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GNOME Maps Hits A Dead End, Can No Longer Display Maps

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gnome-maps-broken

If you were set to plan your weekend activities using the GNOME Maps application, you’ll need to change course.

As of this week the nifty desktop navigation app can no longer fetch maps tiles to display.

MapQuest, the application’s tile provider, has amended its usage policy and discontinued direct tile access. GNOME developers have the choice of paying to keep using the service or, ultimately, using a new one.

And that won’t be easy.

“I will need some help with contacting OpenStreetMap [and] with finding solution to our tile issue. I think we are going to need our own tiles.gnome.org for a map application/platform to be feasible,” says Jonas Danielsson, Maps’ chief developer.

OpenStreetMap offers its own tile servers, but it’s not yet clear whether their use in GNOME Maps would go against their terms of service. The toner lite tile set from mapping company Stamen is often used together with OpenStreetMap data. It’s a relationship that works well; the uNav app for Ubuntu Phone makes use of both services.

Because of the breakage Ubuntu GNOME has decided to drop Maps from the the desktop seed ahead of Ubuntu GNOME 16.04.1 LTS due next week.

Sad, but necessary. Shipping a Maps app that doesn’t work would be a rather directionless decision, no?