[OpenSDI] Re: [Geowanking] comments please - near final draft, open letter to google
cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Thu Jul 28 14:00:49 PDT 2005
Please continue to publish your letter, possibly with Jonathan's
From my reading of Jon's comments, he talked about the issues with
Google, but did not present the letter itself.
I agree with Jonathon that we shouldn't focus on Google stealing
developers from our efforts. But the growth of a few web is dependant
on open standards and it would be good if Google worked with the OGC
rather than against it.
I'd like to see your letter publish widely - I think slashdot.org would
link to it, and then you could force a conversation between Google and
the OGC to work toward each other.
From Google's point of view, Jon is just one of the billions of Map
users and his comments probably won't be heard by anyone except the rep
who he met.
An open letter publised by slashdot would need to be read by Google's
marketing and stategic planning departments. Then responded to.
Mike Liebhold wrote:
> Thanks for your thoughts Jonathan, and for sharing details of your
> conversation with Daniel Lederman at Google. Frankly I had hoped to
> socialize these ideas a bit, within in the geospatial community before
> presenting them directly to Google. Oh well.
> Now that the _draft_'open letter' has found it's way to Google, Let's
> get on, shall we, talking a bit, among ourselves, exploring how to most
> constructively engage Google:
> The fundamental premises is that there are many conditions where Google
> can play effectively and profitably, and where many of us hope they'll
> play constructively:
> 1. Google mapping software promises to become powerful new development
> component for geospatial and location services, as part of a much larger
> and more complex ecology of information, software and services.
> 2. Utilization of Google code, while available is restricted, and almost
> inextricably linked to proprietary data and images. (Maps are media, but
> not the medium. A geospatial web is the medium.)
> 3. There are, so far no current effective mechanisms for finding,
> exchanging, layering, or combining user-created google maps.
> 4. Programmers would like to interchange data with Google Maps and
> Google Earth, Importing and exporting data between Google and open
> mapping environments is awkward, at best, and prohibeted at worst.
> 5. The OGC has been building code and systems, for many years with
> geographers, domain academics computer scientists to create robust and
> open software ecosystem for exchanging, layering, and combining
> user-created maps.
> 6. There is no comprehensive online search capability for online
> geospatial data.
> 7. Much open geospatial software development is voluntary and in
> constant need of underwriting and engaged philanthropy, just like the
> way Google supports the Mozilla foundation.
> 8. Just as their older brothers were the architects and builders of
> the worldwide web, modern geo and map hackers are not a destructive
> force, rather natural allies for Google as the new generation architects
> and builders of code and systems for a geospatial web.
> 9. There is a large existing network of programmers, cartographers,
> geographers, artists, and entrepreneurs trying to understand how to
> incorporate Google mapping into their worlds.
> One preliminary conclusion is that beyond simply reading or commenting
> on an open e-mail letter, many impacted communities need to find many
> direct and indirect, personal and collective mechanisms for
> constructively engaging Google in an open geoweb.
> Jonathan Doig wrote:
>> Hi Cam
>> I met with Daniel Lederman the Google responsible for "Strategic
>> Partnering Development" in Sydney 20/7 and raised some of this stuff.
>> A few points from our discussion FYI:
>> * Google wouldn't be interested in providing WMS access to their
>> imagery, even a part of their imagery (eg NSW) that might be provided
>> to them with this right intact, because the imagery all goes in
>> together and they couldn't guarantee a hacker couldn't get WMS access
>> to other more proprietary imagery not just NSW.
>> * I proposed that Google could play the role of registry in the
>> publish-find-bind model and suggested they talk to OGC (/members)
>> about this. Apparently they've talked in the past about stuff but
>> hadn't got anywhere - seems the starting points, assumptions etc were
>> too divergent. Eg an insistence (from one GIS software vendor) that
>> the data must be free. So now they've lobbed KML into the ring and
>> we'll see how it pans out.
>> * Google's business model is to sell advertising within a compelling
>> user environment. This does not depend on software or data being
>> proprietary - they're just costs they have to bear to create Google
>> Earth now.
>> IMHO the tone of the letter is a bit off. The main (initial) point
>> comes across as sour grapes - Google's set up next door and they've
>> taken all our customers away - boo hoo. If I were Google I'd say well
>> that's what happens when someone invents a better mousetrap. I suggest
>> you focus up front on what you want Google to do that would help the
>> OS community and expand (or at least not hurt) Google's business model
>> (see above).
>> Frankly the argument that user-collected data will grow to replace
>> commercial data like satellite imagery or even street maps any time
>> soon is... a tad optimistic. Maybe I've misunderstood.
