Re: [Geowanking] comments please - near final draft, open letter to google

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Re: [Geowanking] comments please - near final draft, open letter to google

Arnulf
Chris Holmes wrote:
> Ok, a few thoughts (apologies for the length).

A few more, just to boost the morale.
[...]

> But we are addressing a profit seeking company,
which wakes the paranoia in me and i would bet that everything we are
talking about here is right now being read not just by Google and Yahoo
and ESRI but also by Micrososft and IBM. If they don't they are crappy
businesses.

Not that they always understand - just read the comment by Jody Garnett.
:-)

Do not confuse yourself (or us) as being a small (=unimportant)
community. They (at least Google) know all about disruptive technology
and that you simply cannot predict what is going to come out of it.
Therefore lets just see what will happen once the dust settles some
more. i am positive that it will not harm this community in the long run.

> I fear this letter will come across as a small community basically
> whining that google has stolen their momentum, and asking for help,
Yes it might. But so what. i don't think that we really have to whine
for help but we can rather make use of the momentum that the whole
spatial idea is getting. Taking Google by the hand and telling them how
they could temporarily earn our approval might help.

> that they should support us out of altruism, because at some point they
> expressed a desire to not 'be evil'.  
A stone does not know a lot about altruism, neither a tree (as far as i
know). The same goes for any large cooperation. We should not mistake
Google to be our best friend. That is just not possible. There are loads
of people out there who do not know about altruism - thats just
ignorance. A company of that size and recognition cannot be altruistic
because water will not burn. (Hopefully this will change in my lifetime,
but i wonder).

[...]

> James MacGill came up
> with a good strategy for advancing this geoweb argument, to draw
> parallels between a http web server and WMS/WFS.
Thats what they probably will understand instantly. A very simple and
very helpful hint to Google would be on how to find WMS and WFS and
present them in a Catalog 2.0 interface. Thats Google JOB, thats what
they know about. Look at how bad they are at this job. Google should
come to us whining how to find geodata and services in the web. We don't
need them to do the maps, except gfor a standard back drop road map maybe.

[...]

> Another fear of mine is that we are basically presenting two communities
> that are only just now starting to come together.  OSM doesn't yet
> support WMS/WFS, and that one in particular I think would be a lot
> better to present a united front on.  OSM doesn't have any sort of
> standard behind it, and it kind of makes both the 'standards' argument
> and the 'user data' argument less compelling, since each must stand on
> its own.  Which is one of the main reasons I haven't wanted to send
> such an open letter yet, as we are working on a good wfs/wms intro for
> the OSM folks, and will be working to support the type of additional
> functionality they need out of WFS in the fall (attribution,
> versioning, diffs, history, ect.), and likely will engineer the
> solution to plug on top of any open web services.

Good point. OpenStreetMap has been affected heavily by Googlemaps and
maybe just a tiny little bit too early because their technology is not
yet relying on Open Standards. But then again, Wikimaps has not yet
taken off. There are loads of Wikipedians fighting over policies and
Freeness and Openness just waiting to find a new scope. I could imagine
that the spatial one is just about being discovered.
[...]

> But overall, great work Mike, take as much or as little as these
> suggestions in as you'd like.  I personally want to wait a bit to send

Don't wait, just do it. We spent days and weeks trying to formulate the
fundamental, ultimate declaration but every day there is something new.

A Wiki would make most sense. Imagine Google discussing its future plans
with us in a Wiki. Hey, don't laugh! I mean it, serious! (mind me - not
just paranoid but completely crazy). There are more like this here:
http://develop.consumerium.org/wiki/Main_Page

> something like this out, but I agree there are benefits to getting it
> out early, as they hopefully have not completely set their business
> model and five year plan.  I think in the future we should do this sort
> of advocacy work towards microsoft and yahoo as well.

Last bit of paranoia: Do we really want to have spatial data managed by
any large cooperation? Fearful to believe that borders can move and
rivers show a sudden change in water quality because some corporate
policy wishes it. i like the idea of the 'canary in the coalmine'.
Hopefully we are not going to die in the process...
=:-)

Let them corporations find out which lists they have to stick to in
order to find out where *our* disruptive technology is going to get *them*.

Best, Arnulf

> Best regards,
>
> Chris
>
> Quoting Mike Liebhold <[hidden email]>:
>
>
>>Dear friends,
>>
>>Here below is an 'open letter' that I plan on sending to google.
>>Before
>>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
>>early
>>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
>>earth.
>>
>>Unfortunately there has been some inadvertant damage as a result of
>>both
>>  of these otherwise well intentioned moves. Just as it is impossible
>>to
>>walk across a lawn without stepping on micro-organisms, Google,
>>becuase
>>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
>>been
>>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
>>critical
>>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
>>examples.
>>Now instead of trying out some amazing new open map hacks, many
>>newcomers to geospatial computing are scraping google javascripts.
>>Second, Ever since White House initiatives initiatied by Vice
>>President
>>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
>>Server,
>>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
>>called
>>a geospatial web, or simply the geoweb.  Now, instead, enormous
>>creative
>>energy is pulling away into Google's essentially proprietary mapping
>>environments.
>>
>>Instead of competing with the grass roots, Chris Holmes, and others
>>have
>>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
>>-agregated-
>>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
>>interoperable
>>wiht open standards,  so that users may easily import standard data
>>into
>>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
>>Internet
>>usable by gaterhing and filtering massive amounts of data.
>>Unforutantely
>>nothing like Google exists for geospatial  and cartographic data on
>>the
>>net, which is currently almost unfindable in a baroque collection of
>>gateways, libraries, 'one-stop' portals, and repositories. Google
>>could
>>create a great new business, while providing a huge public service by
>>searching for, indexing and presenting a comprehensive access to
>>global
>>geospatial data.
>>
>>Finally, just as Google actively supports the Mozilla foundation.
>>Google
>>could provide definitive support to the birth of an open geospatial
>>web
>>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
>>mapserver,
>>Geoserver, uDig too.
>>
>>If google really is right on the edge between open mapping and a
>>closed
>>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
>>[hidden email]
>>http://lists.burri.to/mailman/listinfo/geowanking
>>
>
>
>
>
>
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