Tech Talk Video with CloudMade’s CTO

In this short video, CloudMade’s CTO, Jim Brown, talks about CloudMade’s technologies and how they are used to create better user experiences in automotive, outdoors, fitness and wearable products.

The technologies Jim talked about can be found here:

  • Hybrid – aggregation, sync and management of location content
  • Mapsafe  – cloud-based personal data and preference storage, sync, access and backup
  • Micromap - a compressed, routable, searchable geodata format
  • UMDb – a tool chain that imports data from numerous formats into Micromap

To learn more about CloudMade’s technologies and for a demonstration of their capabilities, get in touch.

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October 7th, 2013 - Posted by Nick Black in for OEMs, geodata, products, talks, technologies

Single Line Search in Navigation

CloudMade’s On-the-Go Search

We’re re-shaping search-on-the-go at CloudMade, making search faster, easier and more relevant while in the car read on to find out more

In this post we look at how CloudMade’s On-Dash and In-Dash platforms use our Hybrid Data and Mapsafe technologies to let users search through point of interest data from many different providers and see the results represented as a single item.  For some real-world examples of this in action, check out Magellan’s SmartGPS product that lets users search through Yelp, Foursquare and TomTom data from a single interface.

Global Search

Users want access to a rich world of location information from a single search interface.  After all, Google lets us search the entire content of the web from a single interface, so why should we need to go into separate ”apps” when searching for a place to stop for lunch?

When the user searches for “Pizza”, search results are shown, sorted by distance, from different providers on a single screen.  In this example you can see results that appear both in Yelp and Foursquare, results that only appear in Yelp and results that only appear in TomTom data – indicated by the icons at the far right of each returned result.


CloudMade’s Mapsafe technology provides social context to search results, in this case associating each place with check-ins, reviews and posts made by the user’s friends on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Disambiguated Results

The next screens show how the user is able to view the details associated with the results.  Different data providers have different attributes and strengths.  Yelp for example includes a 1-5 star rating, Foursquare data is typically updated the most frequently, Tom-Tom often has the most accurate positional data.

CloudMade’s Hybrid Data technology handles a process of disambiguation which takes unique results from three (or more) datasets, for example a pizza place in Yelp, Foursquare and TeleAtlas and understands through a process of fuzzy matching that the three separate entities in-fact refer to the same real-world location and presents a single, disambiguated result to the user.  This gives you the best of all worlds: the user gets the latest, richest information from sources like Yelp and Foursquare whilst you can rely on the positional accuracy of a provider like TeleAtlas.


A note on merging and disambiguation – at no point does CloudMade’s platform merge results together.  The different databases (Yelp, Foursquare and TomTom in this case) are kept as separate databases with the user being able to search from a single interface, see all results on a single page and quickly filter through different providers.

Live Results

Where devices have an internet connection, through a Bluetooth tether for example, live results from an online search provider like Google Places can be fed into the search results.


The capabilities of CloudMade’s On-Dash and In-Dash platforms to handle large volumes of rapidly changing geo-data from a vast number of different sources and make the geo-data available to OEMs through a set of cross platform APIs opens up a new range of use cases and possibilities for device OEMs to create vibrant, exciting search experiences.  Some of the new possibilities include:

- Global search across a huge number of different datasets

- Including photos of locations, products, menus in search results

- Including user generated reviews and ratings in search results

- Integrating sources from small, niche providers that may cover one vertical in particular metros but not offer full regional coverage

- Integrating sources that may lack accurate positional data

Contact CloudMade to learn more about the capabilities of our On-Dash and In-Dash platforms.

May 7th, 2013 - Posted by Nick Black in for OEMs, geodata, products, technologies

Announcing Leaflet: a Modern Open Source JavaScript Library for Interactive Maps

Web Maps API — our JavaScript library for putting CloudMade maps online — has been a hugely popular tool that has enabled web developers to create unique map experiences like these.  Web Maps API v2 has served our users very well, being praised for its performance and ease of use. But there’s a problem: it wasn’t designed with mobile devices in mind. Last years there was an overwhelming progress in what mobile browsers are capable of thanks to technologies like HTML5. What if online maps could work as smoothly as native apps on mobile?

There’s one more thing to consider: CloudMade developer community has a lot of talented people in it that could help with the development of the library, but so far Web Maps API was not a part of our open source efforts.

Today we’re announcing the first public release of Leaflet — a new open source JavaScript library for interactive maps for both mobile and desktop browsers, developed by CloudMade to form the core of its next generation Web Maps API.

Leaflet is built from the ground up to work efficiently and smoothly on both platforms. It’s very fast, lightweight while still having a strong browser support, and really easy to use. It also has a clean, simple and readable OOP-based code, and it’s hosted on the world’s best open source collaboration platform — GitHub, so contributing is a snap.

It’s still in the beta stage of development, so it lacks a couple of features and has some rough edges, but it’s moving fast — try it and give us some feedback, either by tweeting to @LeafletJS or reporting bugs and discussing features on the issues page.

