Mobile, Mapping and LBS: News from the front

This week might be a short one, but it hasn’t been short on interesting industry announcements. The biggest of which being that Microsoft has recruited OpenStreetMap (OSM) founder Steve Coast to join their Bing Maps Mobile team as Principal Architect.

The geo industry has been buzzing about the news — Coast being a towering figure in the mapping world and one of the most prominent advocates for open data. Microsoft seems to be increasingly interested in challenging Google’s map offerings and building up its own arsenal. In August, Bing added an OSM layer to its maps and is now allowing its aerial photos to be used by the OSM community. Not surprising since the future looks bright for the industry as a whole, especially as location continues to increase in importance. There are a number of reactions to the news worth reading, including on All Points, James Fee, GISuser, and ReadWriteWeb.

In other news, Wi-Fi provider JiWire has acquired NearbyNow which, paraphrased by TechCrunch, “allows brands to show products within an app or an ad and confirm availability of the product in the actual store. Users can also reserve the product in the store for pickup.” JiWire is making bullish moves into the LBS sector, and is trying to move beyond check-ins by combining location-based advertising with merchandise platforms. A report released by JiWire last week seemed to pre-empt the deal, showing off high numbers of LBS usage during the holiday season.

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