There has been established a rather sad tradition in the ITC world of small companies using their creativity to open up new opportunities for established media organisation only for the benefiting body to turn around at some point and stamp on the innovators.
The Ordnance Survey is an organisation that has taken a lot of stick over recent years. As a government agency it has been required to become more commercial in its nature while remaining both a state agency and an effective monopoly. The Guardian’s open data campaign highlighted the peculiar position of the OS in effectively restricting access to national data. Meanwhile, the OS’s attitude to those who are developing computer mapping solutions has always struck me as being odd, if not simply unhelpful.
This morning a message from the OS dropped into my inbox announcing the launch of the new IOS App for iPhone and iPad. The new app allows you to use OS maps on IOS platforms and to buy them for download purposes. You can download individual maps or download individual map tiles. Also, the new app allows you to record routes as you move and also allows you to plot routes on your phone or tablet. No doubt an Android version of this app is in development.
Even those of you who don’t use IOS will recognise a lot of this feature set which is suspiciously like that offered by one of our major mapping companies. If I was running sic a company — or if I was one of their financial backers and investors — I would be seriously pissed off!
No doubt the effected third parties will argue that their product is more advanced but web-based mapping services are really pretty limited. I guess that many punters will simply go the OS website imagining that the official version is always the best.
Still, you can’t stand in the way of progress …