Why does iNaturalist use Google Maps and not Open Street Maps?

I’ve noticed that the iNat infrastructure mainly uses Google Maps for displays (at least as a default). While that is not a problem in itself, it does strike me that iNat (specially now as a US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization) is more aligned with the values of Open Street Maps.

I know that Wikipedia and Wikidata volunteers have many collaborations both with Open Street Maps (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Collaboration_with_Wikipedia) and iNaturalist (https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:WikiProject_Biodiversity), for example.

So I was wondering: is the decision process to use Google Maps available anywhere? I know it would be a big tech change to move into Open Street Maps, but are there other reasons to keep Google Maps as the map provider?


There is an open Feature Request to use Open Street Maps, with responses from staff including this detailed one.

To avoid redundant discussions I’m going to close this topic and refer you to the thread in the link above so you can add your thoughts there.

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