Apple iPhoto maps use OpenStreetMap and public domain data

Apple released iPhoto for iOS today and included a new map. The new map tiles carry no attribution.

The map tiles can be viewed here, site made by Dair Grant.

Based on various Twitter conversations and my own comparisons it seems like Apple is using OpenStreetMap data to render the map tiles outside the US. The map tiles for the US seem to be based on different, probably public domain data sets.

In the example below you see a forest with lots of small ways. I’ve mapped those ways myself, some are so small I’m not sure they are even official ways and a very unlikely to be found in other map data sets. Apple’s map and the OpenStreetMap map align perfectly. Other areas I’ve checked include semi-public parks mapped in very high detail which is typical for OpenStreetMap data but not to be found in other map data sets.

You can compare Apple’s map and the standard map using this site by Iván Sánchez Ortega.

It looks like the OpenStreetMap data used by Apple is as old as 2010, which means changes made to OpenStreetMap after that date are not included.

Update: Here’s a thread on OSM-talk (public OpenStreetMap mailing list) with more comparisons and confirmations. The data that Apple is using seems to be from April 2010. The Next Web also has updates to their story.

Update II: iPhoto 11 for OS X has been using Apple maps in the slideshow features since 2010, @holgr confirms. This could explain why Apple is using OSM data from 2010.


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