It’s exciting to see the amount of financing for web mapping platform developer CloudMade. Their second round of funding of $12.3 million was just announced by TechCrunch. The platform, based on OpenStreetMap map data, and including OpenStreetMap founder Steve Coast as a co-founder, has been used to power a number of top-notch web mapping sites such as Skobbler and Dopplr.
The focus of the company is to further the building of the wiki-like OpenStreetMap database as well as to enable the delivery of the mapping platform to myriad devices. Their primary target is developers who will build upon the platform, providing services, and to also deliver advertising. The close alliance with OpenStreetMap crowd-sourced data gives it a highly valuable data source with low cost and fairly unrestricted uses.
Web mapping platforms are reaching a whole new level of openness and capability that is enabling all new exciting uses. I’d love to see augmented reality as a off-shoot capability of these platforms, so that developers could work to create rich 3D interfaces to local information, and perhaps even allowing users to have tools that capture that information themselves. Furthest along on that vision is Microsoft with their Photosynth, but Google likely isn’t far behind with their increasing capture of 3D.
Cloudmade is playing with these two very big competitors, but their crowd-sourced approach is obviously attractive enough as a business plan to warrant some serious backing.