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BigTinCan Maps helps you fix your street

A new open-source mapping app goes beyond guiding you from A to B, allowing you to fix maps on the fly and clean up your community in the process.

Sure Google Maps is great, but what does that huge faceless organisation really know about the streets it maps?

BigTinCan Maps are available on your Android smartphone (Credit: CBSi)

Australian start-up BigTinCan (BTC) doesn't pretend it knows your community as well as you do, so it has developed new web-based mapping tools that not only guides you from A to B, but also lets you mark local points of interest (POI) and areas that need the attention of the local councils, like potholes and graffiti. You can even amend the streets themselves if you find they are incorrectly drawn.

This service, known as Fix My Street, is available to users of BTC Maps on smartphones. The software takes advantage of the ubiquitous built-in GPS receivers in new mobile phones to accurately pinpoint the user's location on the map before uploading the eye-sore in question to a dedicated database. This information will then be viewable by the authorities responsible for the upkeep of these areas.

BTC Maps is a new web-based mapping service that runs on maps created by the Open Street Maps (OSM) community, an online collective dedicated to creating open-source, user-generated maps of the world. Like Wikipedia, the OSM can be edited by any member of the community, with the goal being more accurate maps thanks to thousands of sources worldwide. As such, BTC Maps users wishing to contribute to the map will need to register to the OSM community before they can upload map adjustments.

Recently, BTC launched its maps on the BlackBerry and Android platforms, both of which are available for free from the BTC website or via the associated application stores. Similar software for the iPhone and Nokia's Symbian platform are being developed and should be released in the near future.