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App Review: WebOSM

We all know that choice is good. Choice gives us freedom. We celebrate our ability to make the choices we want, such as Pepsi or Coke. Mac or PC. If you've ever felt the need for choice in your Touchpad mapping options then WebOSM by Maël Lavault may be the app you've been waiting for. WebOSM utilizes the OpenStreetMap database, offering the user a choice between it and the built-ine Maps application that uses Microsoft's Bing maps. Lavault goes a step beyond that, offering up webOSM through the for free or for what amounts to a $0.99 donation.

OpenStreetMap is the community-built free and open source road maps database that powers WebOSM. Anybody can make edits to OpenStreetMap, in essence it's like the Wikipedia of road maps. Using OpenStreetMap comes with some advantages and disadvantages. OpenStreetMap tends to be more detailed on the micro level than Bing or Google, often having extended paths and driveways for apartment complexes and university campuses, and has denoted many more local landmarks such as churches and schools. It also sometimes lacks some political boundaries and topographic data, as well as detailed aerial imagery (or roadmaps overlain on the available satellite imagery). Thanks to the crowd-sourced details in OpenStreetMap, urban areas are often highly detailed, while rural stretches might be as lacking in side roads and goat paths as they are people in real life.

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