The rich data built up over time through mobile mapping technology and platforms will allow an explosion of mobile apps in the coming years—but Google warns that government agencies must allow greater access to more of their data for the mobile industry to take full advantage.
Technology has democratized map making, but you still need raw data to make it useful and contextually relevant and the official bodies that hold it are not always keen to share. For example, the National Rail Enquiries iPhone app which offers localized UK train times using GPS technology, costs an eye-watering £4.99 ($8.21) and has issued take-down notices to rival, unlicensed apps. That’s a really expensive iPhone app because developers have to pay National Rail for access to the times.
In response, the Ordnance Survey in the UK has said that strong criticsm from the industry has led the agency to launch its OS OpenSpace API, which is free to access and lets developers create amazing web applications and online projects with Ordnance Survey maps.