OpenStreetMap provider CloudMade shuts its doors on small users

(Original email at bottom.)

CloudMade, a company selling mapping services (many based on OpenStreetMap data) that competed head-to-head with Google, let its users know that as of May 1st, they’ll stop serving anyone who’s not on an enterprise plan. This is rather sad, because they were one of the main alternatives for custom OpenStreetMap tiles.

Their map tiles definitely left something to be desired. The OSM data that they were using seems to have been last refreshed around the time Steve Coast left (maybe that’s a wee bit of an exaggeration) and the rendering was never very polished—ugly icons and labels getting cut off on tile boundaries. But for $25/1M tiles (with the first 500k free), could you really complain?

CloudMade even listed Steve Coast, founder of OpenStreetMap, as a co-founder. Steve Coast left in 2010, and it was hard to tell what the company was trying to become. Now, we see that they’re gunning for enterprise services, along the lines of Navteq and TomTom. Instead of dealing with small fries like us, they’re apparently focusing on bigger deals like providing data for hardware and consumer electronics.

Maybe they just got tired of my emails to support asking why this or that was broken or when they’d update their data. Now, we’re left with almost no options for custom hosted OSM tiles. MapBox is one popular choice, but their online map customizer is elementary compared to CloudMade’s (and CloudMade’s was not super advanced). MapBox also have stricter terms of how their map tiles can be used. No proxying/caching of MapBox tiles is allowed, for example, especially since they charge based on usage.

CloudMade helpfully gave some alternative providers for us small fries to switch to. Still, one less provider means more risk when using a hosted provider. For example, who are we going to turn to when MapQuest decides to shut off its routing services?

Here’s to hoping people will step up and fill the gap that CloudMade is leaving. Us little users who will only pay a couple hundred dollars per month will then have somewhere else to go.

This is what came through today:

Hi [username],

We want to let you know about some changes we’re making to the CloudMade APIs. As of May 1st we’re switching to an enterprise model that supports the medium to large sized users of the CloudMade APIs. As part of this transition we’ll stop serving Map Tile, Geocoding, Routing and Vector Stream Server requests coming from your API keys below as of May 1st, unless you take action.

Your active CloudMade API keys are: W,X,Y,Z

If you wish to continue using the CloudMade services after April 30th you’ll need to upgrade to an enterprise plan. Enterprise plans are available for customers with 10,000,000 or more transactions per month. The plans include dedicated hosting, custom SLAs, 24×7 support from a named customer support representative and custom data loading. You can find out more about upgrading and request more information on the Web Portals page.

If your monthly usage is less than 10,000,000 transactions, or you don’t wish to upgrade to an enterprise plan, you should take action to update the app or website that’s using the CloudMade API keys shown above to use an alternative provider. There are a number of alternative providers of Map Tiles, Geocoding and Routing services based on OpenStreetMap data, for example:

– Mapquest (Map Tiles, Routing, Geocoding)

– MapBox (Styled Map Tiles)

Thanks for using CloudMade’s APIs over the past months and years. If you don’t switch to an enterprise plan, we wish you a smooth transition to the new service provider you choose.

[...]

Disclaimer: Nothing written here represents my employer in any way. I am/was a mostly satisfied user of many OSM-based services out there, including MapBox, MapQuest, and CloudMade.

5 Responses to “OpenStreetMap provider CloudMade shuts its doors on small users”

  1. Peter writes:

    Peter from GraphHopper here.

    > For example, who are we going to turn to when MapQuest decides to shut off its routing services?

    So, for some users there could be an alternative for routing: graphhopper.com ;)

    (but no geocoding, no tiles)

  2. imre writes:

    HackerNews: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7335992

    solution: try https://www.mapbox.com/

  3. Vladimir Agafonkin writes:

    Regarding customizability of Mapbox — you should definitely look at Tilemill 2 (https://github.com/mapbox/tm2), currently in beta, which is a super-powerful tool for custom OSM cartography, much more than CM style editor ever was.

    Also be sure to read through the Mapbox blog (http://www.mapbox.com/blog/) where examples are posted. Just look at the Woodcut or Space Station styles for example — just mindblowing how much you can do.

  4. Nark Kems writes:

    Hi, I just seen that on occasion this webpage displays a 500 error message. I figured you would be keen to know. All the best

  5. OpenStreetMap Chile » Blog Archive » Resumen Semanal OSM #90 writes:

    […] “El proveedor de OSM CloudMade cierra sus puertas a los pequeños usuarios“, artículo de blog por Eric Jiang. […]

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