There’s a new way to get thousands of local points of interest into your web maps: the CloudMade Data Market Place. There’s a fee for using the data, but otherwise it’s as easy as the standard CloudMade API (our CloudMade API profile). For a few hundred dollars per year, you can add any restaurant in the U.S., hospitals in the UK to your map, or one of about 80 datasets.
If it sounds a little steep to you, consider the alternative of finding the data yourself and installing it on your own server. Then you also need to worry about keeping the data updated. CloudMade does this automatically every month or quarter, depending on the dataset. If your application counts on being able to show points of interest, it makes sense to pay for it.
With CloudMade datasets, you also don’t need to worry about querying the database. We’ve long wanted a geo database in the cloud. Google’s Maps Data could provide a simple version, but does not have rich query ability. One new API has come close: the recently-launched GeoAPI.
For simpler uses, the features long available in CloudMade may put it over the edge. It has customizeable mapping tiles, something no other provider has without installing your own version of OpenStreetMap (the same underlying map data used by CloudMade). Plus, CloudMade promises that monetization options are coming soon. With it, developers will be able to share the revenue from sponsored points of interest and other location-based ads.