>> Also - maybe I'm iggorant but it seems to me OGC doesn't have an
>> answer to KML and it's such an obvious requirement (at least after the
>> fact) - a file format that allows users to share web maps as easily as
>> clicking a link, to open in their preferred mapping client. In the OGC
>> world the nearest seems to be a Web Map Context, but it doesn't
>> actually work across vendors yet according to my spies, and I think it
>> doesn't support WFS yet. And does it specify a standard file extension
>> that can be registered in Windows?
>> > We hope you will receive these suggestion in the constructive spirit
>> > intended,
>> Me too.
>> Jonathan Doig
>> Program Director
>> Community Access to Natural Resources Information
>> Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources
>> Visit the NSW Natural Resource Atlas
>> www.NRAtlas.nsw.gov.au <http://www.NRAtlas.nsw.gov.au>
>> Ph: 02 9895 7781
>> Mobile: 0409 049185
>> Fax: 02 9895 7834
>> PO Box 3720 Parramatta NSW 2124
>> >>> "Daniel Lederman" <dlederman at google.com> 27/07/2005 11:19:37 pm >>>
>> Mine and others here at Google. But a response, if any, will not come
>> from me. Any outbound public statement will come from someone in our
>> pr group. A lack of or delay in response may not mean we don't care,
>> we get asked to comment on hundreds of issues and causes and cannot
>> respond to each one of them. Often our responses are by innovation
>> rather than words.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Phillip Rudd <Phillip.Rudd at nt.gov.au>
>> To: dlederman at google.com <dlederman at google.com>
>> CC: Vic Stephens <Vic.Stephens at nt.gov.au>; steve.blake at anzlic.org.au
>> <steve.blake at anzlic.org.au>; Jonathan.Doig at dipnr.nsw.gov.au
>> <Jonathan.Doig at dipnr.nsw.gov.au>
>> Sent: Wed Jul 27 05:12:04 2005
>> Subject: FW: [OpenSDI] Re: [Geowanking] comments please - near final
>> draft, open letter to google
>> FYI - Will this end up on your desk Daniel?
>> From: opensdi-bounces at lists.eogeo.org@NTGEMAG On Behalf Of Cameron
>> Shorter <cameron.shorter at gmail.com>
>> Sent: Sunday, 24 July 2005 6:40 AM
>> To: geowanking at lists.burri.to; OpenSDI
>> Subject: [OpenSDI] Re: [Geowanking] comments please - near
>> final draft, open letter to google
>> I'm CCing this email to the Open-SDI list as there will be a number of
>> people on this list interested in this letter.
>> Thankyou for putting together this well thought out letter. It is an
>> excellent idea. I suggest you put on a wiki-type webpage somewhere
>> where people have the ability to sign in a comment at the bottom.
>> And make sure it is on a server which has the ability to handle the
>> slashdot effect.
>> I'd like to sign my name - Cameron Shorter, core developer of
>> http://mapbuilder.sf.net <http://mapbuilder.sf.net> , a Web Based
>> WMS/WFS client.
>> I agree with you that Google is more likely to be reseptive to this
>> letter, however it is important to let Microsoft and Yahoo respond as
>> well. Hopefully we can force Microsoft, Yahoo and Google to make
>> statements about how they plan to address geographic open standards.
>> And saying nothing will be revealing and embarrassing for the company.
>> Also, I agree that Open Standards are more important to Google and the
>> Open Source community than crushing a few projects and should be the
>> first point.
>> Mike Liebhold wrote:
>> > Dear friends,
>> > Here below is an 'open letter' that I plan on sending to google.
>> > I do, I'd like to ask first for any suggested edits or additions
>> > [please], and second for co-signatures joining this request. I plan on
>> > collecting names over the weekend and then sending this to google
>> > next week.
>> > Best-
>> > Mike Liebhold
>> > -------------------------------------------------
>> > An open Letter to Google
>> > Dear Google
>> > Thanks indeed for officially opening APIs to Google maps. Based on the
>> > volume of creativity unleashed as a result, this was clearly a great
>> > idea. Thanks too, for, the public release of Google Earth, which has
>> > provoked an unprecedented interest in computational models of the
>> > Unfortunately there has been some inadvertant damage as a result of
>> > of these otherwise well intentioned moves. Just as it is
>> impossible to
>> > walk across a lawn without stepping on micro-organisms, Google,
>> > of it's size is having a potentially crushing impact on a wide
>> number of
>> > grass roots and open source geospatial computing projects in two major
>> > categories, first in social mapping and locative media, there have
>> > a wide number of grass roots efforts underway for the last few years,
>> > that, as a result of the publication of O'Reilly's new Mapping Hacks
>> > book, many of these projects seemed at the cusp of gathering a
>> > mass of support from the creative, and open source programming
>> > communities. Among too-many projects to list here, openguides,
>> > civicmaps, worldkit, pointmapper, and openstreetmaps are fine
>> > Now instead of trying out some amazing new open map hacks, many
>> > Second, Ever since White House initiatives initiatied by Vice
>> > Al Gore, there has been an enormous, mostly volunteer effort for
>> over 10
>> > years to create a substantial infrastucture for an new interoperable,
>> > planet-wide geographic information system baased on a suite of open
>> > standards for exchanging geographic data including WMS ( Web Map
>> > WFS ( Web Feature Server) and GML, Geographic Markup language.
