What’s the point of having a national mapping agency when even semi-public agencies like our Umweltbundesamt (environmental agency) are doing data dissemination based on Google Maps and Geonames? [via joesonic]
Speaking of paleogeography is in that case certainly appropriate: neogeography makes the national mapping agency look like an endangered species. Even though I never really liked the terms and heated discussions about paleo- vs. neogeography. To me, paleogeography sounds way too negative for what it actually does. Paleogeography still provides a major part of the backend and a lot of necessary knowledge for the so called Geoweb. Period.
While neogeography is the cool thing. It’s fresh, slick, easy to use and attracts a lot of bright people outside the geography area who are doing amazing things with geographic information. Personally I see myself somewhere in between and try to get the best out of both.
Obviously some paleo organizations, like our national mapping agency is for instance, should look slightly to the left and to the right of their very straight path. It seems they are still serving the geo market of the last century. Their traditional products, like the topographic and cadastral maps, are certainly great and important works, but in the meantime they have to face the fact that the geo market has a little changed in the last couple of years.
Believe it or not, even in Austria there are map based businesses growing. Companies or start-ups who arrange their business models around easy and affordable access to local geographic information. Most of them depend on the goodwill of global players like Google or Microsoft. The EC usually is very quick when it comes to express concerns about monopolies of those companies and threaten them with law suits. I think, as for the geo market, the European mapping agencies have enough resources – in terms of geo data, infrastructure and knowledge – to throw into the game. They are powerful enough to compete with the big players, provide alternative map services and eventually support local economies. If they only wanted to.
Besides, the above mentioned example shows very well the benefits of neogeography for the public sector and that there is growing demand for such technologies.
So, again, where is the point of keeping a huge tax funded public body when it rejects to move on, serve current public needs, support local economies and public wealth?