OpenStreetMap is an amazing, free, open-source alternative to the other mapping tools on the Internet. And now, it just got a whole lot better: it now offers A-to-B directions, directly from its homepage.

While third parties have used OpenStreetMap data to offer directions in the past, the main site now pulls together a number of tools to provide you with direction for travel by bicycle, car and foot. It's never been OpenStreetMap's intention to become a one-stop-shop for all your mapping needs, but until now you may have not realised quite how powerful the open-source tool is.

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The hope is that the addition of directions will make OpenStreetMap a more popular destination—which it will—and in turn grow the community that edit and improve it. That is one mightily fine feedback loop, and one that we look forward to joining. In turn, we can expect the rapid pace of development of the service to continue apace.

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It's easy to see this as an incremental change to an existing mapping service—which it is. But it's more than that; it's the turning point where a useful open-source service can finally take on the big boys. It's the best kind of progress. So, go on, find yourself some directions. [OpenStreetMap]