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Why the World Needs OpenStreetMap 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-hole-in-the-wall-restaurants-are-the-best dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Over the past six months, we've all grown a bit more skeptical about who controls our data, and what they do with it. An article at The Guardian says it's time for people to start migrating en masse away from proprietary map providers to OpenStreetMap in order to both protect our collective location data and decide how it is displayed. From the article: 'Who decides what gets displayed on a Google Map? The answer is, of course, that Google does. I heard this concern in a meeting with a local government in 2009: they were concerned about using Google Maps on their website because Google makes choices about which businesses to display. The people in the meeting were right to be concerned about this issue, as a government needs to remain impartial; by outsourcing their maps, they would hand the control over to a third party. ... The second concern is about location. Who defines where a neighborhood is, or whether or not you should go? This issue was brought up by the American Civil Liberties Union when a map provider was providing routing (driving/biking/walking instructions) and used what it determined to be "safe" or "dangerous" neighborhoods as part of its algorithm.'"
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Why the World Needs OpenStreetMap

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  • Wikipedia of Maps? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rueger (210566) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @09:23PM (#45960333) Homepage
    Somehow I envision a Wikipedia of maps, with boundaries and street names changing at random if two groups can't agree.

    Sure it may not happen in downtown Topeka, but imagine to geo-edit wars that will happen in the Middle East or other disputed territory.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @09:40PM (#45960469)

    "Who defines where a neighborhood is, or whether or not you should go? This issue was brought up by the American Civil Liberties Union when a map provider was providing routing (driving/biking/walking instructions) and used what it determined to be "safe" or "dangerous" neighborhoods as part of its algorithm.'"

    That doesn't come from the map provider though. That data is from someone else, overlaid on ANY map providers map... using OpenStreetMap changes that not a whit.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @09:57PM (#45960567)

    using crime stats to overlay and provide safer routing is a great feature. if that happens to show an ethnic neighborhood is like being in a Mad Max movie, so be it. I for one don't feel like I'm contributing to diversity and equal opportunity by letting a minority rob or maim or kill me.

  • by doom (14564) <doom@kzsu.stanford.edu> on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:57PM (#45960971) Homepage Journal

    There was a company that was doing heat maps of crime, but they have not done a single update in two years.

    Let me see if I can put this delicately. If you care about this you're an idiot. (Oh well.).

    If you're driving around what you really want is a "heat map" of traffic accidents. If you're walking around what you really want is a "heat map" of pedestrian deaths. And so on...

    Stressing out about stray bullets, even in a "bad neighborhood" is only one step up from worrying about lightning strikes.

    (Note: I live in West Oakland. Everyone is excited that they're were only 92 homicides in Oakland last year.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:00PM (#45960995)

    Great. Could we also have maps showing where bankers, investment counselors and other white-collar criminals live? The only difference is when they steal they don't use a gun.

    You still don't get it, do you?

    When they steal, they don't even commit a crime.

    And you better believe they fucking wrote it that way.

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