Microsoft in order to fight against Google over its mapping service, Google Maps, the software giant is backing up lending big support and money to develop an open source map project OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap is run much like Wikipedia, in which volunteers provide mapping information to build a free, open mapping service. People, sites, and companies can then use that mapping information. The service is overseen by the non-profit OpenStreetMap Foundation. The foundation says that a half a million volunteers have already provided data to OpenStreetMap.
Microsoft hired OpenStreetMap founder Steve Coast to work for Bing as Principal Architect for Bing Mobile. Coast works on both Bing and OpenStreetMap. In a blog post announcing Coast’s hiring back in November 2010, Microsoft said Coast will “develop better mapping experiences for our customers and partners, and lead efforts to engage with OpenStreetMap and other open source and open data projects.” The Times reports that Coast is working on developing open-source software that will make it simpler for developers to get data from and use OpenStreetMap.