Microsoft is integrating its Bing Streetside imagery in OpenStreetMap’s iD editor. The popular tool lets users add to a collaboratively sourced editable world map, filling in information gaps across the globe.
“Microsoft has a long history of working with the community to help improve OpenStreetMap.This includes being the first company to provide aerial imagery to the community for editing and, more recently, our release of almost ten million building footprints,” said a Bing spokesperson. “We continue to have an interest in fostering a thriving and growing community of both contributors and users of OpenStreetMap.”
For the unfamiliar, Streetside is Microsoft’s version of Google Streetview. It lets users view roads and locations from the ground, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. According to Bing, its imagery covers 80% of the US population with 360-degree views.
To put that into perspective, the imagery covers around 1.6 million kilometers and takes 5 petabytes of storage space. A petabyte is 1000 terabytes or 1,000,000 gigabytes.
Driving New Contributions
Like Google, Microsoft got this data by painstakingly driving through the US and taking 360-degree images. For OpenStreetMap contributors, it should mean easier ways to identify landmarks and locations.
More importantly, it will make it far easier for contributors to verify the information of others. If somebody marks a building that isn’t there, it will be simple to go into Streetside view and check.
“This is the same imagery currently visible on Bing Maps now embedded into a popular editing application initially developed and now maintained by Mapbox,” explains Microsoft. “Our aim is that it continues to encourage the community to contribute and improve OpenStreetMap.”
You can try OpenStreetMap for yourself here.