Startup Mapzen loses its Zen, announces shutdown

Last week, the open source mapping company Mapzen announced it would shut down at the end of the month. The team posted:

Unfortunately, we have some sad news. Mapzen will cease operations at the end of January 2018. Our hosted APIs and all related support and services will turn off on February 1, 2018. You will not be charged for API usage in December/January. We know this is an inconvenience and have provided a migration guide to similar services for our developer community. Our goal is to help as much as possible to ensure continuity in the services that you have built with us.

Fortunately, the core products of Mapzen are built entirely on open software and data. As a result, there are options to run Mapzen services yourself or to switch to other service providers.

Thanks for being with us over the past four years. We’re grateful that the open work we’ve done can continue outside of Mapzen and while we know this is a sad day, we’re optimistic about what’s next.

In a statement, TriMet spokesperson Tia York said the company’s closure would have “no negative impact” on its ongoing, federally-funded project that used Mapzen’s Pelias Geocoder to help convert postal addresses to a point on the Earth’s map. “The Pelias Geocoder is open source software, with a significant community; therefore worldwide use of, improvements to, and maintenance of Pelias is expected to flourish as an open source project,” York said. (Wired).

The Wired article adds: “Mapping continues to be very hot space. Observe: a coalition of German carmakers’ 2015 acquisition of the Nokia mapping company HERE for a reported $2.7 billion. And Uber’s reported $500 million investment in technology that could free it from Google’s services. And the $164 million Softbank-led funding round for fellow open source mapping company Mapbox, which closed in October. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of cartography jobs in the US will balloon by nearly 20 percent between 2016 and 2026.”

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