launchpad does not show maps

Bug #264138 reported by Bruce Cowan on 2008-09-02
This bug affects 19 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Launchpad itself

Bug Description


Launchpad disabled its maps feature due to the overheads of using Google Maps.

Possible solutions

* Completely remove maps code & data from Launchpad
* Use OpenStreetMap / OpenLayers

Diogo Matsubara (matsubara) wrote :

Hi Bruce,

thanks for the report. We're going with Google Maps only for now. We might reconsider this in the future when OSM provides all features that Google Maps does.

Changed in launchpad:
status: New → Won't Fix

I'm not sure what you mean when you say "We might reconsider this in the future when OSM provides all features that Google Maps does". OpenStreetMap is just data and tiles generated from them. It is usually used with OpenLayers, which is the component which actually displays the map. OpenStreetMap actually has a map on user pages like the LP now does, so this could be used as a reference.

Edgemaster (grand-edgemaster) wrote :

+1 to this.
Using OpenLayers is not necessarily required, the OSM tiles could be used within the existing Google API, they can just drop straight in.

Kyle Gordon (kylegordon) wrote :

It would be great to see OSM in use on Launchpad.

If the Launchpad team could clarify what features they use and need, it would help significantly and could even lead to a tailored view of data for their purposes.

spaetz (spaetz) wrote :

I would also appreciate the usage of OSM maps, for what it's worth. What is currently missing?

Pietro Battiston (toobaz) wrote :

I also think this is an important issue.

I can't understand which map features aren't provided by OSM API, but anyway as an owner of some small projects - and my homepage - I'd rather like no map than a Google Maps one, so please provide the possibility to switch the feature off, in particular when no geographic info is still given.

Actually, the best thing, if you really really thing Google Maps is better, would be to give me the possibility to choose between Google and OSM on my page and my projects.

In the meanwhile, I'm wondering why my comment on still hasn't been approved after days I posted it. It was absolutely polite and correct. It is not a big problem itself, but I hope it's a unique case, because if launchpad is just trying to shut up those who don't like Google on their pages, _this_ really would be a big problem and a big suggestion to migrate my coding somewhere else.

Pietro Battiston (toobaz) wrote :

Bug is confirmed and just waiting for a fix in Launchpad. The reason for the "won't fix" needs to be clarified.

Changed in launchpad:
status: Won't Fix → Confirmed
Matthew Revell (matthew.revell) wrote :

Pietro: Hi, I'm one of the guys that moderates comments on the Launchpad News blog. I'm sorry that your comment wasn't approved. I don't remember seeing it in the moderation queue so I can only assume it was deleted accidentally. We've had a great deal of comment spam lately and it looks like your comment may have been lost amongst it.

If you're still interested, you could post your comment again and I'll approve it as soon as I see it come through.

Pietro Battiston (toobaz) wrote :

Thank you Matthew, comment now is approved and this aspect of my report is completely solved.

eSe (snaker) wrote :

I would also appreciate the usage of OSM maps

Curtis Hovey (sinzui) wrote :

We will be happy to switch to OSM when it provide the features and comprehensive data needed to map the users and teams from the planet Earth. OSM's inaccurate/incompleteness of data is crucial issue, Launchpad developers for example, cannot be mapped well because we come from all over the world.

Supporting alternate implemations is expensive, and somewhat risky. Bugs are introduced when an adapter or facade is needed to make two implementation coexist. Moreover, users file bugs when one implementation is not as good an another.

We do want to use OSM because it is easier to integrate into Launchpad. We will be re-evaluating OSM several times a year to judge if it is ready for integration.

Changed in launchpad-registry:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Pietro Battiston (toobaz) wrote :

Curtis, all this makes sense, I'm happy to know that at least you considered the idea and I can understand that just replacing Google Maps with OSM could give trouble to several users (who - groan - can't just map few meters of terrain around their house).

