Open data means you can ...
Display geocoding results on any map.
Use results behind a firewall or publicly.
Use the data commercially.
Use the data in apps, print, wherever you like.
Store geocoding results as long as you like.
Keep results even after you stop being a customer.
Correct OSM whenever you see a problem.
Benefit from the continual fixes of the crowd.
No need to wait endlessly for your data supplier.
The problems with closed/proprietary data
- restrictions around using the data commercially
- restrictions around how long the data can be stored
- restrictions around who can access the data, for example charging more if it is used behind a firewall.
- restrictions around how you can display the data, for example allowing geodata to only be displayed on a certain brand of map. Finally, proprietary data services are typically also much more expensive.
Learning more about open data
- As always, Wikipedia has a good, general overview of the topic of open data.
- If you're new to OpenStreetMap, learnOSM is a good place to get started.
- The OpenStreetMap Foundation produces a Welcome Mat that provides a great introduction to OSM specifically aimed at organizations.
- The UK's Open Data Institute (ODI) offers many resources around the topic of open data.