Microsoft partners with Amazon, Meta and The Linux Foundation on Google Maps competitor

Kareem Anderson

Google maps on a phone in hand

Google and Apple maps may have a new competitor in the mobile mapping app sector as Microsoft, Meta, Amazon Web Services, and TomTom form a coalition to enter the market with an alternative.

According to TechCrunch, AWS, Meta, Microsoft and TomTom are partnering with The Linux Foundation to form the Overture Maps foundation which seeks to create new apps based open-source mapping solutions that leverages accessible data from city planning departments and existing open-source projects such as OpenStreetMap.

Despite Google’s rather uncanny and reliable ability to map most of the world as a single business entity, The Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin believes such a task should be collaborative.

Mapping the physical environment and every community in the world, even as they grow and change, is a massively complex challenge that no one organization can manage. Industry needs to come together to do this for the benefit of all.

Underlying its participation in the collaborative project is Meta’s engineering director of Maps, Jan Erik Solem who highlights the potential of using the new mapping solution to help power location data in the metaverse as well.

Immersive experiences, which understand and blend into your physical environment, are critical to the embodied internet of the future. By delivering interoperable open map data, Overture provides the foundation for an open metaverse built by creators, developers, and businesses alike.

Functional applications of the new open-sourced effort go beyond consumer interactions and could result in greater developer engagement in the sector as it could reduce the development time in creating new apps that leverage the data by simplifying the dataset collection and implementation process.

Although there are currently only four heavy-hitters in the tech industry signing on to the new project, The Linux Foundation would like to see more worldwide participation to help produce more accurate data in the future. Ideally Overture project would like to power products in other sectors such as IoT, fitness, vehicle automation, logistics, mixed reality, security, and more.

Similar to Apple’s debut of its burgeoning Maps alternative, Overture Maps plans to dop a limited functioning data set for developers in the first half next year with other timely releases to follow that will eventually add the polish users have come to appreciate with 3D building data, rotating navigation and multi-stop directions.