wolf480pl That's the point. I was directly quoting the linked article.

@rysiek The world is too dominated by those big companies. :(

@rysiek the OSM situation on mobile is a mess though. Where are the good map problems that are like a drop in replacement for Apple Maps and Google Maps? The ones on the iOS App Store are barely functional and the inconsistent map rendering styles are off putting.

The data itself may be open but there is no coherent vision for OSM across platforms. This is the biggest problem with gaining mass adoption.

@feld that is in no small part related to the fact that Apple makes it really hard for FLOSS tools to be published in the AppStore.

As much as OpenStreeMap people are trying, it's also to some extent on the users of mobile devices to press upon Apple to stop being ornery about that.

Switching platforms is hard, I know, and the mobile ecosystem in general is a mess, but in some part by buying iOS devices one enables Apple's less-then-excellent behaviour.

@rysiek my options are data privacy and security with Apple but they're pricks about the App Store or getting fleeced and exploited by Google but their ecosystem is more open

Unfortunately I can't be Google "customer" in good conscience. Both options suck but one is less sucky

If you use GAFAM for sth that the market does not understand (read: progressive social change, solidarity, etc) and what you do has some impact, there is always a chance the response to be either paywall or ban.

Mapes i Navegació GPS OsmAnd+ (Visualització i navegació de mapes mòbils globals per a mapes OSM fora de línia) -

@rysiek A good read about #OpenStreetMap and #Google's greed*:

"But in 2018, Google changes its pricing model, and my bill jumped to more like $1,800 per month. As in, over $20,000 a year. Which is several times my main hosting fees (for all of my websites)."

* I'm describing their behaviour as greed because for $200 per month from a SINGLE user you can pay a good VPS and a lot of egress bandwidth and good profit.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!