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Innovation & Job News

Midcity mapmaking platform grows to 30 employees, plans more hires

MapBox, the custom mapmaking platform behind many of the apps on every smartphone, has launched several new features and is undergoing rapid expansion. The company, which was founded in 2010 by Eric Gundersen, currently has 30 employees and, according to Gundersen, has grown by 25 percent since January 2013.

"There's a lot of demand for us to push into fresh areas like satellite and multilingual support," Gundersen says, of MapBox's recent expansion. 

Foursqure, Hipmunk and Evernote are just a few of the apps whose maps are provided by MapBox. "The end user [of MapBox] isn't my mom," Gundersen jokes. "We don't build the apps. We provide a platform for app developers to create unique experiences for others."

One of MapBox's most recent projects involves reworking the map on Le Monde, one of the largest French-language daily newspapers. MapBox now provides a custom interactive map with labels in French for the paid online edition of the paper. "The ability to have a map in the local language is huge," Gundersen says. With the language markers coming from open-source data, MapBox will be providing Spanish- and German-language maps in the next few months.

He believes apps are trending away from using a single map provider (Google), marking a large change in the market. "We've been consolidating around a single map since 2005," he explains. "We're going to undo that consolidation over the next two years." 

Another recent launch for MapBox is Cloudless Atlas, a set of satellite images of Earth with no clouds. "We've made the clouds go away," Gundersen explains. "There are literally no clouds blocking [the Earth]. It's wicked clean. It's the most beautiful world map that's been designed." Cloudless Atlas was an enormous undertaking, requiring more than 40 servers and a half-million NASA images to construct.

MapBox is currently hiring designers, cartographers and node.js developers. "We'll probably hire another dozen people by the end of the year," says Gundersen.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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