Thursday, 1 July 2004
Internet Mapping For the Little Guy
When Tim O’Reilly gave his keynote at eWorld this year, one of his major points was that Internet-based mapping (e.g., Yahoo maps, Mapquest) had failed to take off, despite their obvious utility, because they were walled gardens; unlike eBay and Amazon, they don’t integrate user data and third-party applications very well.
For example, if I want to put maps of things on my Web site, I can only do what amounts to a cut-and-paste; I can’t layer in my own information (unless I happen to be a multi-billion dollar company). O’Reilly’s point was that they failed to leverage the community, and therefore the network effects brought by massive participation passed them by.
This appears to be changing, thankfully. From Newsweek:
Companies like Keyhole hope to become the substratum upon which all this information is layered—fighting Microsoft, ESRI and others for the honor. (Keyhole CEO John Hanke boasts that it already has a program to allow amateurs to post their own layers to the maps.)
It’s a shame that they’re PC-only right now; they really need to push the Web side; it’d be huge.
See also MetaCarta.