James Cutler: Fitness for purpose, the geoweb’s cultural challenge?


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  • Participation inequality Characterises most social networks and other multi user communities that rely on their users to contribute content Result: bias What can you do about it? Not a lot – recognise it and try and shift the curve So, participators…… Who has a personal blog Who has a corporate blog Who has a facebook entry Who has a LinkedIn profile Who has a personal Twitter feed Who has a corporate twitter feed Who was born before Armstrong walked on the moon Original paper was going to be a paean to peace in our time, for the need for the much espoused tools of web 2.0 to be brought to bear in opening up a constructive dialogue across the GI using spectrum But, 2 days before submission time, I tore that up, not because it isn’t required but partly because it is evident (as this showo of hands kind of illustrates) that tensions are diminishing but chiefly because of something that touched the wider media in typically sensationalist style, albeit briefly in the summer….. So, some familiar themes from the abstract but a slightly different direction
  • So, first – labels Geospatial/GIS/Geoscience etc Location/Place/Geography Data or Information Visualise or Analyse Neo or paleo Free or……. Are they important? Do they mean the same thing to different people? Does it matter? In part it does because they can exclude as well as include and if they do exclude the create barriers. The geoweb, to me, embraces the idea of adding location as an indexing and hence search and analysis component to the internet as an additional mechanism by which to discover, organise, use and understand the diverse often abstract usually unstructured data ‘out there’ TBL’s Linked Data model will come to play a central role in delivering on the potential of this idea It is not in and of itself geobrowsers or the geographic content therein or GIS It may bring, make available or use all of the above to the user in some form from ‘dumb’ pictures to intensive, real time spatial analysis in support of enterprise decision making with no maps in sight
  • Because… Is the language wrong? It can all seem so arcane, inward looking, self important Which brings in fitness for purpose…….. Who cares? It depends of course…….
  • Because it informs or not a lot of the hot air and valid debate around the notion of value in data generally and geographic information in particular SE oversight of 26 businesses inc OS, HMLR, MetOffice
  • Chief assertion has been that data is expensive – there are 5 business models for data collection (see Peter Batty’s presentation at SOTM09): DIY/Private – typically for internal heavy lifting; own data, own requirements – hard to commercialise Government – US type free (TIGER is not grrrreat) vs. UK type “expensive” – desire is for great product at no cost – not simple – tax priorities change, costs are on-going, geospatial data are not equal Use existing/buy commercial – has to have been captured – expensive (Navteq spent $400m in 2007; 70% of Navigon iphone app cost is for data Use existing ‘free’ – based on 3 above – restrictive - read the ToS – is it sustainable? Community – OSM, PeoplesMap, WikiMapia, erneststaples – VGI and VC dependent Data capture IS expensive
  • Planning application – value of extension £20k+, cost of map £20-£25 Major land redevelopment scheme – value £60m, cost of map £6k OSMM or UKMap Expensive? Really? Licensing and charging models do facilitate the re-use of (some) geospatial PSI as per EC PSI Directive; however, some is still shielded behind exclusive arrangements (prescribed by the same Directive – no name and shame now…..)
  • PND on the other hand Consumer product – the device seems so cheap as to be ‘fee’ – it’s the data updates that can seem expensive, but then we know why – data capture and maintenance is expensive The migration to converged off-board PND will be good for telcos and content platforms – hardware as loss leader is not a new model!
