Directions Magazine: How CloudMade is Shaping the Future of Location Based Services

After we announced the latest version of the CloudMade’s On-Dash platform last month, Directions Magazine caught up with CloudMade founder and VP Product, Nick Black, to ask him a few questions.  You can read the full article here.

April 3rd, 2013 - Posted by Anastasiya Sheveleva in for OEMs, interviews, news

What’s New At CloudMade

Many people have been asking me lately, about what is happening at CloudMade and where our business is going.

So, as I always love talking about CloudMade, here is the high level view.

We have a lot of extremely exciting activity going on with products in particular (both launched and launching soon) that use our core technologies on the device and inside the application. These are backed by the Hybrid Data and Mapsafe stacks which connect the cloud and the device together.   These range from launched devices with major OEMs in Europe (i.e. Medion and others) to products we expect to hit the shelves soon (i.e. SmartGPS from Magellan). You will be able to buy and use the products in the USA and globally over the next six months. At CloudMade, we are very focused on the On-Dash, In-Dash, Fitness & Outdoor and Truck&Fleet markets with activities and projects in each of these areas. Our passion is about location enabled user experiences in these areas and we see a stream of very cool stuff coming.

Our internal development teams in Stuttgart and Kyiv are totally engaged in projects with our partners, and through these projects bringing these new products to life.

In the application space, we see continued innovation around the Leaflet open source project and in the use of both OSM and commercial data sets with our web services to create new and compelling consumer experiences.  This ranges from small research projects to significant games to major transport agencies using our cloud to power their solutions.

As for where this is all going, I expect that, with our partners, we will continue to innovate and produce new user experiences in the embedded and application space that will combine the cloud and the real world in compelling ways.  And along the way we will build a smarter Cloud and infrastructure that supports, enables and connects these solutions.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks and months.


February 25th, 2013 - Posted by Jim Brown in customers, news, products

Better for users, game developers and brands

CloudMade has found a way to add value for people playing mobile games, generate additional revenue for game developers and create a very compelling way for brands to drive retail traffic and revenue.

cute guy with a phone

Mobile games are a huge marketing opportunity
Millions of users are having fun playing mobile games every day. This creates a huge marketing opportunity for consumer brands.

Banners are not the perfect solution
The only way brands and game developers are really taking advantage of this huge marketing opportunity is through banner ads adopted from the web. The banners do add revenue for game developers, but most gamers don’t like seeing banners in the middle of their game. In addition, the banners are rarely the right tool for consumer brands and retailers to achieve positive branding, retail traffic and an increase in revenue.

Sponsored Locations
We need to find a tool that ensures that game developers make money and that brands get a great marketing tool in a way that people playing mobile games love.

CloudMade has solved this challenge by talking to leading brands and top game developers and building a service that meets their specific needs. The solution we have come up with is Sponsored Locations.

We look forward to talking to you too
If you are a game developer or a consumer brand that we have not yet talked to about tailoring Sponsored Locations to YOUR needs, we look forward to connecting with you soon. In the meantime, you can learn more about Sponsored Locations here.

December 19th, 2011 - Posted by in for developers, news, products

Learning more about developers’ needs at Apps World

Last week at Apps World Conference and Exhibition industry experts and newbies gathered together to discuss the current state and future of mobile applications development. Even the heavy London snow didn’t prevent 2,400 people from attending the show, and it turned out as two excellent days of networking.

With three simultaneous streams (Developer, Marketing and TV, Handset and OEM) the Apps World event aimed to address the entire app ecosystem, and the challenge of development, design and delivery of apps across multiple platforms. Nick Black, CloudMade Co-Founder and Head of Products, spoke at the conference on how location is helping to create and monetize outstanding apps.

adtech_photo 2

CloudMade also exhibited in Developers Zone where we were busy meeting with new and existing developers.

