Wikipedia iOS App Debuts, as OpenStreetMap Replaces Google Maps

Wikimedia went with the open source map service in the latest version of the app

By on April 6th, 2012 18:21 GMT

It hasn't been long since Wikimedia launched its Wikipedia Android app, and the foundation is claiming that the app has been doing rather well. In fact, it's been downloaded 2.25 million times in less than two months.

The Wikipedia app also boasts a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating. It's getting used to it, Wikimedia indicates that the app has generated some 23 million page views per month, about 10 page views per user per month.

Given the Android version's success, Wikipedia expects the new iOS app which it just introduced to do the same.

The app is fairly similar to the Android version, it's based on the same code, but the UI is in line with iOS defaults. Since it's built entirely on web technologies, HTML5, JavaScript, the app was fairly easy to port to iOS and will be easy to port to other platforms in time.

There's also an updated version of the Android app which brings some improvements and requested features.

Along with the new releases, Wikimedia is also marking a change in the map service the app uses. Previously, the Wikipedia app used Google maps for the nearby view, since that's what is installed on most smartphones today.

But it is now switching to the open-source OpenStreetMap for map data. Wikipedia believes that the open source version is a better choice only because it will work on any phone that doesn't come with Google Maps by default. Basically, that's any Android phone with Cyanogen on it or cheap Chinese devices that are not licensed by Google.

It's trivial to install Google Maps on these devices anyway, but Wikimedia wanted to sever the ties completely with the proprietary product. The Wikipedia app will use the Mapquest tiles for now, but it is working on designing its own.

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Wikipedia app now uses OpenStreetMap rather than Google Maps
   Wikipedia app now uses OpenStreetMap rather than Google Maps