Apache Baremaps is a toolkit and a set of infrastructure components for creating, publishing, and operating online maps.
Apache Baremaps is a toolkit and a set of infrastructure components for creating, publishing, and operating online maps. It provides a data pipeline enabling developers to build maps with different data sources. It offers live reload capabilities that allow cartographers to customize the content and the style of a map. It includes an attribution-free map schema and style that stimulates derived work. Finally, it provides services commonly used in online maps, such as location search and IP to location.
The infrastructure components required to publish and operate large-scale online maps are often closed-source, heterogeneous, complex, and expensive. For instance: the visualization of maps in Web browsers or on mobile devices requires processing and tiling large spatial datasets, such as OpenStreetMap; the location of users based on their IP addresses requires aggregating and merging data from network information centers; the ability to search in a map requires indexing features based on text and spatial attributes in different languages.
Web mapping infrastructure is often managed by large teams of developers (e.g., Google Maps, Apple Maps, Mapbox, etc.), which makes it hard to customize and evolve. Apache Baremaps is a Web mapping infrastructure for the rest of us: it enables individuals and small teams of developers to regain control over spatial data and to develop custom mapping experiences. As a result, Apache Baremaps facilitates innovation in niche areas where resources are limited and customization is needed (e.g., sustainable mobility, civil engineering, urban planning, environment monitoring, startups, etc.).
The primary goals are:
- to learn the Apache Way;
- to release a customizable attribution-free map schema and style;
- to publish a tiled world map in different formats (mvt, png, 3D Tiles Next, etc.);
- to grow the community and attract new contributors;
- to release additional services and components (IP to location, location search, etc.).
Baremaps is a project initially developed by Bertil Chapuis. It has already attracted outside contributors. Therefore, the process of electing new committers and project management committee members should be natural.
The need for Web mapping infrastructure is great, hence a good potential for a diverse community mixing developers and cartographers.
The contributors to Baremaps include developers from academia and industry, mainly located in Europe. The contributions include documentation, bug fixes, and new features. Most of the development and communication currently takes place on GitHub.
Many critical components used in the geospatial community are released under LGPL (e.g., Geotools, Geotoolkit). We are strongly aligned with the terms of the Apache license. Joining the geospatial community at Apache will enable us to be less reliant on components with contaminating licenses. For instance, Apache SIS seeks to become an alternative to Geotools and Geotoolkit.
No trademark is associated with the Baremaps name, and the project is already well referenced by search engines. The .com, .org, and .net domains are the property of Bertil Chapuis, who agrees to transfer them to the Apache Software Foundation unconditionally upon request.
There is a risk of being orphaned due to the small number of committers. Even if the main contributor has no plan to leave the project, this is a problem we need to address in the future.
Inexperience with open source
The initial committers contributed to open source projects in the past but have only a few experiences with the governance of open source projects in a Foundation such as Apache.
Length of incubation
We expect to achieve most of the initial goals within one year. However, some other goals (e.g., growing a community sufficiently diverse and healthy to leave the incubator) are harder to estimate and may span over a more extended time.
Most current developers work for the same institution (University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland). We also started receiving contributions from individuals and companies (e.g., Camptocamp).
Reliance on Salaried Developers
Baremaps started as a hobby project. The geocoder and IP to location components are the results of experiments conceived during research and educational projects. The HTTP component was part of an R&D project at camptocamp.
Relationships with Other Apache Products
Apache Baremaps relies on other Apache projects to achieve its goals. Apache SIS is used to import spatial data (e.g., Shapefile, GeoPackage, GeoJSON) in PostGIS. Apache Lucene is used for indexing text and spatial attributes. Apache Calcite may be considered as an alternative to PostGIS in the future.
An Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand
The geospatial community regularly encounters licensing problems. For instance, Mapbox recently got closed source and forked into the MapLibre project. The storage components of Apache SIS, which overlap with other projects under LGPL in terms of functionality, take time to develop. The most popular open source map schema for vector tiles is currently released with a CC-BY license that discourages derivative work. We are interested in joining the ASF because it sets a high bar for including third-party libraries. In the long term, this will benefit our contributors, our users, and, more generally, the geospatial community.
The documentation of baremaps can be found at: https://www.baremaps.com/
The source code of baremaps can be found at: https://github.com/baremaps/baremaps
The base map can be found at: https://github.com/baremaps/baremaps/tree/main/map
To our knowledge, none of the dependencies currently used in our main branch are a matter of concern (BSD, MIT, Apache).
There is no cryptography required in Apache Baremaps at present time.
We would like to transfer our current github repository to the apache organization.
We currently use GitHub to manage the issues and would also appreciate using a GitHub project.
Names of initial committers with affiliation and current ASF status:
- Bertil Chapuis (Heig-vd), Apache Committer, id: bchapuis
- Andrea Borghi (Camptocamp)
- James Smith (Heig-vd)
- Antoine Drabble (Heig-vd)
- Leonard Besseau (Hobbyist)
- Josh Fischer, Apache Committer, id: joshfischer
- Martin Desruisseaux
- George Percivall
- Julian Hyde
- Calvin Kirs
The Apache Incubator