However... two trivial corrections:
1) OSM is more incomplete but - from my experience, but non only mine - absolutely not less accurate than Google Maps
2) in some cases, OSM is even more complete (but I frankly don't know if this applies for other places apart from Baghdad)

and two substantial points:
3) more importantly, if you will switch to OSM when it will have the global coverage Google Maps has, I'm afraid it is not so useful to re-evaluate it "several times a year"
4) most importantly, in the meanwhile just give us the possibility to _remove_ maps from the pages. It's a checkbox, (I really hope) it doesn't introduce so many bugs.

(also: I'm afraid LP couldn't use Yahoo aerial maps under OSM streets maps, but maybe on this point someone from OSM team could clarify legal situation)

Edgemaster (grand-edgemaster) wrote :

> (also: I'm afraid LP couldn't use Yahoo aerial maps under OSM streets maps, but maybe on this point someone from OSM team could clarify legal situation)

As far as I'm aware, there is nothing preventing you from doing this. The CC license requires derived works to also be licensed under CC, but since the Yahoo imagery is separable from the OSM data and images in the JS webapps since one is merely overlayed on another, this does not qualify as a derived work is (under our interpretation).

What do you consider "complete"? If LP used OSM maps, this may drive people to do some work in the area, which would be good for OSM.

Hello LP,

I don't know if this is the case, but I was actually amazed to see how many
people evaluate projects without contacting the developers involved in that

I also have trouble understanding what is missing from the OSM. "OSM's
inaccurate/incompleteness of data" - this tells me you have unspecified
problems with that project. If you were more specific I would have contacted
the OSM team myself to tell them about the problem.

Or maybe you have contacted them.
Anyway what I would like to see here is something like this:
- we, the LP team asked the OSM team about this feature A, the accuracy in
this area
- OSM responded...
- as a conclusion feature X we need is not covered by OSM now, but according
to their roadmap it will be in 1 year

What I mean is that you should let others follow you train of thoughts about
this issue (this idea leads to this, which in turn leads to...).
I do not want to sound disrespectful - any imperative in my writings comes
from bad use of the language as I come from a different culture.


"The best way to predict the future is to invent it.", 1971, Alan Kay:

Edgemastera: I know OSM's CC doesn't prevent LP from overlaying OSM on yahoo; I was afraid Yahoo imagery's license did. Doesn't it?

Pietro Battiston (toobaz) wrote :

Excuse my logorroicity, but I must correct my statement about OSM being sometimes more complete than Google Maps: it seems like it is _almost everywhere_ more complete. Just take a random city in the middle east, for example.

See for an analysis of open mapping technologies.

Curtis Hovey (sinzui) on 2009-01-02
Changed in launchpad-registry:
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Pietro Battiston (toobaz) wrote :

Sorry Curtis, "I'd like an osm map on my page" is a whishlist item, but "I don't want a Google maps map on my page" is a bug. A big (and simple to fix) bug.

I'd be grateful if you could change back the importance of this, changing the title too if you think so. Or if you prefer, I'll open a new bug to track the two issues separately.

Hi Pietro.

I changed the classification to wishlist because that describes the kind of work required to address this problem. A bug implies the documented rules are fine, but there is missing or flawed tests. This is a case where the documentation is not good, new tests need writing, and old tests must be removed.

Launchpad Blueprints is flawed. If it was symmetrical with bugs and questions, I would convert this issue to a blueprint. It requires definition of scope (to meet user need) and estimation of work (developer certainty).

A request to remove Google maps is a also a feature for the reason I provided above.

Saying as LP is Ubuntu-related, you have to jump through a huge number of hoops to do anything. Perhaps a read of The Cathedral and the Bazaar would be a good idea.

Anyway, I've registered a blueprint for what it is worth ( I'd appreciate some help with the bureaucratic details on the wiki page.

Pietro Battiston (toobaz) wrote :

Curtis: a request to remove Google maps or at least the big icon is just a bugfix for an evident regression. I opened bug 313535 to track this issue separately. Notice that the most simple solution suggested there doesn't even imply any architectural change.

Curtis Hovey (sinzui) wrote :

Ouch. Attacking the messenger is not very productive. I own the book, but that is not relevant to this issue, but I can suggest how it can be made relevant. OSS verses propriety is important, and I am certain that OSS will win on this issue.