Find out more on the Leaflet official website.

May 13th, 2011 - Posted by in for developers, geodata, products

Going for Gold at Mobile World Congress


We recently found out that we’ve been selected as a finalist for the Mobile Premier Awards, the equivalent of the Oscars for mobile start-ups at the world’s largest mobile conference, Mobile World Congress.

The awards replace the popular Mobile Monday Peer Awards from which companies such as Fring, Plazes and Opera have risen to great heights.

This year’s awards have some heavy hitting sponsors including: BlackBerry, 02 Limtus, RCR Wireless, Mashable and Tech Crunch and if past year’s events are anything to go by, will attract the most influential movers and shakers of the mobile industry.


It’s by no means a small feat to be selected as a finalist considering the quality of the other 250 start-ups that were initially chosen, including companies such as Layar and Waze.

CloudMade was voted by the Silicon Valley chapter of Mobile Monday as its nomination for the awards. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the chapter for choosing us and plan to follow through on stage with a compelling presentation when we pitch our products and company to leading VC’s, handset makers, operators and press.

We feel that we’ve made it to the finals because of our unique product offerings, including our comprehensive and flexible mapping platform which is the only one available built solely for developers. It empowers mobile and web developers by giving them the freedom to create exactly the type of apps they envisage, and allows handset vendors and operators to take control of their own destiny, by giving them a key control point for their mobile business to make successful business ventures.

Combine this with our innovative mapping tools that allow anyone to easily contribute to OpenStreetMap, and we’re well on the way to the democratization of geo data and expanding access to it.

Good luck to the other start-ups and we look forward to taking to the stage on February 15th in Barcelona. We hope you can join us.

For more information or to register for The Mobile Premier Awards click here

Here’s more about our latest product offerings:

Data Market Place, a market place offering a wide variety of rich, pre-integrated third-party commercial datasets for developers to add to CloudMade maps.

Navi Studio, a suite of tools that make it simple to build fully featured turn-by-turn navigation apps for all major mobile platforms.

iPhone SDK, allows developers to add customized maps, geocoding and routing to iPhone applications with ease.

Mapzen and Mapzen POI Collector, allow anyone to easily contribute to OpenStreetMap and share their experiences via Facebook and Twitter

January 30th, 2010 - Posted by Nick Black in events, for developers, geodata, iPhone, news

Your Future is Customized – State of the Map Presentation from CloudMade

In July this year, 250 of the leading lights in community mapping and geo application development gathered in Amsterdam for the annual OpenStreetMap Foundation conference The State of the Map. Video and audio recordings form the three day conference are being processed one by one by a dedicated team of volunteers who recently published the video of Nick Black’s talk: “Your Future is Customized”.

The talk asks why most current users of geodata experience maps through one of two ways: in car sat navs, or online mapping portals and looks towards a future of app stores, specialized map data and geo applications that match the exact needs of consumers.

Enable your applications with CloudMade – Nick Black (CloudMade) from State of the Map 2009 on Vimeo.

Follow along with the slides from the presentation:

August 28th, 2009 - Posted by in api, for developers, geodata, openstreetmap, products

Fly Through Berlin

CloudMade partners, Cartotype have produced this nice animation that shows a fly-through of Berlin. Cartotype produce a range of libraries that render maps across different mobile platforms:

Cartotype have been experimenting with CloudMade’s Vector Server which can stream map data to any connected device where it can be rendered on the fly. There’s a lot of new features planned for the vector server, including multiple outputs formats (XML, JSON, OSM) and a fully featured API that will let you select which parts of the map data are returned to the client.

If you like what you see from Cartotype, you can hear them talk at the State of the Map conference which is being held from the 10th – 12th July 2009 in Amsterdam. Click here for more details.

June 15th, 2009 - Posted by Nick Black in api, cartography, for developers, geodata, news, products

San Francisco Bay Area Developers’ Evening

Our first developers’ evening will be held at 18.30pm on the the 31st July at our Menlo Park offices. Anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area who has an interest in location aware applications, mapping, GPS and free data is invited to attend the event, which is guaranteed to include insight, intrigue, sneak-previews and free pizza.

OpenStreetMap and CloudMade founder, Steve Coast, will share his insights into the world of collaborative map making, talking about why the world needs free and open geodata, why traditional models of map making are not cut out for a world where maps form a core part of everyday life. You’ll hear how your applications can benefit from the rich map data that OpenStreetMap has to offer.

From mobile phones, to satellite navigation, from mashups to social networks – maps are everywhere. Yet most of the maps we use each day are owned by two companies – Tom-Tom and Nokia. We think that maps are too important to be controlled by a handful of governments and companies. Everyday tens of thousands of OpenStreetMap volunteers around the world are helping to liberate map data by making maps which can be used free of charge by anyone, anywhere in the world for almost any use you can imagine.

