In comments, Matthew Mims informs us that The Bay St. Louis Bridge has reopened just a couple weeks ago! This seriously throws up a lot of issues. Would it have been better if I hadn’t brought this to anyone’s attention? No, I don’t think so .. the wider issue is completely relevant, and fixing things by not doing anything isn’t really a solution. Shouldn’t I have made more checks prior to Where 2.0 (the bridge was not open when I first posted about it, but had partially opened days before Where)? Definitely. But if the model I’m advocating was followed, we’d already have updated the data to it’s new condition. The world is not in the least bit static. And now we’ll see how long it takes for the data providers to update again.
A couple months ago, I posted about a bridge destroyed by Hurricane Katrina still routed in all the major mapping providers. I gave it a brief mention at Where 2.0 too.
I checked again today, and the routing for Google & Yahoo (and others I suppose) has been updated to avoid the bridge. The bridge is still present visually.
This and other notable examples, like the MacArthur Maze fire, show that the geodata companies and mapping providers are listening to new sources — errors with high media profiles. And I’d think this must naturally lead to the thought that they need to listen to people generally — that the task of keeping maps up to date can’t be done without local people, and that many people are highly motivated to help. I sense a switch to OSM inspired models is going to happen quickly, or else lawyers are going to start pouncing on the data problems.
Steve gives his view in this interview.
Q: What has surprised you the most about OpenStreetMap?
A: The lack of overt hostility from within the traditional industry. Wikipedia got slated all the time by various content makers, but we’ve not really seen that (yet?). I think that geodata is a more fast-moving business and that people ‘got’ the idea fairly early, and it’s more of a question of what to do about it.