Newfound Gap is an emerging, community-based space for local entrepreneurs, and the folks behind it are using Google Maps to help get their businesses up and running.
The startup is using its own mapping technology, OpenStreetMap, to track its business and to build a community of people who can help connect the dots to get their ideas off the ground.
Next Big Futures cofounder and CEO Josh Johnson said he wanted to use Google Maps so that he could see the area he’s building, rather than having to drive out to the site himself.
OpenStreetMaps is a free, open-source mapping application that allows people to create their own maps, as well as help others with projects like building a neighborhood map or a street-level street sign.
Johnson said Next Big Gap wants to provide an easy, accessible way to navigate Next Big, as a community.
“We think that’s the best way to use our community and bring it into the digital space, to make it as easy as possible for people to get started,” he said.
Johnson and his partners built the website Next Big in September.
The company hopes to open up more space to local entrepreneurs in the next few months.
“OpenStreetMap is not a competitor to the map service, but a tool to help connect and bring people together,” Johnson said.
Next big will also be using the map to show its progress to its customers.
Johnson is also using the mapping service to find and connect to other businesses that are using OpenStreet Maps.
“As a local business, we’re a little bit stuck because we can’t see a lot of our business because the maps aren’t up,” he explained.
Next BGs use OpenStreetMapping to show their business, but Johnson said it’s the mapping and community infrastructure that makes the maps truly useful.
“That’s why we’re using the OpenStreet map to tell people what’s happening in the city,” he added.
Johnson also said that the maps are easy to use.
He said that he only needed to sign up for Next Big to use it, but he could quickly access the service by typing in his email address.
The next big map was built on top of OpenStreetmap and OpenStreet Map Plus, a mapping service that has been around for a while, but is now available on the web.
Johnson explained that it’s important to give people an easy way to get the maps up and up to date, as it makes it easier to track business activity.
OpenMaps and Open StreetMap Plus were developed by the Open Map Alliance, which Johnson said is an organization he helped start.
He explained that he was able to help build OpenStreet maps because he was the CEO of a company called OpenMap.
OpenMap is an open source mapping service, so the mapping data is not proprietary.
Open maps are open source and freely available.
Johnson hopes to use OpenMaps to help people make better maps for themselves.
“It’s great that we can use Open Maps to build something for the next generation of entrepreneurs and people looking to build local businesses,” he concluded.