[Geowanking] LazyWeb request
chris at deaddodo.com
Mon Jan 26 14:59:35 PST 2004
On Monday, January 26, 2004, at 08:37 pm, Tim O'Reilly wrote:
> What's more, Google, Amazon and EBay all leverage the behavior that
> Clay Shirky outlined (I think this was in his talk Listening to
> Napster but I can't find it in the published paper), namely, that the
> system is architected in such a way users build the database as a side
> effect of their individual "selfish" pursuits, rather than being paid
> or volunteering.
In my mind, this is key. I hate to be English about this, but this is a
big social conundrum to solve, not just a technical one. Give people a
reason to contribute. This is hard on the Internet - in the real world,
Zagat, for example, give you a free guide for filling in a review form.
The trouble is that there are very few pure-play consumer GIS services
that people want - geodata normally enhances other services (what would
eBay be like, for example, if it actually understood where sellers and
The technical problem is the proprietary data. Amazon would be nothing
without its extensive book database. Geo services need a base level of
accurate data (including hard stuff, like roads). I've been played with
TIGER, and the US is far better off than most countries, but the
'difficult' stuff is still only kept up to date by a few companies.
A platform is definitely what is needed - or more likely, small pieces
loosely joined by a common data understanding. Example services needed
are geo-tagged data stores for text, pictures, sound, video, mapping
and map annotation services, and some machinery to turn real-world
places ("Bob's Big Burger Bar, 500 Lost Highway") into something
computers can deal with (-124.566, 32.567).
A platform that can link all these pieces together (understand and
advertise what and where each location-based service is good at) would
allow service creators to plug geography into their apps without having
to learn the intricacies of GML, geo licensing etc. etc.
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