We are always looking for new ways to meet with developers and understand how we can help you build better user experiences and increase your revenue. You can help us by sending information about any interesting events you plan to attend to

December 9th, 2010 - Posted by in events, for developers, news, talks

App Gallery Update: featuring new cool apps and presenting more categories

Another update of our App Gallery brings some new  examples of impressive CloudMade-powered apps and shows how location continues to enhance user experiences for web and mobile services. The range of applications presented in our app gallery is becoming really wide, and it now includes such categories as Navigation, Travel, Business, Reference, Healthcare and Fitness, Utilities, Entertainment and Productivity. Here you can see some newly added apps that we’ve found especially interesting.

Fahrtenbuch is a must-have app for anyone who needs to track mileage for tax deduction or reimbursement. This app is the #1 choice “driver’s log” in Germany, and it is the first one to have full iCal integration. CloudMade Geocoding and Routing services have been used in it.


Choosing a restaurant or a bar for the evening? Drinktown will help you to make that choice by telling you about all the food and drink specials near you. The website is updated daily by tens of thousands of members, and it is very easy to use since it allows you to sort data by day of the week, special type or just browse the beautifully styled map to find nearby deals.


With the Next Time iPhone app using reminders has become extremely efficient, since it now takes into account your location. You can create a list of locations and set reminders for those. Next Time will run in the background to alert you of your reminders the next time you’re at the location. The app is using CloudMade Geocoding and Map Tiles.


TrackMyJourney-Mobile is a multi-function recreational navigation and mapping application for Java/J2ME and BlackBerry phones. It receives its location coordinates by communicating via Bluetooth with a separate GPS receiver, or via the phones internal GPS if supported. The data is then sent to TrackMyJourney website where you can then share your location and recorded tracks with your friends. The app uses CloudMade Geocoding, Map Tiles, Routing, StyleEditor and Web Maps API.


French cycling fans might get interested in Geovelo – a cycling route planner that uses OpenStreetMap data and takes into account not only distance, but also safety. Geovelo maps created with CloudMade Style Editor perfectly complement the impressive design of the website.


You can see more location based apps that use CloudMade services in our App Gallery. If you are interested in trying out those free tools and APIs  yourself, sign up to our Developer Zone.  And maybe your outstanding app will be among thoses featured in our App Gallery soon!

November 17th, 2010 - Posted by in featured apps, iPhone, news, style editor

We’ve raised $12.3M in Series B funding!

We’re extremely pleased to announce that we have received $12.3M in a Series B round of funding led by Greylock Partners, which also includes our original investor Sunstone Capital.

This new investment will be used by CloudMade to do two primary things:

  • Expand our support to developers and businesses in building and monetizing apps, products and services that use maps and location – this will supplement our existing developer products which include:  Style Editor, Data Market Place and Navi Studio
  • Building out and adding to our popular suite of consumer mapping products, Mapzen which severely reduce the complexity of mapping for all

We welcome Arnon Dinur, Partner at Greylock to our Board of Directors and look forward to leveraging his expertise. Commenting on the funding Arnon said:

“CloudMade is leading a dramatic change in the way maps and location data are being created, distributed, used and monetized,” said Greylock Partner Arnon Dinur, who joined CloudMade’s Board of Directors as part of this investment. “We believe that consumers and developers’ needs for daily updated maps with greater detail and relevance, will explode in the coming years. Using CloudMade’s platform enables the best return on investment to meet this growth.”

We look forward to continuing supporting developers and the OpenStreetMap community with new innovative products.

July 27th, 2010 - Posted by Nick Black in news

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

Putting the Developer in Charge


Earlier on this year a smart VC, who multiple times has competed successfully against Google, told me that Google is generally willing to act as an “irrational economic player”. It’s willing to destroy value just so others can’t get at it, even if it means destroying value for itself.

Google just announced that it will offer navigation. Navigation has so far captured 70%+ of the $2 billion mapping market. The bad news for established navigation players like Tele Atlas and Navteq is that this will erode the value of navigation, just like the value of maps have been eroded. The good news for those players is that Google has now tipped its hand and shown that it’s willing to compete against the very ecosystem that it has been nurturing over the past couple of years.

