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Time to reset the value of Geodata.

I’m a happy user of a new app for the iPhone called RouteBuddy Atlas, a maps application for the iPhone which provides legal access to OS mapping (and note is obviously not to be confused with the native iPhone maps application, whose functionality it in no way replicates 🙂 )

I have long been a fan of the people behind Routebuddy which was about the only way to view Maps on a Ma while connected to a GPS, via a really nice “mac like” application. These guys are real Macheads !

It’s hard therefore to look at the iPhone application and not feel sorry for the Routebuddy development team  , because they really have had to work hard to deliver an useful application despite some big limitations imposed by others.

DRM ScreenSo here is the problem, once a user has downloaded the application how do you let then load mapping content for offline use?

Unlike applications built using OpenStreetMap  (which is supported btw as streamed mapping) the application cannot simply stream data and cache, as each map sheet must be transferred individually because that the way it is licensed.

So Routebuddy have come up with a crazy solution of building a webdav server into the app, which you can connect to from you main computer and transfer the file across via wifi. I’m not sure how many of the usual Millets crowd will cope with “establish a webdav connection to http://192.168.144.174:8080”

So I purchased by local 1:25,00 Explorer Map London South which looks fantastic on the iPhone screen, really good, no I mean it – looks amazing, But I had to pay £19.99 for a license to use it.  Compare that with the £7.99 I would pay for the paper version which I would own outright !

Fantastic MapAnd I would not have to go through the nightmare of the DRM screen where I need to enter my name and my allocated license key, imagine entering that without copy and paste !

Of course the big problem is the cost..

Quite how anyone can justify charging more for the digital version of a printed product is beyond me. And for any lottery winners out there, I’ve done the maths for you national coverage would cost just over £8000 !

Now I’m not sure how much the Routebuddy guys have to pay in terms of royalty to the OS and of course there is their profit margin but this is just way too expensive, and I don’t remember a time where download albums on iTunes where nearly three times as expensive as the equivalent CD’s

Also why should I have to download the whole map, I’d be happy to pay 99p for a few square km’s on Wimbledon common, or along the Thames walk.. much of this map I many never use..

The parallels between digital mapping online and the music industry have long been drawn by myself (5 years ago !!) amongst others , no more clear example has yet emerged of mapping providers following the same suicidal route taken by the music industry.

Written and submitted from Mother Mash, City of London using The Cloud wifi network

16 replies on “Time to reset the value of Geodata.”

TG is right. Serious competition to the OS (i.e. products of the same quality, currency, coverage, etc) with cheaper prices and/or more favourable licensing terms will draw customers and force the OS to compete back.

I can pick up the full OS Landranger 1:50k set for a little under 150 quid, to run on my Nokia smartphone with Viewranger. That’s the equivalent of 203 paper maps retailing at £6.99 each. Makes my decision not to buy an iPhone all the sweeter 🙂

Graham Dunlop says:
“I can pick up the full OS Landranger 1:50k set for a little under 150 quid, to run on my Nokia smartphone with Viewranger. That’s the equivalent of 203 paper maps retailing at £6.99 each. Makes my decision not to buy an iPhone all the sweeter ”

Bit of a moot point; We haven’t released the 1:50K set yet and Viewranger is not on the iPhone.

But we have just released Ordnance Survey National Parks for the iPhone, from £19.99. (Viewranger National Park titles for Nokia are from an expensive £60.00 though.) Buy a few and the saving will pay for your iPhone!

So how are we doing on consumer pricing Ed? 😉

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