RoadGuide.ph

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RoadGuide.ph (www.roadguide.ph) is a crowd-sourced mapping project in the Philippines which aims to provide the best Garmin road map of the Philippines. Unlike OpenStreetMap, RoadGuide.ph is proprietary but the Garmin maps it produces are available for free. Contributors who have submitted enough data to the project can get the latest Contributors Map which has coverage of most of the Philippines, has tens of thousands of POIs, and is routable. Non-contributors can get the Demo Map, which has the same data as the Contributors Map but is not routable and cannot be loaded onto a Garmin GPS unit. Additionally, non-contributors can also avail of the Standard / Basic Map, which is a much older version of the Contributors Map but can be loaded to a Garmin unit and is routable.

The traditional mapping workflow of RoadGuide.ph is very similar to OpenStreetMap in that contributors are encouraged to go out and record GPS tracks of roads and to rely on personal knowledge. Additionally, RoadGuide.ph also allows contributions traced from Google's satellite imagery available in Google Earth, which OpenStreetMap does not allow. (Because of the legal uncertainty of deriving vast amounts of map data from Google's imagery, the legality of RoadGuide.ph's data is unclear.)

Contributors submit their data at the RoadGuide.ph forums by replying to several threads based on types of data and attaching their data (in .gdb or .mp formats). The submissions have to follow exact specifications and must be submitted using the proper procedure or they will be rejected. Every several weeks, an updated version of the Contributors Map is compiled and released by the project heads. Contributors who are deemed to have submitted enough data will be given an unlock code which they can use to load the Contributors Map to their GPS unit via MapSource. Each unlock code is tied to a specific GPS unit. This is done to prevent the dissemination of the Contributors Map to non-contributors.

RoadGuide.ph is effectively the Philippine version of the very successful MalSingMaps project and the MalFreeMaps project, both for Malaysia and Singapore.

As of 2011, aside from the Garmin map format, RoadGuide.ph's map is also available via the Navitel and Papago mobile applications. However, the map for those platforms do not contain the latest data, which is only reserved for the Garmin Contributors Map.

Comparison with OpenStreetMap

See also a visual comparison of the data between the two projects.

Point of comparison OpenStreetMap RoadGuide.ph
Objective To create an open and free map of the world in a neutral format and for general and specialist purposes To create a free satellite navigation routable map of the Philippines with the primary target being Garmin GPS units
Copyright and licensing Open and free. The current license is Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0. A possible future license is the Open Database License which provides for attribution and sharealike provisions on the database itself. Contributors still retain rights on their individual data and these can be contributed elsewhere. Proprietary. The aggregate data is owned by JKLinc, which is the company that operates the RoadGuide.ph project. Contributors still retain rights on their individual data and these can be contributed elsewhere since JKLinc does not require exclusivity.
Routing Data coverage Worldwide. In the Philippines, the best coverage is in Metro Manila with moderate coverage in Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, Cavite, and Davao City. Majority of national roads are included. Philippines only. Coverage in the country is very good for almost all urban areas. National roads are covered and many rural roads are included.
Data quality Very incomplete. Since routing is not the singular goal of OSM, routing-specific data, such as oneways, turn restrictions, barriers, and the like, are often missing in the covered areas. In addition, satnav device-specific features (such as customized guidance, lane assist, etc.) are often absent altogether. Very good. Since routing and satellite navigation is the primary goal of RoadGuide.ph, the contributed data is focused on these aspects. Since Garmin is the primary target brand, Garmin devices are well supported.

One side effect of this is that RoadGuide.ph has the convention that POIs must be placed about 6-8 meters (or so) from the centerline of the access road even if the actual location is further away. This makes the data useless for creating actual graphical maps where the relative location of POIs with respect to each other matters, but this makes the data excellent for routing since the user can be pointed to the correct road for access to the POI.

Generation mechanism OpenStreetMap data can be compiled to routable data for use in satnav devices using any of several tools (for example see OSM Map On Garmin). But since OSM is not particularly targeted to any particular satnav device, full support for any devices is not present.

For the Philippines in particular, the most popular OSM-based Garmin routable map is provided by Maning. This map is generated from raw OSM data into a Garmin IMG file using mkgmap.

RoadGuide.ph uses custom software to aggregate its maps and compiles the data into the Garmin format using cGPSmapper.
Generation schedule Maning's OSM Garmin maps are updated almost daily using an automatic cronjob that downloads a Philippine OSM extract from Geofabrik and runs it through mkgmap. Thus, data updates to OSM can be seen in the Garmin map usually within 2 days.

Before February 2010, the Garmin map was compiled manually every two months.

RoadGuide.ph publishes updates to its maps in an irregular schedule spanning several weeks between updates. In each update, the project creates a new thread in its forum where users submit contributions and corrections. After a cut-off date, these submissions are then incorporated into the update.
Target platforms Any for which a converter is available. There are converters to generate data for Garmin and Magellan devices. There are OSM-based apps or satnav apps that can consume OSM data for the Java Mobile platform. There are also apps for Android and iOS devices. Garmin is the primary target device. A second target platform is Papago, which releases satnav apps for iOS. Papago licenses the data from RoadGuide.ph and JKLinc gets some royalties which go towards maintaining the website.