>> There are
>> > many notable projects including Mapserver, Geoserver, uDig, Worldwind.
>> > The combination of grass-roots spatial hypermedia, and opensource
>> > mapping might well lead to a new ecosytem of services, sometimes
>> > a geospatial web, or simply the geoweb. Now, instead, enormous
>> > energy is pulling away into Google's essentially proprietary mapping
>> > environments.
>> > Instead of competing with the grass roots, Chris Holmes, and others
>> > suggested that Google might do very well, by embracing open mapping.
>> > there are two examples of intrinsic challenges to open mapping
>> posed, by
>> > Google's current geospatial services.
>> > Because google maps includes proprietary data from 3rd party vendors,
>> > Navteq, Teleatlas, et. al. google is constrained, -and- constraining
>> > open development, by prohibiting users and developers from including
>> > google map tiles freely in other service environments, expecially
>> > projects like Web Map Server, and Worldwind, an open source globe
>> > produced by NASA.
>> > And, because of their legacy efforts, the Keyhole team is promoting
>> > their proprietary KML, Keyhole Markup Language, diverting community
>> > attention from the emerging WFS/GML tools created at great time and
>> > expense by the open mapping community.
>> > Many of beleive and hope that Google can be convinced to do no
>> evil' in
>> > support of an open geospatial web.
>> > How? First by agregating, and combining user created google map hack
>> > layers so that the Google user hacks and data are more important than
>> > the Navteq, and Teleatlas base layers. Google could continue to
>> ride the
>> > growing wave of map hacking energy by enoouraging value of
>> > user hacks and applications, Google could become less dependent on
>> > private data. Google could crawl for google map hacks, and build tools
>> > to combine in layers, the user data -minus proprietary base layers.
>> > Given, Navteq and Teleatlas data IS more accurate and 'prettier' than
>> > public source TIGER, and Open Streetmap data, Rich Gibson, one of the
>> > authors of Mapping Hacks suggests, it would cool, and useful if Google
>> > added a Tiger layer and allowed free-er. Second, by support a
>> > re-engineering of Keyhole's code base to become completely
>> > wiht open standards, so that users may easily import standard data
>> > Google Earth while preserving Keyhole's business model of packaging
>> > premium data for high end users, like television broadcasters.
>> > Google historically has played a monumental role in making the
>> > usable by gaterhing and filtering massive amounts of data.
>> > nothing like Google exists for geospatial and cartographic data on
>> > net, which is currently almost unfindable in a baroque collection of
>> > gateways, libraries, 'one-stop' portals, and repositories. Google
>> > create a great new business, while providing a huge public service by
>> > searching for, indexing and presenting a comprehensive access to
>> > geospatial data.
>> > Finally, just as Google actively supports the Mozilla foundation.
>> > could provide definitive support to the birth of an open geospatial
>> > by should by providing significant finacial support underwriting many
>> > struggling, but critically important efforts like openstreetmap,
>> > civicmaps, World Wind, and WMS/WFS/GML related projects like
>> > Geoserver, uDig too.
>> > If google really is right on the edge between open mapping and a
>> > vendor driven proprietary environment it shouldn't take much to move
>> > away form the 'dark' side. Google will be welcomed as a tremendously
>> > helpful entity in an open software ecosystem instead of leaving open
>> > mappers to the futility of trying to compete, with the Google
>> > 'bulldozer in the sandbox'
>> > We hope you will receive these suggestion in the constructive spirit
>> > intended, and begin right away to incorporate these ideas in your
>> > development, and by making a public statement as soon as possible in
>> > support of an open ecosystem for the goepspatial web.
>> > Thanks, in advance, for your kind consideration.
>> > signed:
>> > Who else wants to sign, besides me?
>> > - mike liebhold
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Geowanking mailing list
>> > Geowanking at lists.burri.to
>> > http://lists.burri.to/mailman/listinfo/geowanking
>> <http://lists.burri.to/mailman/listinfo/geowanking> >
>> Cameron Shorter
>> http://cameron.shorter.net <http://cameron.shorter.net>
>> http://mapbuilder.sourceforge.net <http://mapbuilder.sourceforge.net>
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