Why does using open data matter?
Open data like that returned by the OpenCage Geocoding API offers many benefits when compared to traditional proprietary data sources.
Open data means you can ...
use it anywhere ...
- Display geocoding results on any map.
- Use results behind a firewall or publicly.
- Use the data commercially.
- Use the data in apps, print, wherever you like.
store it ...
- Store geocoding results as long as you like.
- Keep results even after you stop being a customer.
if needed, correct it
- Correct OSM whenever you see a problem.
- Benefit from the continual fixes of the crowd.
- No need to wait endlessly for your data supplier.
The problems with closed/proprietary data
Closed data has many issues. Closed data services typically require data users to agree to lengthy and complex terms and conditions around the use of the data. These can vary from service to service, but usually include:
- Restrictions around using the data commercially.
- Restrictions around how long the data can be stored.
- Restrictions around who can access the data, for example charging more if it is used behind a firewall.
- Restrictions around how you can display the data, for example allowing geodata to only be displayed on a certain brand of map.
- No clarity on when and how the data can be corrected.
- Last, but not least, proprietary data services are typically also much more expensive. See this detailed pricing comparison with Google Maps geocoding API pricing.
Learning more about open data
There are many great resources on the web for learning more about open data generally and open geodata specifically.
- As always, Wikipedia has a good, general overview of the topic of open data.
- If you're new to OpenStreetMap, learnOSM is a good place to get started.
- The OpenStreetMap Foundation produces a Welcome Mat that provides a great introduction to OSM specifically aimed at organizations.
- The UK's Open Data Institute (ODI) offers many resources around the topic of open data.
Doing our part in the open data revolution
The OpenCage geocoding service is built using open data. You can see a list of all the different open geodata sources we rely on.
We don't just make use of open data, we also do our best to contribute to the open data community. We are corporate members of the OpenStreetMap Foundation and of OpenStreetMap UK CIC, the UK's local chapter.
On our "about us" page you can find a full list of our efforts to support open data.