The Old Google Mind Trick…

Michael Jones’ “article” on Directions Magazine does a great job of pointing out all the great crowdsourcing projects Google has going.

I know that users are now better served with an easily correctable, rapidly updatable, widely usable base-map built from the synthesis of hundreds of data feeds, hundreds of thousands of individual contributors, and potentially, hundreds of millions of local-expert users. Think of it this way. If tomorrow every Web user in the USA took one minute to look at their neighborhood or workplace on Google Maps and make any necessary corrections, every Internet user would then have access to an up-to-the-minute national map for the first time in world history. This is how it always should have been and I’m glad that it has finally happened and excited about what the future holds.

Wait! Did he just describe OpenStreetMap? Sorry SteveC, sounds like your project is dead outside of Europe.

On another point, why does Google not want to just tell us where they got the data from? I suppose in the end, it just doesn’t really matter because everyone uses Google Maps for the Aerials, right?

These arent the basemaps you are looking for...

These aren’t the basemaps you are looking for.

Google Maps Now Uses Their Own Map Data

It looks like the new update to Google Maps gives us more than we thought. Sure the parks looks nice in a blog post, but if I’m reading the tea leaves right, Google is now using their own data in at least parts of the world.

So I think this means that what we all expected to happen, did. Tele Atlas is gone from the maps as far as I can tell and we now report our errors right back to Google.

Questions arise though… Where did Google get this info from? I’m guessing that it is USGS, MapMaker and probably some TIGER data. Plus they’ve also cut deals with local organizations to get vectors. The parcels, who knows… But if counties are giving it to Google and charging the public, we’ve got problems. Also do they have rights to republish the data in the first place (due diligence)? If I make corrections to their data, will they push those back to the organizations that donated the data or keep it themselves (and in turn own the data outright)?

Right now most of this looks visual as I can’t seem to access the parcels via their API. Only a matter of time I suppose.

Looks like Google is going to walk on over all data providers, open or not.

WhereCampPDX 2009

Let me just say, what a great time I had all weekend here in Portland. WhereCampPDX is definitely an experience you should try and experience once in a lifetime. OK, so maybe that is a little overboard, but so what? I’ve never been to any unconference that has been better run, had the right mix of people and had so many people ready to engage each other. I can’t recall anyone sitting on their hands not saying a word. Some highlights for me:

  • Meeting many of the folks I’ve only ever had a change to talk with on Twitter/email.
  • Giving the keynote
  • Hacking Foursquare (mayor=1)
  • Whiffies Fried Pies
  • Sessions on topics that I wasn’t very familiar with. Learned a ton!
  • Government getting involved with open source and open data. Keep an eye on Portland.
  • Eating fresh fish on the coast of Oregon. Being from AZ… all fish, even those that say they are fresh, are actually frozen.
  • Bridges; I’m not sure, but I think I hit every bridge. Once I think I have them all, I see another. Should have added them to Foursquare.
    Check out GeoPDX and MapLoser for their take on WhereCampPDX.

My slide deck is below:


ESRI Releases ArcGIS Server JavaScript API 1.5

Not much to say other than:

  • Support for Firefox 3.5
  • Support for Dojo 1.3.2
  • Ability to force a mouse cursor style change
  • Optional HTTPS access of the ArcGIS JavaScript API
  • Bug fixes

So if you love Dojo (and I don’t know why), you’ll want to make the simple change to your code.

<script type="text/javascript" src="" />

What’s new document is here.

Just one word; ESRI. Enough said…