Normally I write about products that are already launched to consumers. But tonight in London a start-up called CloudMade is launching set of developer tools and APIs that believe will be the future of mapping on the web and mobile phones. I have been working with CloudMade helping them scale the product side of the company and this is one of the most exiting start-ups I have ever worked with.
CloudMade's web services are going to change the software developers for web and mobile use maps and geo data in their websites and applications and the result will change the way computer and mobile phone users experience location and maps in the applications they use.
The first thing that makes it exciting is the use of crowd-sourced map data. One of the founders of CloudMade founded a voluntary organization called OpenStreetMap that has grown to 90.000 members building a map of the world. While it will be another 1-2 years before the map will reach the full coverage of the traditional map providers, the map is quickly getting a lot richer in the many areas of that are already mapped – check the map of Berlin and you see a map that is a lot better and richer than any other map.
With CloudMade’s developer launch things gets even more exiting because now that data in OpenStreetMap is available as a reliable web-service for developers or enterprises to use. The tools and APIs allow developers to go much further with how they use maps and geo data in their applications including how the maps look, how easy it is to implement maps across web and mobile platforms, the ability to access the underlying vector data for more accurate presentation to the users and the ability for the users to bookmark places and place images on the map across web and mobile devices – and across different applications.
Before launch CloudMade had more than 20 independent developers using the new tools and APIs and already some of these developers are demonstrating how the combination of OpenStreetMap and CloudMade is changing the user experience for maps and geo data.
I think we will see a lot of exciting new applications and better user experiences built based on CloudMade’s new tools and APIs.