2012: The Year of the Map

Remember how last week, we ran off a list of the top three location-based services we can’t get enough of? Well get ready because we have another list for you.

There are many things one can get giddy about when the year comes to an end: holiday gifts, potential kisses under the mistletoe (which leaves most of us coming up empty, but still), and finally, the best and worst lists of the year. So with that said, while we may not have a holiday gift for you, or any big fat smooches, what we do have is our top three biggest moments from “2012: The Year of the Map” (no Ryan Seacrest included, so yeah, maybe we lied about the gift).

Apple Maps

Whether you choose to describe it as a debacle, a fiasco or a complete catastrophe, the fact still remains that Apple Maps, was simply a disaster. Possessing everything a young geo-maniac could want in a mapping fail including melting streets reminiscent of Salvador Dali paintings to fired Apple execs (not to mention the sickest thing of all…mislabeled Burger King’s) Apple Map’s, while maybe not quite as blasphemous as Coca-Cola’s introduction of New Coke in the mid-1980’s (even though being labeled as “potentially life threatening” by Australian police doesn’t help), it  was “clearly rushed ”, as our co-founder Marcus Thielking said in Venturebeat in November.

Nokia Here

More of a flawed service in need of polish, than a complete nuclear bomb like Apple Maps, Nokia Here also left a major mark (or smudge) on maps in 2012. Yet, while we must admit it had some cool features (including pretty fluid interactive movement and logical icons that are placed and generally work properly), its bland graphics, subpar location data and lack of innovation cast Here as a flop that fails to make the big splash it hoped for. Furthermore, much like Apple Maps, Here is a perfect example of what can happen when a company rushes a mapping service, and does not take into account how difficult it can be to assemble a quality resource.

OpenStreetMap

One of the big stories that emerged from the 2012 maps and navigation scene was OpenStreetMap. We all know the perks of OpenStreetMap, however, while we feel that this free, editable crowdsourced map of the world is amazing in itself, one of the biggest stories is its exponential growth. 2012, was a great year for OpenStreetMap in that it eclipsed 12 million edits and is quickly approaching the 1 million user threshold. Meaning, that not only are the OpenStreetMap and its related products incredibly popular, but that OpenStreetMap, the living map of the world, is thriving.

So in the end, while 2012 was home to both the trivial and serious, we will always remember it as “The Year of the Map” (even if no major Indiana Jones-esqe discoveries were made).