Feeds

Driving some value into Google's Street View

The Reg calls on Google to open Street View

The essential guide to IT transformation

So Googlers are driving their cars around the UK at the moment snapping pictures of every bit of every road and everyone and everything around them - and causing a bit of a privacy hoopla.

Perhaps Google should pay some penance for its evil. As luck would have it, we’ve got a lovely idea for how it can redeem itself.

But first, some back story.

Mapping is a murky business. UK taxpayers have the pleasure of supporting Ordnance Survey’s activities to create maps of the entire UK. Ordnance Survey then gleefully sells these maps back to us, so we can actually use the maps we helped pay to create. Google Maps might be free to you, at the point of service, but behind the scenes Google are handing over cash for the rights to use those maps. It is similar to what it is doing with YouTube and all those pesky video "rights holders".

As The Guardian notes: "Nearly half of the OS's revenue comes from selling its data to the public sector, and the public sector is funded by us, the taxpayers."

Back in 2004 a small bunch of rebels came along and set up Open Street Map. This is the mapping equivalent of Wikipedia. Take your GPS and go walk, cycle or drive around a bit. Upload the data from the GPS to your computer, drop it into the Open Street Wiki Map and, bam!, instant "open source" Map 2.0 of the UK for everyone to use. And no annoying royalties to pay for the privilege. Plus permissive licences to use the data as you see fit.

Nice idea, right? Here’s what they had achieved by May 2006, almost two years after starting:

May 2006. Click for larger

Amazingly, two years later, they had this:

July 2008. Click for larger

The live map lets you explore further.

After a little more detail? Try the festive city of Edinburgh in May 2006:

May 2006. Click for larger

Compared to two years later, July 2008:

July 2008. Click for larger

Again, the live map has more.

A lot happened in two years, but the progress has much more to do with pictures from space than it does with geeks wandering the streets with GPS trackers.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.