Cédric asked me to spend more thoughts about the issues he mentioned. I'll try to give some answers coming from my experiences with the OpenStreetMap scene and running several web applications based on OpenStreetMap data and services:
These are the items from the [blog
] on "Why OpenStreetMap fails to replace official or proprietary base maps in a sustainable way":
1. Because it’s not possible to make a map for all zoom levels
=> Why not? To me level 18 (20m) from OSM seems much clearer than the similar scale (zoom 12) at [map.geo.admin.ch/
2. Because the finances are not secured on long term
=> No; but are they elsewhere? As far as I know it seems that the near and midterm future of OSM is rather well established.
3. Because the data model is not defined
=> This is a well debated issue. It's Key-Value-based and this has quite some advandages.
4. Because the precision is heterogeneous
=> From what I know, precision (around 1m to 5m) is good enough for most purposes unless you need official map information like in civil engineering.
5. Because the reliability is heterogeneous
=> What reliability?
6. Because the completeness is heterogeneous
=> Well: So you agree that completeness is sometimes better than Google and Official Base Maps?
=> OSM contains many map features which don't exist in official maps (nor in Google).
=> And OSM will typically be much more up-to-date than official maps and data. OSM is updated daily whereas Official maps have a delay of months.
=> Anyway: Why not free Official Base Maps, cooperate and integrate OSM?
7. Because it requires attribution
=> I wish, OpenStreetMap would be Public Domain but I can live (and work and deliver cool apps) with the new license model (ODbL).
8. Because the data are difficult to extract
=> Why this? You can get it in several ways beginning with XML extracts right from the map view up to whole planet!
9. Because no one takes the responsibility about the data
=> Agreed: Taking responsibility is one of the main raisons-d'être of official maps, of OEREB cadastre and of patented surveyors. (Sidenote: you know well, that they don't really do if you read the small print in contracts - And neither does Google!)
10. Because it lacks a QA step by an accountable body
=> That's an imporant issue. It's true that there's no accountable body. But there are processes and tools which establish a quite working Quality Assurance (see [OSM Wiki
]). This was reported in several recent scientific publications.
11. Because it is not multilingual
=> What do you mean? To me it's multilingual in data the and user interface.
12. Because first acquisition is fun and data update is boring
=> Yeah; can't deny this from my observation. But does not apply for all mappers - and there are around 500'000 Mappers around the world (~5'000 in Switzerland)...
13. Because Google Map Maker Workflow is for the broad public and OpenStreetMap workflow for the map enthusiasts
=> Can't comment on Google Map Maker: Does anybody use this, while taking responsibility for the data and giving all rights to Google?