Monday, November 19, 2007

Google Earth locations now editable.

It was only a matter of time really. You can now edit points on Google Earth. To prevent people from trashing what is a pretty decent database of locations, you can also immediately view the original location as an option. I'll probably have a lot to say about this when I get done with work, but my immediate thought is how much more open will it get (user uploaded polygons? lines?), what will be the synergy with Android (mobile computing will no doubt integrate GPS technology), and if you can add points/lines/polygons willy-nilly, when is the government going to take a keen interest in semi-anonymous, amateur members of the general public plopping down points on things they'd prefer wasn't easily searched for? Update: My comments above are probably premature. You cannot, as far as I can tell, add points to Google Earth (in the sense those points are immediately and automatically shared with everyone else). Though I will admit I haven't played with GE for a while. If you could add points like that, you would likely start having the Wikipedia effect - vandalism and advertisement would become quite rampant without dedicated administrators and probably a secondary staff of trusted volunteers. Since Wikipedia hasn't and quite honestly are unlikely to solve that problem, it becomes a question of the costs vs. the benefits. I would say it would be worthwhile if such user-created features were implemented such that the whole of them would be turned off as default. Some basic/super popular layer categories could be created ("good neighborhoods", "pleasant views", "hiking trails"). Anyone entering it of course could add dynamic tags that you could search for in another search tool. Update II: From CNET
To curb potential abuse, users aren't able to edit the location of a business that has already verified its location via Google's Local Business Center. There's also an official review system that has to double check your edit if it's more than 200 meters away from the original location.
Update III: Well check out how ridiculously behind the times I am. This is pretty neat. Although a lot of the entries are clearly advertisements and and some vandalism, but that is the double edged sword of public created data.

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