Thursday 8 October 2009

"East is east and west is west...", or is it?

Geo-meta-data news flashes:
quickly access web resources regardless of resource location via ESRI's geoportal extension
free metadata tools for the EU INPSIRE website using ESRI Irelands Be-Inspired site
quickly add data anywhere in the world, crowdsourcing debut on Google Map Maker
geocode data into the recently increased Google palette in the US at least announced

And I omit all the OpenStreetMap (tweet #osm) and the many, many other geo-topics abuzz on the net... It appears like the neo-geo debate is fading as it moves into GIS space dixit Peter Batty et al.

But in doing so, are technologies converging or diverging? In other words is the geo-user - with a job to perform that doesn't include playing in sandboxes - be guided or confused here? As Yoda in a business suit, okay! in smart casual, would say: “Do or do not... there is no try.” We do and should impress the pluses of each of our own unique ways, but where is the cross-over point from providing information to enabling workable solutions?

At this point in time I see two divergent roads:
  1. more an more metadata tools are provided to traditional users
  2. more and more g-editing tools are provided to crowd sourcers
Safe Software's Don Murray commented on the post that "we are finding metadata to be more and more important as organizations move to sharing data over the web." And as in other idustries I wager, associations such as Energistics are filling in the educational gap by offering meta data classes geared toward oil&gas. And metadata working groups, such as PPDM or OGC, seem to be at evergreen stages of development.

Whatever the outcome of such divergence or convergence, my partner and I find on the street that either way, it's a new mindset the users have to add discipline into their workflows and projects. If we plan to succeed internally among various asset teams, or externally among joint venture partners and regulatory agencies, then we must cinch in our belts, roll up our sleeves, and get to work disciplining our geodata practices.

Al Gore's inconvenient truth has not only spread from climate change to fiscal deficits, but also to our own business of helping us find resources. To paraphrase him, some impopular (= important + unpopular) choices have to be made, but the sooner they're made the better. We discussed earlier in this blog how my partner and I try to do just that. But a video recently highlighted by #GeoEntelechy said it best - if must change our business attitudes, do we want our users to say "it's freaking me out"?

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