Today we speak with Edvin Brobeck, a member of the team behind new OpenStreetMap print on demand service Mapiful, who let consumers create stylish custom black and white maps of any location.


1. Who are you and what do you do? What got you into OpenStreetMap?

We are Mapiful - A startup from Sweden that allows anyone to create, design and order customized maps over their favorite place in the world.We quickly figured out that we needed our own hosted data source to be able to render the maps the way we wanted. OpenStreetMap was simply the best solution for us to create a service that works and look the way we want.

2. What is Mapiful? What is the story behind the service?

We are a group of four friends who think building stuff is a great way of spending time together and learning new things. We are entrepreneurs who have our own companies in different business areas such as accounting, web design/development and legal tech. We share a love for maps, and we realized that we were not the only ones to do so. That’s why we built Mapiful - to allow everyone to put their favorite place in their office or living room.

3. What recommendations do you have for anyone trying to build a consumer service using OSM?

Don’t underestimate the sheer size and volume of all the data if you are going for a self hosted solution. To build a service that performs well under heavy load and traffic spikes require a thought through infrastructure.

4. Over the last few years we’ve seen more and more “print on demand” services built using OSM (see SplashMaps, Telescope Cards, etc). What steps could the global OpenStreetMap community take to help support the use of OSM by design/print businesses?

We think that clear examples of best practices would be a great way to start. What can be done, how would you do it or what are you allowed to do and so on. We feel that there are players like Mapbox who have made great progress on creating tools for combining design and data when it comes to geographical visualizations, but more should follow.

5. OSM recently celebrated its 10th birthday, where do you think the project will be in 10 years time?

Mapiful or OSM? In ten years from now we hope to see Posters from Mapiful in places we never thought of. We plan to expand with more design options, themes and map styles. For all we now we might have nautical maps, or star maps - who knows?

For OSM i predict a bright future. I think that usage growth comes naturally alongside new tools. We are going to see a lot of new smart connected gadgets and integrations.

Many thanks Edvin and congrats to you and the team on building a beautiful showcase of OpenStreetMap data and hopefully a thriving business. Anyone interested in tracking their progress should follow @mapiful on twitter.

You can see all the Open Geo interviews here. If you are or know of someone we should interview, please get in touch, we’re always looking to promote people doing interesting things with open geo data.