Catching the geospatial community off-guard, Mapzen announced on January 2, 2018 that it would be shutting down all services on February 1, 2018. Mapzen is a four-year-old startup owned by a Samsung subsidiary. The open source mapping company’s news and the pending shuttering of its hosted APIs and support services was met with dismay as the news broke. Many on Twitter offered kudos to the open source company for the work had produced such as Transitland and Who’s On First:
Kudos @mapzen team for the passion and hard work you put into this, you made a lasting impact in geo. It was fun to ride alongside you as a collaborator and sometimes competitor. Much luck to each one of you for what's next!
— Alex Barth (@lxbarth) January 3, 2018
In light of @mapzen announcing their closing, I wanted to give a heartfelt thanks to all of their engineers for supporting many open source projects around #VectorTiles and #Mapnik. @zerebubuth, @iandees and many others – Thanks.
— Blake Thompson (@flippmoke) January 2, 2018
The exact reason(s) for the shutdown haven’t been made public. The site, Civic Hall, has an exit interview with former Mapzen senior software engineer Dan Phiffer. In it, Phiffer answers the question about what will happen to all of Mapzen’s work:
The vast majority of the code and data will remain online in our public GitHub repos. Each team operated as a kind of independent city-state in the larger Mapzen kingdom, and each team has had a different approach post-shutdown. The team that created the Valhalla routing engine is joining Mapbox to work on similar routing problems. Our transit schedule data project Transitland will continue to operate. Who’s On First will also continue on outside of the Mapzen framework.
In each case, the code and data were always designed to outlive the company. Specifically what that will look like in practice is still shaking out. Aside from the code that runs the metered API system, each service was always designed to run without there being a Mapzen company behind it.
In addition to being able to download and utilize all of the open software and data produced by Mapzen, the company has created a migration guide to similar services for developers.
- An Open Source Startup Dies as Mapping Gets Hotter Than Ever, Wired, January 4, 2018
- An Exit Interview with Mapzen’s Dan Phiffer, Civic Hall, January 4, 2018