How a Moldovan startup contributes to a more accurate map than the Google maps
Remember Anatolie? He is one of our residents that we mentioned in the first article, the guy who is very dedicated to his work and has a startup named Lightcyphers. One of their great investments is in the OpenStreetMap project so, stay with us to find out more about the map which is more detailed than the one offered by Google.
In an infinite Universe, in our small solar system, and on the tiny Planet Earth we are are calling our home, every day is happening an infinite number of events in a specific place that we are willing to know and discover. In the past 15–20 years, the evolution of technologies and of the Internet had accelerated the development of localization technologies.
An example of that is the evolution of GPS and Glonass, which transformed from military tech into technology accessible to the public. Big corporations such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, have their own localization services and maps, this way fulfilling the public’s needs which tends to use them on a daily basis.
When you’re driving around or discovering a new city, maps are a must for basic space orientation. Usually in bigger cities mapping is well done and very précised, but what happens in cities that don’t reach a similar level of development such as those in Moldova? Bigger cities are poorly mapped out and smaller villages seem to be inexistent on maps. This fact was one of the starting point of the OpenStreetMap project, based on the simple desire to create a complex system of orientation for locals and visitors all over the world.
OpenStreetMap is a world map that is free to use and completely editable. This map is built by volunteers all over the globe and is distributed on a free license. The map is easy to use and created with precision, that’s why many big corporations and commercial companies are using the data provided by OpenStreetMap.
Those who contributed the most to this project from Moldova are found in our co-working space, at IHUB Chisinau. They are a startup called Lyghtcyphers which is led by Anatolie Golovco, who has been voluntarily working at improving the OpenStreetMap in Moldova for over 10 years.
The OpenStreetMap project began in August 2004 when British programmer Steve Coast wanted to experiment with a USB GPS receiver he’d bought and his Linux-powered notebook. He used a piece of software called GPSDrive, which took maps from Microsoft MapPoint, breaking the license conditions. Not wanting to violate copyright on those maps, he looked around for an alternative. Coast found that there were no sources of mapping data available that he could incorporate into open source software without breaking the licensing conditions or paying huge amounts.
Coast realized that he could draw his own map, and so could others, and the project was born. After presenting his ideas at open source events in London, he found that others had similar ideas, but most hadn’t got their projects off the ground. Once they were persuaded to join in, OpenStreetMap was up and running.
On OpenStreetMap, you can find pretty much everything, from the Empire State Building to the small local shop you used to buy ice-cream from as a kid. And we’re not kidding, already checked that one out and it’s there, results that you won’t find even on Google Maps.
OpenStreetMap is often referred to as the Wikipedia of maps. That’s because everyone can edit or add new locations and the entire editing history is saved, which means that any mistake or act of vandalism can be corrected and the map is rolled back to the previous state, this way keeping the information précised.