OsmAnd team has been working on open-source maps mobile application and getting support from our community for quite a while. The time has come to create a manifest that describes our place in the big IT world and explains why we prefer one solutions/products/technologies over the others. I hope it helps us clarify our main values and strengthen the long-term relationship with the community.Our main goal is to create universally helpful open-source offline travel tools and to encourage crowdsourcing initiatives worldwide.
Open-source for crowd-source
We strongly believe that open-source applications make the world better by not competing for the revenue, but competing for making the best product. The same applies to the crowd-sourced projects where data is open to everybody. Open-source and crowd-source are not the same: there are multiple projects that are truly open-source but have a lot of non-accessible data. Sometimes crowd-source projects can have more valuable data than the product itself.
When OsmAnd was launched, the app was based solely on OpenStreetMap. Later, we continued by adding Wikipedia support, Mapillary imagery, and Wikivoyage. This way, everybody can add changes and see them in the app in a month or even in an hour (through OsmAnd Live subscription).
This brings us to the most important idea behind OsmAnd: it doesn’t matter what happens, the project will still have a long life because data can be updated by everybody and the code can also be used by anyone, at least for non-commercial purposes.
Respect for privacy
In OsmAnd, we strongly respect the privacy of every individual seeing it as an integral part of human dignity. Below are some of our main principles of data protection.
- Geolocation data. We recognize the geolocation data as a very sensitive personal information; that’s why we neither store nor share it with any third parties.
- Digital footprint. Collection of certain data like the screen resolution, IP, etc., turned out to be a dangerous problem in the XXI century. Global services collecting such information could easily make a digital footprint and then start using it for tracking users and delivering personalized ads. We avoid using such services and transferring any data to the third parties altogether.
- Simple analytics. We aim at making the best application possible and want to be sure it runs smoothly in any conditions. So we might collect anonymous and geo-imprecise information only for internal purposes. Of course, we always provide a way to opt out.
- Ads. Again, in the spirit of protecting privacy, we don’t have any plans to show ads in OsmAnd. We strongly rely on the 'pay for app' model as a sustainable and reliable solution.
Communities have a great power and potential to evolve and make a difference for themselves. Our goal is to create tools that will help people update the information about the world around. In OsmAnd, you can add new data to the map almost instantly, then such data becomes available to others. The maps become more detailed, which improves OsmAnd, and, in return, we provide convenient access to this extremely detailed information, which can be used for driving, hiking, cycling, for sailing, traveling abroad, and in many other ways.
OsmAnd also supports mappers through the 'OsmAnd Live' initiative, where users purchase the subscription to frequent map updates and other tools, and those funds become rewards for the contributors.
We are supporters of 'do it yourself' spirit. Because when you support the project, you also do it for yourself and for the global community. When you translate, update, code, test or leave feedback – you fine-tune the instrument that people all over the world use every day. And they are doing the same in return.
Reliable maps available to anyone
We are convinced that OsmAnd has to be accessible to anyone. That is why the free version is globally available and has a full functionality. Everyone deserves to have access to reliable maps working without the internet and we intend to develop new possibilities in this area.
P.S. Please support us by funding, purchasing, contributing to OsmAnd or related crowd-source projects and we will keep supporting you by creating open-source apps, maintaining them, funding mappers, spreading openness in the world.
It’s a cycle of support in the Open World!
OsmAnd CEO – Victor Shcherb