Bing Maps has added “OpenStreetMap” as the newest layer available to its online mapping service. It’s also available as a standalone Bing Map App from the Bing Maps gallery. OpenStreetMap (OSM), for those of you unfamiliar, is a project to create an open-source, freely editable map of the world…sort of like the Wikipedia of mapping.
The data in OSM comes from people who record it using GPS devices as well as from free satellite imagery. Once online, it can then be edited by anyone who may know more about a particular area or spots an error. At present, there are around 250,000 users contributing to the project.
By adding OSM as a layer in Bing Maps, you can now easily access this rich data from a familiar source: Bing. The data hasn’t been modified in any way, except to fit into the “tile schema” of Bing Maps, explains Chris Pendleton via blog post. Also of note, the data is being hosted on Windows Azure CDN, which is designed to support globally distributed apps such as this.