The mapsforge project was initiated in 2008 as a student project and currently involves about 10 students and scientific staff. It is centered on the free geo data collected and made available by the OpenStreetMap project.
The overall goal of our project is to provide a free and open toolbox that enables the community to easily create new OpenStreetMap-based applications. Provided tools and APIs include solutions for map rendering, route planning and navigation, POI indexing and search, map overlays and more.
The project differs from other open source or commercial projects using OSM data by consequently setting focus on mobile devices such as smartphones (currently Android). Furthermore, we aim at storing map and routing data completely on the device, which allows independence from any internet connection. Ressource limitations of this class of devices such as very few main memory pose interesting challenges in our strive for delivering well-engineered software components. With regard to mobile devices we currently concentrate on the Android platform.
One of the main drawbacks of commercial mapping and navigation systems (besides the price) is their lack of extensibility and adaptibility. Also the user of such a system depends on the geo data which is provided by the manufacturer. Mapsforge aims at providing more flexibility by defining an extensible, modularized system architecture and by utilizing collaboratively generated geo data from the OpenStreetMap project. For example, the mapsforge tool set and client software allows for creating specialized maps such as hiking or skiing maps.
In April 2010 the project went public. Please visit mapsforge.org for further information.