Google Maps hackers just don’t get it

[on my high horse]
I wrote up a long rant about how ignorant these Google Maps hackers were to think that one should obfuscate history on old imagery, but I decided to delete that post because I don’t think they can handle it.
[/on my high horse]

Look, stick to making great hacks and leave the back end GIS source to professionals. There isn’t anything wrong with the images that MSN Virtual Earth uses. Sure they are old, but a great GIS database includes time and historic aerial/satellite imagery is wonderful to see changes in places. If there isn’t a better reason to keep investing in GIS professionals that post on Google Maps Mania, I can’t think of one.

Rather than tune out Jack Dangermond at Where 2.0, you guys need to listen to what he is saying about this stuff because you might learn a thing or two about GIS. The power of products such as Google Maps is in more than just an easy to use API. It’s the data behind the server and without GIS professionals, you’ll end up with what happened at MSN Virtual Earth on launch (no metadata available to tell users the data was old) and Google Maps hackers (wanting to reduce the accuracy of datasets).

Update – Let me just add that Google Maps doesn’t have metadata attached to their imagery either. The copyright says 2005, but that doesn’t mean that the images date from 2005. At least were I live they date from about late 2002/early 2003. Google too should let users know how old the imagery is.

[on my high horse]
I wrote up a long rant about how ignorant these Google Maps hackers were to think that one should obfuscate history on old imagery, but I decided to delete that post because I don’t think they can handle it.
[/on my high horse]

Look, stick to making great hacks and leave the back end GIS source to professionals. There isn’t anything wrong with the images that MSN Virtual Earth uses. Sure they are old, but a great GIS database includes time and historic aerial/satellite imagery is wonderful to see changes in places. If there isn’t a better reason to keep investing in GIS professionals that post on Google Maps Mania, I can’t think of one.

Rather than tune out Jack Dangermond at Where 2.0, you guys need to listen to what he is saying about this stuff because you might learn a thing or two about GIS. The power of products such as Google Maps is in more than just an easy to use API. It’s the data behind the server and without GIS professionals, you’ll end up with what happened at MSN Virtual Earth on launch (no metadata available to tell users the data was old) and Google Maps hackers (wanting to reduce the accuracy of datasets).

Update – Let me just add that Google Maps doesn’t have metadata attached to their imagery either. The copyright says 2005, but that doesn’t mean that the images date from 2005. At least were I live they date from about late 2002/early 2003. Google too should let users know how old the imagery is.

Author: James Fee

National GIS/IT Practice Leader at Matrix New World