The Registry team had a list of prioritised work, something must be dropped to undertake this issue. The Google Maps code was handed to us under the assumption it would be simple to integrate. It was not. We dedicated a developer to this issue for 1.5 releases. The cost was that team and project pages were not updated to the Launchpad 2.0 layout, nor have they been, because more urgent work was undertaken. There are new features and broken features that are more urgent then this issue--one of changing the implementation without adding for fixing Launchpad behaviour.

If someone from the community provided a drop-in replacement, I will review the code on my own time and work to get it merged into the tree. The behaviour is largely on the page, some deft updates to launchpad.js to support OSM/OpenLayer and GMap is the principle effort. Note that Launchpad is switching to YUI, and the script must be compatible. I will have to provide the code that toggle between GMap and the alternate maps code.

You may have noticed that I lash out when I'm frustrated. I don't mean any harm, but the earlier comments seem rather ignorant. It's good that you are open to improvements, but the process by which they are done seems to be very complex. Of course once LP is Free, there will no longer be an issue here.

I'm not capable of fixing this myself as I have no experience of this sort of thing. Thankfully, there are many people in OSM more qualified to do this.

Edgemaster (grand-edgemaster) wrote :

Although it yet doesn't allow multiple map types to be used together, mapstraction implements a GMaps-like API for many mapping APIs, including the majors + OSM.

I'd still prefer to see OpenLayers used, but it doesn't provide as straight-forward a migration path.

Alex Chmyr (achmyr) wrote :

I think that Osm for now growing enough fast to cover whole LP userspace, also I agree that using OSM could push users to map their home.
Also, I suggest to see on some examples of map usage to get familiar with map creating.

CloudMade creating tiles using Openstreetmap data, CM benefit that it have ability to create own styles for displaying data...

Joseph Reeves (iknowjoseph) wrote :

It should probably be noted that early in 2009 Wikimedia decided that they would add OpenStreeMap mapping to their projects (e.g. Wikipedia):

If OpenStreetMap is good enough for Wikimedia, I think it would be hard to argue that it's not good enough for user location details on Launchpad.

Kai Krueger (kakrueger) wrote :

As time has passed (two years now since the "bug" was first reported), OpenStreetMap has continued to grow its data rapidly and it is becoming increasingly usable in many places around the world. In some areas it has already surpassed the quality of Google Maps and Co (in fact for example MapQuest and Bing have them selves recently begun to use OSM data in select places in their map products), in others it is indeed still worse. So it seems like it might be a possibility to re-evaluate your choice and offer OpenStreetMap as an _additional_ source to your current Google Maps.

Luckily you don't need to replace all your existing google maps api code (although a switch to the opensource library OpenLayers would be nice), as you can just continue to use it. Google maps api allows you very easily to add OpenStreetMap as an additional layer with only a few lines of javascript.

That way, you can try out OpenStreetMap without much hassle and see if your users complain or like it.

You can find some examples of how to do it at or

Curtis Hovey (sinzui) wrote :

Google map data is the primary issue here, testing (via a self-hosting script is very desirable and doable with OL+OSM).

The JS calls to the data server must must be over https because Lp users hate getting mixed security warnings. I am not aware any tile server for OSM that provides images over HTTPS. The alternate option is to create a proxy, which is undesirable work.

I think we want to replace the gmap calls with openlayer calls for OSM data. I think this means:
* creating an OSM map
* Placing markers for users
* Adding popup for markers
* Allowing a user to add/move his marker on his location map.

We want tests for:
* showing a user's map
* Allowing a user to set his location from a map
* Showing a small team map and displaying a marker's popup
* Showing a large team map and displaying a marker's popup

Paul Sladen (sladen) wrote :

  "Why is Ubuntu Using Google Maps and not OpenStreetMaps?"
  - txwikinger, 2011-01-24

Curtis Hovey (sinzui) on 2011-01-25
summary: - Map should use OSM
+ Add OSM maps
description: updated
summary: - Add OSM maps
+ launchpad does not show maps
description: updated

On 26 January 2011 01:03, Paul Sladen <email address hidden> wrote:
>  "Why is Ubuntu Using Google Maps and not OpenStreetMaps?"
>  - txwikinger, 2011-01-24

More to the point

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