As promised, MAPS.ME goes open source. Why are we doing this?
First of all, the open-source app will enable other mobile developers to embed maps in their mobile products for free, with almost no restrictions.
Second, now you can not only contribute to the OpenStreetMap data, but also contribute to the MAPS.ME app itself.
But the most important thing is that mappers and humanitarian activists will use it to improve OpenStreetMap and facilitate relief efforts in the rural areas of disasters and political crises where other digital maps do not provide data, and reliable internet connection is not available.
Fast-updating maps are crucial in areas of humanitarian aid, especially in rural areas and lesser mapped countries. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is constantly working to encourage people to update OSM in these areas. Efforts like Missing Maps’ events prepare maps for printing and uploading to GPS devices by using volunteers in the field. The open-sourced MAPS.ME application now is included into these volunteer’s toolset, and HOT members can not only install the app for doctors and aid workers, reducing the need to teach them how to use it, but also provide people with the most updated maps. Open source means users can tailor the app to their needs, for example, adjusting the map style so important elements like fresh water taps and refugee camps are immediately visible.
“MAPS.ME's decision means that people around the world will now have access to a professionally developed, cross-platform code base that they can freely work with, and that can be customized and remixed into tools of all sorts.” said Blake Girardot, Volunteer Mapper and Member of the Board of Directors, HOT. “The ability to tailor an application means that we can make sure we are presenting or collecting our data in the most efficient way possible for the communities we serve. We will benefit directly from MAPS.ME's decision to open source their applications, and have already started planning for how we can provide our humanitarian focused geographic data and maps for use in the MAPS.ME application.”
MAPS.ME’s code will also be available under the Apache 2.0 license, which means free usage for users, even when being used for commercial purposes. You can participate in the development of MAPS.ME or get familiar with its source code here: https://github.com/mapsme/omim