[OSM-talk] Response to A critique of OpenStreetMap

Paul Houle paul at ontology2.com
Thu Oct 14 15:58:20 BST 2010

  On 10/14/2010 8:07 AM, Milo van der Linden wrote:
> Dear 41latitude,
> I came accross your blog on "critique of OpenStreetMap". 
> http://www.41latitude.com/post/1310985699/openstreetmap-critique and 
> read it with interest. Some points are true, others need better 
> explaination and I think you misinterpreted some things.
     Justin's written detailed critiques of Yahoo, Google and Bing maps 
as well.  As one of the people who encouraged him to write about OSM,  I 
think his criticism ought to be taken as constructive criticism.

     Of course,  you're right to point out that the community nature of 
OSM means that different people and organizations can create their own 
renderings.  I've talk with Justin,  for instance,  about Cloudmade's 
ability to render custom map tiles,  and we're both really impressed 
with that.

     However,  I'll say that the claim that "we don't have the resources 
to do it right" is a "bad smell" that I often perceive around 
organizations that are in a death spiral.  Back when I worked in the 
library field,  it struck me that librarians were just conceding 
everything to the likes of AMZN and GOOG.  Making little effort to take 
their fate into their own hands,  I'm afraid that things are going to 
continue to get worse for them.

     It's better to say "we know we could do it better and we'll do 
better in the future."

     As for the licensing thing,  I do believe that CC-BY-SA licensing 
would allow OSM to join the 'giant component' of generic databases 
(particularly centering around wikipedia) which would in turn let third 
parties improve OSM.  I am afraid that license proliferation could lead 
to a number of 'data ghettos',  eviscerating the disruptive power of 
open data,  thus granting control of the information future to Tele 
Atlas,  Google,  Elsevier and other commercial organizations that don't 
spend vast amounts of intellectual effort by hobbling themselves.

More information about the talk mailing list