  • 25m km Crowd sourced – the web at its best – breathtaking 750,000 hrs of driving (my estimate) 5000 tonnes of CO2 (ditto) 135,000 registered ‘users’ Estimated cost at low wage rates = £0.40/km collected/edited GB has <400000 km of public roads Panacea? No Irrelevant – absolutely not Built on non-monetary exchange model – attention, reputation but, Sunstone Capital (to the tune of Euros 2.4m) and others see this as an opportunity – ‘freemium’ or ‘ad lead’ or even cross-subsidy Emerging commercial entities – Cloudmade, Geofabrik
  • Perspective is everything
  • Where you’re coming from and where you’re going i.e. what you as a user want or expect from your enquiry/usage in terms of deliverable or output Which is a function of……
  • SCALE The scale of the map should permit representation of needed details with reasonable precision. The size or positioning of the smallest detail should fall within the allowable accuracy of the map (i.e. 0.2 mm for X and Y/planimetric coordinates at map scale at the smallest and thinnest line that can be plotted in the map, and 1/3 the contour interval in Z/elevation coordinates). As an example, a 1:10,000 map has an accuracy of 2.00 meters in X and Y ground coordinates and 3.00 meters in elevation (if contour interval is 10.00 meters). This means that a feature may have an allowable error of 2 meters in X and Y and 3 meters in Z from its exact position. Geobrowsers take a more prosaic view of the subject – scale is effectively substituted for meters/pixel at a given ‘tile’ level (scale then becomes a product of your screen resolution, the tile level and the latitude of the data) Maximum zoom typically gives a user 4-5 hectares in these (or actually any other usable) mapping environments
  • Small and medium scale – typically the scale of interest of the ‘derived data’, mashup and local government crowds OSM and Peoplesmap Hoping the ‘issues’ will go away soon
  • Detailed professional scale OS, UKMap Revenue generating Relatively price inelastic
  • Atomic/personal Notable socio-cultural developments: The ‘facebook’ generation share a great deal of personal information Literati either evoke this as a ‘given’ (tell the Olympians that!) or as ‘shocking’ 20% of global CCTV installations are in UK Either way the prevailing sense seems to be one of ‘get over it’ You may be thinking where am I going with this……
  • Walking with open eyes into a data driven dystopia?
  • Nailing dog poopers is great but the headlines conceal a murky reality
  • Snooping for operational efficiencies by govt and PFI type agencies The road to privatised, commoditised, resellable personal data
  • But we’re already there! 2.0 tools notwithstanding Loyalty cards Memberships Subscriptions Cell ID/mobile phone use Wireless hotspots All those forms, all that tracking, all those patterns, all that knowledge Never mind VGI, this is VPI…
  • Yeah but they need a single accurate address data set to make that work….dont they? Actually – no ‘they’ don’t (and perhaps nor does ONS though government certainly does)
  • ‘ old hat’ Targeted direct marketing, profiling etc Private sector activity to improve, refine, customise and personalise the services they offer Works in the public sector too for targeting service delivery Web 2.0 enhances and evolves this model
  • Snooping in reverse Fixmystreet collaboration
  • Surveillance is about who is doing what and where
  • Making an ass of you and me Assumption alluded to earlier regarding data anonymisation, aggregation, security, protection……..
  • Data mining and (spatial) analysis  patterns, trends, new understanding  Knowledge and wisdom Most of this is done in the database now, its so much more efficient
  • Geoweb – not just a presentational/visualisation tool but… for most practitioners that is how it is perceived and deployed today And, for that purpose, it serves most purposes
  • Than with the baseline that supports discovery – yep, the metadata OPSI 2009 – EC’s Communication on the PSI Directive: highlights a lack of awareness of what PSI exists (and producers failing to realise potential of their data – Euros 27bn across Europe – actually only Euros 1bn/member state) Including or in the form of semantic markup/RDF triples
  • Unexpected outcomes User beware
  • Producer beware – design faults Obviously bridges that you drive across and data that you download are not the same – users of the former wont (always) understand foiling aerodynamics…. …… users of the latter, well You’re not helping any one if users can’t understand or trust your data
  • So the cultural challenge of the geoweb seems to me not to be fitness for purpose per se We do need to kill off the ‘old’ divisions between neo and paleo and between the free and premium bar room brawlers The whole language of web 2.0 and social media is around conversations – we’re not having enough of them – remember the lurkers/vocal minority piece? In doing so we will establish location as a seamless component of the wider world and not a fragmented concept – this deals with the quality/detail/scale issue at the same time The challenge therefore is much much bigger: the (seamless Linked Data) geoweb combines with sensor webs, ubiquitous data gathering and ever more powerful back end technologies to provide ever more granular ‘modelling’ of the individual and the wide physical, social and economic environment in which they exist – their assets, risks, liabilities, interests, opportunities, threats and so on; of course this has wide socio-cultural-political implications but as ever you cannot undo these things; however, if you underpin at least 20% of the country’s economy, you should be able to find a voice and a space both to be heard and to find a role Really the challenge is to AGI, to embrace the geoweb in all its forms, and to practitioners to look ever outward on the back of the bigger platform that the geoweb provides..
  • James Cutler: Fitness for purpose, the geoweb’s cultural challenge?

    1. 1. Fitness for purpose, the geoweb’s cultural challenge? <ul><li>James Cutler </li></ul><ul><li>CEO </li></ul>