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Who Owns the Digital Map of the World?

As OpenStreetMap grows, companies like Mapbox are a threat to the long reign of Google Maps. And that’s a good thing.
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Flickr/Alexander Kachkaev

Maps may be a necessity of an empire, as Paul Ford writes on the rise of Google Maps in The New Republic this week, but whether that empire belongs wholly to Google is up for debate. Right now, the entire digital mapping industry is being re-mapped.

Last week, Mapbox, a map development company based in Washington, D.C., announced that it has raised some $52.55 million in Series B funding, a sum CEO Eric Gunderson called the biggest ever for a mapping company.