Google’s strategy is to leverage maps, including navigation, to extend its current search franchise into local search. We’ve believed from day one of CloudMade that contextual search, using location data and some knowledge about the user (for example which app he/she is using) creates much more valuable CPM/CPC/CPAs. If you’re an advertiser or a merchant, you will pay more per impression if you know someone is a mountain biker and is near the bicycle mega store you own.

Google betting on one-size-fits all model
Google is betting on building a horizontal, local search franchise. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but please read on, it gets clearer. Google is building a one-size-fits-all set of services around mapping, and will serve the masses with those. Think about Google Maps, Latitude or Earth. They are horizontal one-size-fits-all web apps with little or no segmentation. Everyone uses the same app.

Meanwhile, in the process of building out end-user applications rather than sticking to being a platform player, Google is causing considerable collateral damage. Its move into the territory normally occupied by mobile operators, OEMs and small, medium and large developers is turning the marketplace against itself. The honeymoon is over and the do-no-evil days have ended. Google has declared any monetizable pocket in tech a target, including the key franchises of Apple, Microsoft, the mobile operators and now also mobile application developers. The problem with Google’s approach is, the value is not in horizontal services, but in leveraging the democratizing effect of the app stores to use the 100,000+ vertical apps as a way to divide the market into tiny segments and let them flourish and gain traction.


CloudMade believes vertical apps will inherently nano-segment the market
Most of the impressions that will hit consumers, and most searches that are contextually and location oriented, will occur through vertical apps. Take the mountain biker example. Where will I be more likely to respond if I want to a) navigate my mountain bike though a new trail and b) click on that ad from the bicycle mega store? A horizontal Google app, or a well crafted, vertical app written by a focused developer who understands my special interests? We believe the latter. We believe the mountain biking savvy, app developing expert who knows the hidden trails in his/her community will be better at providing relevance to local mountain bikers.

As I speak to mobile operators and handset manufacturers about the CloudMade business, it’s clear that most of the players understand the value of their immense reach, and want to pick long-term partners with whom they can build a franchise in local search, local advertising and local geo services.

It’s clear that Google’s latest move has served as a lighting rod for clarity in the value chain. Over the past days I have spoken to people throughout the ecosystem. So far, the uncertainty about what Google was doing has actually caused a lot of mobile operators, handset manufacturers and app developers to take a wait-and-see attitude. Now, with Google showing their hand, and making it clear that it’s willing to compete directly with substantial parts of the eco system to get at the local search market, we’re seeing that the wait-and-see is over. With Google choosing to go it alone rather than cooperate with the ecosystem, the ground rules have been laid down, and the competitive landscape is clear.

So what are we doing at CloudMade?
We’re building out our traction in the vertical mobile application area, signing developers within key categories that we believe will drive massive volume. This is a real micro-segmented approach, aimed at driving traffic to thousands of narrow verticals. We’re already seeing this scale.

Local, relevant ads: We’re jumping the learning curve on Location Based Advertising and Sponsored POIs. We’ll shortly be offering developers, mobile operators and handset manufacturers a revenue share on Sponsored POIs and ads that they include in their apps. This is big news to developers, who so far have had to depend on the modest revenues from selling apps at $0.99, $1.99 etc.

Data Marketplace: We’re building a massive marketplace for geo data. In fact, in a few weeks we have our “opening day” at the CloudMade Data Marketplace, the Turkish Bazar from which developers can choose a variety of content that they can mash into their maps. This will result in more app diversity, deeper functionality and even completely new types of vertical apps.

Offering for operators and handset manufacturers: CloudMade has created a super interesting set of propositions for mobile operators and handset manufacturers. We’re doing rev share deals with them where we work side-by-side to build franchises in the local geo spatial arena. We offer them onboard maps (built into their devices) and offboard maps (loaded from our servers), we offer them navigation jointly with our navigation partners and we offer up relationships with our many vertical app developers. For Tier 1, 2 and 3 operators and handset manufacturers this is turning out to be very compelling. The big differentiator is that the operators get to decide what the services look like, they get to brand them and they get to make money from them. That is as opposed to the alternative, which is to take someone else’s services, accept that they are all branded by someone else, who also pockets the ad revenues from them.

cloudmadestyle editor

We’re focusing on making maps look the way the merchants and developers want them to look. Through CloudMade’s Style Editor anyone, even non-technical people, can produce advanced, custom maps that reflect the brand and identity of their company or their customers company. We’ve found that many, especially those with no yellow in their corporate identity, prefer this to a one-size-fits-all yellow map.

