Another interesting article recently hit TechCrunch, the topic of discussion an “Open” database of Placenames – in all honestly, I have to really wonder how “Open” something like this really could be should a Twitter, foursquare, or SimpleGeo be driving the bus! At the heart of the matter is the fact that many new location aware start-ups seem to be attempting to build their own DB of places – largely based on crowd-sourced information – again, another interesting point I find is that whenever the topic of places seems to creep up recently, all we hear mentioned are these start-ups, never do we hear about existing Geo players who may have vast experience and/or vast data holdings that could be applied to such a product (with the exception of Metacarta who was recently scooped up by Nokia).
An interesting phrase in the article I thought… “The counter-argument is that somebody—Twitter, Google, Facebook—needs to be in control of the database in order to ensure its quality. If you let any random developer with a geo app update the database, it could end up being filled with inaccurate geo-data or worse, geo-spam.”
Note: there’s no mention of OpenStreetMap (OSM) or their efforts in this article – interesting related to that, TechChrunch recently ran an article on OSM describing it essentially as being controlled by CloudMade, even going as far as referring to it as “CloudMade’s OpeneetMap. Speaking of OSM, the same effort is now developing OpenAddresses.org (Beta) a Global, Open address database.