[OSM-talk] IBM Thinkplace Proposal

Nick Black nickblack1 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 5 12:44:06 BST 2007

Hi Brett,

This seems like a great proposal - I've read it through very quickly
and you seem to have all the important points in there.  What do you
need from the OSM community?


On 7/5/07, Brett Henderson <brett at bretth.com> wrote:
> Hi All,
> I don't know how this email will be received, but I'm hoping the general
> feedback will be positive.  This idea is unlikely to succeed without the
> support of the OSM community.  Please read on and if you would like it
> to go ahead, please read the instructions in the "What can you do?" section.
> To give some background, I became involved with OSM early this year (Feb
> from memory).  I live in the western suburbs of Melbourne, Australia and
> have mapped the CBD, and a number of major roads and my suburb in the
> West.  Over the last couple of months I've been coding in my spare time
> to try to build a replication mechanism for OSM.
> More recently I've garnered quite a bit of interest in OSM at work.  I
> work as a software architect for IBM.  I was talking about the Osmosis
> tool I've been trying to complete over the last few weeks and discussed
> the opportunities that access to this type of data provides.
> Then a few of us heard about a request for ideas on how to promote
> economic development in Africa.  We came up with a proposal to improve
> the current status of maps in Africa.  The idea involves improving the
> quality of static map data (ie. OSM) in Africa building a transient
> layer on top to support more time sensitive information such as disease
> outbreaks, reports of violence, requests for medicine, etc.  This data
> must be made available using alternative channels such as mobile phones.
> Full details of the idea are available here:
> https://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/thinkplace/viewIdea.wss?c=31589
> * What's in it for IBM?
> I believe geo-spatial data can become a commodity item.  Current sources
> of data are protected because their owners make money through limiting
> access to that data.  This can change.  This doesn't mean that there is
> no business value in mapping, it just means that the underlying data
> becomes a shared commodity and business must "move up the stack" by
> providing other services on top of that data.  I believe IBM is unlikely
> to take a lead role in building new business models around mapping,
> however they are uniquely positioned to build the enabling
> infrastructure and technologies to support companies that do.  In short,
> this is an emerging area and I think IBM should get involved.
> * What's in it for OSM?
> Firstly, map coverage in Africa is limited.  If the quality of OSM maps
> in these areas could exceed that of commercial maps, the popularity of
> OSM would be given a huge boost.
> Secondly, OSM is experiencing incredible growth.  While this is exciting
> from a project perspective, the OSM infrastructure is feeling the
> strain.  There are many possibilities that IBM involvement could
> provide, both in areas of hardware and software.  IBM contributes to
> many open source projects such as Eclipse, Apache, and Linux to name a
> few and are one of the companies that "gets" open source (perhaps not
> yet open data ...).  I believe they have shown that they can work with
> open communities to the benefit of all parties.
> * What can you do?
> We need people to rate the idea and provide comments here.
> https://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/thinkplace/viewIdea.wss?c=31589
> Feel free to be honest, but I just ask that you keep comments constructive.
> But most importantly, please rate the idea in all criteria (stars on the
> right hand side of the window).  This is the most important step.
> Demonstrating interest outside IBM is viewed very favourably.
> * What happens next?
> No idea :-)  Many Thinkplace ideas die a lonely death.  But with some
> constructive comments and ratings from the OSM community, the idea will
> gain popularity and raise its visibility among those that make decisions
> on these matters.
> I don't want anybody to get too excited, the chances of anything
> resulting from this may not be great.  But we're doing all we can to
> talk to the right people to give it a good chance.
> If anybody has any questions, please let me know.  I may be a little
> slow to respond but I'll do my best.
> Cheers,
> Brett
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Nick Black

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