With the dust settling on A9’s decision to can its mapping operations … who’s next?
In my opinion, A9 are actually the smart ones … they tried, failed to see benefit and are now moving on. Unfortunately with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask and whoever else is hopping on the bandwagon, not one has actually proven its business model for sustaining it’s current “Gimme all the data you have and heres $1m to not give it to the others” mentality.
Despite the obvious monetary blackhole these operations must be, i am going to stick my neck out and predict a enormous problem which will unfold in the next few months; licensing.
In the past few days as was blogged by Bull, Rich of mappinghacks fame got another take down notice from Google for a small perl script that simply stiched together GMap tiles into a usable, downloadable image.
It sounds harmless, and an almost obvious tool to write. So why all the fuss? It broke Googles licensing restriction limiting use strictly to its mapping service. From mappinghacks,
Every single use of Google Maps involves downloading their â€˜copyrighted images and data.â€ I donâ€™t have to get into the whole â€˜how the web worksâ€™ screed. Googleâ€™s _whole business model_ is based on downloading other peopleâ€™s copyrighted images and data, and doing things with that data that the original creatorâ€™s did not intend.
Where am i going with all this? Case in point, Google Earth. The day someone “opens” the format of Google Earth’s cache, the application will literally fall apart. I’m sure many spatial professionals will be licking their lips at the thought of using the imagery outside of GE, but for the data providers nothing could be more damaging.
Will it happen? Yes. When? I’d say sometime soon.
*Watch this space*
I’m starting to sound like one of those 9/11 conspiracy theorists ..