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Using and Enhancing the Free Map of the World.
By Frederik Ramm,
and Steve Chilton.
Geofabrik was created out of the conviction that free geodata created by projects like OpenStreetMap will become increasingly attractive for commercial uses.
Free, community-maintained data like that produced by the OpenStreetMap project is a real alternative to the offerings of the trade's top players. Such data is not only free of charge, but also comes with fewer license restrictions than other offers.
Geofabrik GmbH was incorporated in late 2007 by Jochen Topf and Frederik Ramm. Both have been working as software engineers and consultants in the Internet industry for many years. Frederik Ramm and Jochen Topf regularly give talks and workshops about OpenStreetmap or neogeography in general. In February 2008, their German OpenStreetMap book was published by Lehmanns. An English version is planned.
Frederik Ramm is an active OpenStreetMap contributor since 2006. He has worked on distributed map rendering and played an important part in specifying and introducing an improved data model in the autumn of 2007. He was the lead developer of the JOSM editor for some time, and currently maintains several mailing lists and tools for undo and revert in case of errors or vandalism. He is board member of OSMF and a member of the OSMF Data Working Group.
Jochen Topf has been with OpenStreetMap since 2006 as well. From 2007 until 2010 he was, together with Frederik Ramm, one of Geofabrik's Managing Directors. But because Jochen preferred software development over managing a business, he has returned to being a freelancer - including in Geofabrik projects. In OpenStreetMap, Jochen is perhaps best known for his Taginfo and Osmium projects. OSM also benefits from his regularly updated OSMCoastline coastline data set.
In 2011, Christine Karch has joined Frederik as a Geofabrik Managing director. Even back when the business was founded, she had a hand in it and designed the original Geofabrik web site. She's a physicist by trade, but has spent most of her working life in software development. In OpenStreetMap she's doing her part improving the networking among OSM developers and runs the Karlsruhe Hack Weekends.
Geofabrik has a network of freelancers with excellent OpenStreetMap experience. In addition, a few students work for us in part-time jobs or internships, and we regularly supervise students who do papers or theses on OpenStreetMap topics.