OpenStreetMap has seen some press lately thanks to the inclusion of its maps in iPhoto for iOS. Google has also pioneered free turn-by-turn navigation software on smartphones, a functional that was once dominated by expensive TomTom and Garmin units. Now TomTom has taken to its website to highlight the dangers of open source maps, and the community behind OpenStreetMap is crying foul.
TomTom details how open source map alternatives aren’t quite as reliable as paid offerings, saying that they have “a third less residential road coverage and 16% less basic map attributes such as street names.” Not only that, but maps are vulnerable to attack, with TomTom citing the case where Google contractors were found to tamper with OpenStreetMap data. The company goes on to say that such errors in maps are potentially dangerous for drivers, especially when it comes to one-way streets.
The community, meanwhile, isn’t swayed by any of the arguments. One user has taken to a blog to scrutinize TomTom’s claims, saying that the company’s citation of “100,000 individual attacks” is “plain wrong”, detailing that only a couple of dozen of hits were considered to be malicious, promptly fixed by the OpenStreetMap community.
In regards to map coverage, it’s true that OpenStreetMap doesn’t quite have the far reaching coverage expected from a professional service, but the writer notes that the mapping project is growing every day and that TomTom has stretched the truth somewhat to support its claims. Head on over to both websites if you want to read both sides of the argument.