By packaging OpenStreetMap data into a set of high quality, professional products and services, CloudMade are shaking up the existing market place. CloudMade co-founder, Nick Black, will talk about their existing APIs which allow developers to embed high quality maps in web and mobile applications as well as talking about future plans for some exciting new APIs and services.

Developers will have the opportunity to talk to the CloudMade team who will be on hand to answer questions about their current and future plans over a slice of pizza and a drink.

Registration for this event is free. To register, click here.

For more information, email

July 24th, 2008 - Posted by Nick Black in events, geodata, openstreetmap, products, talks

CloudMade Release Isle of Man Dataset to OpenStreetMap

We’ve been in Limerick, Ireland for The State of The Map, the OpenStreetMap conference where we took the opportunity to announce the release of a complete mapping dataset of the Isle of Man to OpenStreetMap.

The dataset was collected by CloudMade in late 2007 using all of the tools and processes used by OpenStreetMap mappers. The team, made up of CloudMade founders Steve Coast and Nick Black along with long-term OSM contributor, Andy Robinson, drove and cycled every road on the Isle of Man, recording their movements with cheap, consumer grade GPS units whilst taking photos of street signs with digital cameras.

The finished map

Donating the Isle of Man data to OpenStreetMap is the completion of a cycle for us. We set out to prove that it was possible for three guys with bicycles and GPS units using OpenStreetMap’s software, to do what the Ordnance Survey or TeleAtlas do, but at a fraction of the cost. If I wanted to make a map, I would use OpenStreetMap’s software. If I wanted to make a better map, I’d give it to the OpenStreetMap community and let them maintain it. The real test will be to come back in 6 months and see how many footpaths and new housing estates have been added to the map.

Detailed view of Peel, a city on the west coast of the Island which shows the street network as well as a selection of points of interest.

The dataset is significant for a few reasons. The Isle of Man will become the second country to be completely mapped in OSM, following the donation of the complete Netherlands road network to OSM by Dutch map makers AND. Secondly, the Isle of Man has been overlooked in the past by most online map providers, who do not consider the small nation to be a high priority.

The import process is being managed by OSMer Dan Karran and we expect it to be a few weeks until the data is available in OSM. In the mean time, you can get a sneak preview over here.

July 15th, 2008 - Posted by Nick Black in geodata, openstreetmap

Product Blog – Two New pre-Alpha APIs from CloudMade

Last week we took the covers off our new CloudMade website – if you haven’t had a look already, head over to and see for yourself.

We also released two new APIs as pre-Alpha services: the Web Maps API and the Mobile Maps API. Right now these services are targeted at developers who want to get their hands on the very latest things we have to offer. Both APIs are accessed by directly calling our tile server, though the observant amongst you will probably have noticed slippy maps present on lots of our pages. We’ll be releasing documentation for the slippy map API shortly, so watch this space.

Web Carto Sample Berlin1

We’re particularly excited about the Mobile Maps API, which gives developers access to a set of tiles which we’ve started to optimize for mobile use. By reducing the tile size to 64×64 pixels (rather than the usual 256×256) and simplifying the cartography we’re keeping tile sizes down to around 2-3kB. This is a first pass and we hope to get the sizes down even more to help mobile applications save on costly bandwidth and enhance user experience.

Mobile Carto Sample SF1

Because both these services are built on top of OpenStreetMap data you can use them in almost any way you like. Most other online map providers don’t let you use their maps in mobile devices or for real time routing or tracking or outside of their own APIs, for example. We want you to use CloudMade maps for the coolest things you can think of.

We’ve also got a developers mailing list which you can sign up to here.

Both images based on map data created by contributors and licensed CCBYSA.

June 4th, 2008 - Posted by Nick Black in api, geodata, news, products

OpenStreetMap Grants

Tired of waiting for Google Summer of Code? Join Cloud Made’s year of mapping.

We want to make OpenStreetMap better and we want you to be involved UPDATE – this is worldwide, you don’t have to be from the UK. From now on anyone can apply to Cloud Made for an OpenStreetMap Grant. You can apply for grants of £100 – £1000+ to support useful, interesting or innovative work around OpenStreetMap. This could be anything from squashing OSM’s 10 most annoying bugs to mapping an entire city to writing a new mapping client – the choice is yours. Here are some ideas:

  • Map somewhere – You need some funds to support a mapping expedition to Monmouthshire or even further afield.
  • Build your OSM community – Live in a town or country that’s hardly been mapped? You can apply for a grant to help cover the costs of running a mapping party – promoting it, buying GPS units and providing lunch for hungry mappers.
  • Pledge to fix some bugs – Pledge to fix 10 big bugs in 10 days and claim a reward.

This should give you some ideas. The grants are available immediately, to everyone. Judging and awarding of grants is solely at the discretion of Cloud Made Limited, however advice may be taken from leading OSMers and those on the OSM mailing lists. To apply, email

March 17th, 2008 - Posted by Nick Black in geodata, openstreetmap

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