The Future of National Mapping Agencies
by Schuyler Erle
Related link: http://geovisualisation.com/WordPress/?p=36
Jeff Thurston writes, "If Google and Yahoo and others can make most of their profit from advertising by simply opening the vaults to spatial data and letting regular folks build, share and use geospatial information, why can’t national mapping agencies?" Good question!
The Mapping Agencies response
It seems to be that "consumer" focused mapping will increasing become a commodity - maybe free one day although I would not underestimate the costs services like goggle maps are covering in order to establish market share - just ask DigitalGlobe how expensive it is to put up a remote sensing satellite.
National Geopatial Capabilities
Much of the difference is cultural. National systems are built at huge expense, with lots of rigor with years of planning. earth.google.com just really came to life last week. Within many of these agencies are innovative and very talented people. We have been working with many of them introducing open standards, open source geospatial software. There has been some success introducing many of the latest advances into demonstrations, prototypes, and laboratories.