I’d like to help and spread the word about a project I actually came across quite a while ago but which I’ve rediscovered recently: OpenStreetMap (German version here). In short, this project is a community effort to create a copyright-free world map.
The look and feel is basically the same as with Google Maps (without the satellite coverage of course) but the big difference is, that OpenStreetMap maps are completely free. Not like Google’s maps which are “free” as in “you can do this and that with our maps BUT YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO …………………. <LONG TEXT FOLLOWING> …………”.
Of course they don’t have all the features of the big players like Google or Microsoft; there’s no Street View, no Bird’s Eye View and sadly but understandably no satellite coverage but the maps (and the data behind them) are completely free and you can use them for practically anything. You can even download the world database which the maps are based on onto your computer and use it for whatever you like. Besides, in some of the more crowded areas, OpenStreetMap maps are even more accurate then Google’s version, as you can see in the following picture. Continue Reading