Still in last year, Cédric Moullet, amongst others MapFish and GeoExt contributor, sparked a discussion by his post “Why OpenStreetMap fails to replace official or proprietary base maps in a sustainable way ?” (note how this doesn’t sound like a question but bears a question mark ;)
For simplicity, I will re-list Cédric’s 13 points here:
1. Because it’s not possible to make a map for all zoom levels
2. Because the finances are not secured on long term
3. Because the data model is not defined
4. Because the precision is heterogeneous
5. Because the reliability is heterogeneous
6. Because the completeness is heterogeneous
7. Because it requires attribution
8. Because the data are difficult to extract
9. Because noone takes the responsibility about the data
10. Because it lacks a QA step by an accountable body
11. Because it is not multilingual
12. Because first acquisition is fun and data update is boring
13. Because Google Map Maker Workflow is for the broad public and OpenStreetMap workflow for the map enthusiasts
Numerous reactions (not further detailed) motivated Cédric to post some clarifications.
Enters Stefan Keller. He is a professor at the Hochschule für Technik in Rapperswil (Switzerland) and (I think) could be described as an open source and OSM enthusiast and evangelist. In agreement with Cédric Moullet, Stefan Keller started a thread on the Swiss GIS/geospatial industry forum geowebforum. In his post he objects to various of Cédric’s points. Marc Wick (founder of Geonames) also weighs in on the debate with some interesting points and finally, Stephan Heuel and I, also contribute our view of the topic (spoiler: we agree with most of Cédric’s points).
Of course, I’m biased, but I think the thread which developed is definitely worth reading. If you feel like it, please do also contribute (everybody can on geowebforum) with your insights!