Navigation: We’re continuing to ramp up our work with key players in the turn-by-turn navigation field to increase the scope for navigation solutions. We are building assets to help drive the verticalization of the field, so we see custom navigation for different verticals. Again, CloudMade doesn’t believe in one-size-fits-all. We think different types of navigation will require different types of apps. For example, if I’m hiking in the mountains I don’t care about roads. I want to navigate hiking trails, be directed to places where I can fill my water bottle, and I want to know where the vista points are.

Last, but not least, the most important component of CloudMade’ approach.


Tools, tools, tools: CloudMade is focusing a lot of effort on the tools side. We believe that the best way we can serve the community of mappers and developers is to put all the control in their hands. We’ve demonstrated this through our efforts already, for example with our iPhone libraries. We’re similarly putting the control of Location Based Ads and Sponsored POIs into the hands of developers. Put yourself in the shoes of the vertical app developer. You know better than anyone else how your constituents want to be advertised to, what ads they want (and don’t want) to see and how to place those apps in your app.

Similarly, we’re readying a suite of tools that makes mapping easier, faster and more powerful.


CloudMade’s web based Mapzen tool, and Mapzen POI Collector for iPhone will be available shortly. This suite of tools enables us to further serve the 180,000 person large OpenStreetMap community that is building the most detailed, finely textured and accurate map of the world. The community was founded by the founders of CloudMade, and most members of the CloudMade team are active members of the OpenStreetMap community. The map we’re building in the community is stunning in it’s detail. It’s essentially the Wikipedia of maps. After all, who knows better how to map a community than people who live in the community.

The Mapzen suite enables us to bridge the needs of app developers, who serve as a proxy for consumers in a given vertical segment, and the mappers, who are members of local communities or specialists in a certain type of mapping (e.g. mountain biking trails). Bridging the consumers needs for maps and the mappers’ desire to create maps that truly reflect their local community will result in mobile and web applications that both feature better maps and be more attractive to users.

So what’s the bottom line?
Over the next twelve months, we will see hundreds of thousands of vertical apps use maps and location services to better serve consumers with data about where they are, where they are going, how they get there and what is surrounding them at their location. We will see mappers collect map data that is highly relevant to local, narrow communities. We will see owners of diverse datasets make their data available though the Data Marketplace. In turn, we will see app developers jump on the opportunity and leverage the map data and Data Marketplace datasets into highly targeted, compelling and enchanting apps. Many will choose to monetize the apps through a combination of app store revenues as well as carefully selected Location Based Advertising and Sponsored POIs.

If you are with a larger company with a need for a mapping provider that does not compete with you email me at

October 30th, 2009 - Posted by Emma Williamson in for developers, iPhone, news, products, style editor

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

Geo Industry Veteran Marc Prioleau Joins CloudMade as CEO

We’re excited to announce that geo industry veteran Marc Prioleau has joined CloudMade as CEO. Marc brings a wealth of industry experience to the CloudMade team, joining us from deCarta, where he was on the team that created a successful geo business serving developers, device manufactures and mobile network operators.

Marc Prioleau
Marc Prioleau, CEO, CloudMade

Just a short month ago, we launched the CloudMade platform to mobile and web developers. Since then we’ve signed up over 2,000 developers who are building a huge variety of applications including navigation, restaurant finders, real-estate portals, social networking sites and enterprise solutions.

For example the British newspaper, The Guardian recently launched a new site built using CloudMade mapping and geo services that lets users add news articles to the map. Users of Apple’s popular App Store can choose from several iPhone applications built using CloudMade’s platform, including the popular Trails hiking and walking application.

With Marc on board, you can expect even more, even bigger things to come from CloudMade.

March 31st, 2009 - Posted by Nick Black in for developers, news

Next Page »