[Geowanking] google maps, etc + data quality vs commoditization?
briandenzer at gmail.com
Wed Feb 3 07:51:00 PST 2010
Because the contractor who "manages" the city's GIS here in New Orleans (MSF
Global Solutions) profits from retaining monopoly control over the city's
parcel layer, it has been exceedingly difficult to obtain a copy -- or a
copy that might have any useful attributes ... like, er, addresses. Not
coincidentally, this privatization of a valuable public resource has had a
deleterious impact on the ability of neighborhood associations to manage
Katrina recovery. Speaking to the competence of the contractor, he no doubt
thought it would impress his clients to place a definition of the new lingo
term "neogeography" </> under a map: "The 'I-Map' uses NeoGeography (near
geography) web technology to display the NORA-owned, as well as, non-program
property datasets." The definition explains why users can't find anything
worthwhile on his maps.
As I have recently been analyzing, matching, and scrubbing four different
bootleg copies of parcel datasets to come up with a "best-available"
version, I have occasionally used Google's satellite imagery for a rooftop
view. It was immediately clear to me that someone at Google just ganked the
worst available version of parcels from the city's Web site to dump into
Google Maps. The contractor here left that bad copy out there with the
explicit intent of creating havoc on anyone trying to use it. It's the
appearance of something useful without actual utility.
The point of the story is to suggest that Google's business model is not
only a bad one, but may actually be detrimental to accomplishing good
things. I would contend that Google is acting as a freeloading agent,
attempting to extract value without making the investment necessary to
produce quality data.
What I would prefer is that Google partner with locals, offering grants and
technical resources to help neighborhoods here to clean up the parcel data.
I doubt the city's GIS department will ever accomplish this, since it hasn't
shown that it can for the past ten years. This is a project better managed
at the hyperlocal neighborhood level, and Google should honor the time and
effort that are required to produce quality data.
On Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 11:50 PM, andrea giacomelli <pibinko at gmail.com>wrote:
> 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
> 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
> 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
> Geowanking mailing list
> Geowanking at geowanking.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Geowanking