A man who fostered a great reputation in the geospatial community by founding OpenStreetMap, "a free editable map of the whole world," has started working for Microsoft.  The company announced today that Steve Coast will assume the impressive title "Principal Architect of Bing Mobile."

We should note right here: this development doesn’t mean Coast is turning his back on OpenStreetMap or the geo community in general.  As part of the deal, Coast apparently made sure that Microsoft will be allowing access to its global orthorectified aerial imagery.

Also, a post on the Bing Maps Blog explained, "As a Principal Architect for Bing Mobile, Steve will help develop better mapping experiences for our customers and partners, and lead efforts to engage with OpenStreetMap and other open source and open data projects."

open maps images

So it looks like this move is going to benefit Bing, Bing’s users, and people who prefer to steer clear of legal and technical restrictions when it comes to mapping.  Along with Coast himself, presumably.

Coast wrote on his blog today, "[I’m] super excited to tell you that I’ve accepted a position as Principal Architect at Bing Mobile and am moving to the Seattle, Washington area to work on maptastic things!  Yay!"