[Geowanking] google maps, etc + data quality vs commoditization?

andrea giacomelli pibinko at gmail.com
Tue Feb 2 21:50:49 PST 2010

Hi Brian -  my 0.2 Eurocents from Italy -

2010/2/2 Brian Russo <brian at beruna.org>

> Sorta, yeah.
> I'm mostly curious if anyone else thinks data quality in "Web 2.0"
> foundational datasets like Google Maps matters. So I suppose yes, some sort
> of town hall debate over it. I haven't really seen much discussion on it.

quality matters anyway. possibly the debate can become academic, if it's not
related to some sort of "means to an end".

I think that, as you expand a potential user base for a product, it is
common practice that quality may be a little lower than for products living
in more specialized sectors.

my feeling is that many "2.0"-type datasets are serving more those who are
generating them in building some sort of  "self-taught mapping awareness",
than serving third party spatial decision support needs.

this should not be generalized, but I see a lot of this happening.

I also think that something should be done in terms of education on *the
value of quality*: I have been working on this a lot, both in my profession
and in my advocacy activities   ... this is a long and winding road ;)
...but I see people growing in this respect.

> As I said, everyone has QC issues - not just Google. It just happens to be
> that Google has decided to go out and build their own dataset - unlike Bing,
> Yahoo, etc. I agree Google has done much to improve openness of data,
> however they also chose to make their new dataset closed. This doesn't shock
> me, but giving out free read access doesn't make it open data - it just
> means that selling data isn't important to their business model.

Right. The value must be somewhere else, according to this business model.

> Also, having seen how many "non-geo" people utilize maps, I find that many
> of them doubt themselves rather than the map - they assume they're lost, are
> misreading it, or the GPS has put them in the wrong spot, etc. I seldom see
> people decide the map is wrong - but this is just my personal, anecdotal
> experience.

one question: are the anecdotes you recall related to people who consider
themselves "leisure mappers", or "professional mappers".

that's a big difference, which gets often lost in the communication process.

if your folks are playing with maps, I don't care about the role they feel
they have in relation to the map, or the methods they use. they are "having
fun" (this is what they have been  telling me in various interviews I made)

if your folks are stakeholders in business, or local administrators, or
consultants, I see interesting accountability and business conduct
implications in such a behaviour.

if these two types of folk get mixed up in the same arena, we get....other
personal anecdotal experience which I have seen a lot ;)

and, yes: the map can occasionally  be "wrong" (independently of Easter

> Another aspect is the impact of fragmented basemaps - different users with
> different devices seeing a different view of the world. Overlays are the
> bread and butter of mapping, and the basemap is often ignored.

basically: you have laid out an agenda for a three-day workshop ;) ...I'll
be thinking about the fragmented basemap issue...

best regards

andrea giacomelli
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