As an alternative to Google Maps, there is Open Street Map [OSM].
More and more major organizations are choosing OSM for their maps. In February 2012, Foursquare switched to the OpenStreetMap powered Mapbox platform. In March 2013, Wikipedia started using OSM as well. Craigslist uses it for apartment searches and even Apple has used OSM data in its maps… Other popular platforms using OSM powered maps are Github, Pinterest, Roadtrippers and Strava, to name but a few.
I spent the past week looking for ways to implement OSM into RapidWeaver and then, just this morning, Instacks' OpenStreetMap stack flattered into my mailbox. I felt quite sure that there was once an OpenStreetMap stack, but it seems to have disappeared. But the Instacks' stack takes OSM to the next level…
OpenStreetMap arrives with links to 28 map-tile-servers [MTS], plus 'Custom/Mapbox' and Mapbox was just the service that I'd been assessing. You can add up to ten unique makers to a map and each marker may be linked to a URL, making store location a breeze.
What are 'map-tile-servers'? I hear you ask.
MTS are providers that offer overlay options for OSM. The overlays contain different options such as geological structure, place-names in different languages, points of interest, etc.
Two of the included MTS, Thunderforrest and Mapbox, require either an API, or an account. Both are absolutely painless and free of charge. The map below uses a tile overlay from Mapbox that, alongside street names and places of interest, also displays geographical date such as elevation lines.
Tile Server – 28 options plus Custom/Mapbox
Optional API Key
Zoom – default 15
Height – Lg . Desk, Desk, Tablet, Phone
Marker 1 [through 10]
[GPS] Position, Marker Text, Marker Link, Marker Colour (choice of 8 colours – custom image sadly missing)
Do you wish to gradually free yourself from the fangs of the ravenous giant mentioned above? Then OpenStreetMap is a good place to start! The default maps (German server) are great, but there are also many, many options to choose from for the map display.
I, for one, shall be switching to OpenStreetMap on my next site!
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