Peermaps is a distributed, offline-friendly alternative to commercial map providers such as google maps. Instead of fetching data from a centralized tile service, your computer fetches map data from other peers across the network.
Peer to peer protocols like bittorrent spread out the work of hosting very large files among all the participants in the network who are interested in a file. Centralized services can be overwhelmed if too many people want to download a file, but p2p services flip scaling on its head: the more people are downloading and sharing, the better the network works for everyone.
With the powerful inverse scaling dynamics of p2p, we can run a mapping platform at a fixed, modest cost, no matter how popular it becomes.
As you download map data from your peers, your computer saves that data locally so that you can share it with other people who ask for it. This means that when you go offline, you'll still be able to view maps you've looked at previously.
We've secured grant funding to improve our initial prototypes and develop new components for a fully p2p web-based map viewer to display OpenStreetMap data with rolling updates.
Our target for this phase of development is the web as a web app and an embeddable map component with an enhanced experience available for beaker browser and for users who install a browser extension using new libdweb features.
We're working closely with the dat project and digital democracy / mapeo to share in the work of designing and implementing common components across our respective projects.
If you'd like to support our work, we have an account on opencollective where you can help fund development.