I can understand where SteveC is coming from, but I think it’s important to clarify a few points.
Map Maker is clearly not an open source project, and as such is not in competition with openstreetmap and does not I believe represent a forking opportunity for the creation of open geodata. If you wish to help build an open geodata based global map then openstreetmap is the project for you.
What Map Maker represents is the public exposure of the tool Google has been using internally for a while to “fill in the gaps” of our global mapping coverage, specifically mapping areas not currently covered by the commercial map data providers. We are now asking the users of Google Maps to help us by providing mapping data using the same tool. The data submitted is licensed by contributors to Google to eventually become part of Google Maps/Earth following moderation by Google.
This is a key difference in approach to openstreetmap, most end users of Google Maps/Earth etc. and most developers using their api’s don’t want or need access to the raw data, for them such information is most usefully made available as pre-rendered tiles.
Although not currently an open source project, it does produce data that is free to users, the information contributed by the community becomes freely available to them via Google Maps and the Maps and Earth API’s
At the moment, I believe this is the best way to rapidly expand the availability of mapping and to provide access to detailed online maps to communities which up until now have just not had access to something most of use take for granted.
Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.