From:
David S April <april@syclo.com>
Sent: 3/13/2002 9:50:25 AM
To:
gpsstash@yahoogroups.com
Cc:
Bcc:
Subject:

Re: free access to the data


Neil R. Ormos wrote:

> >Dustin Sallings wrote:
>
> >> Unfortunately, it's too late for that. The hobby has
> >> already been AOL-ized, users have become addicted to the
> >> spiffy presentation, and it's highly unlikely that users
> >> can now be persuaded to register caches with a
> >> non-commercial database, even if someone wanted to go to
> >> the trouble of setting one up.
>
> > It's not so much AOLization, it's just the lack of public
> > data. Since I seem to be the only person who created a
> > site that had any interest in sharing data in the first
> > place (as far as I can tell), the only one that can
> > succeed is the one with the most data points. Data
> > hoarding is exactly what makes this so annoying. I would
> > like raw access to the data for my own analysis (which I
> > would share with the world if it's interesting at all).
>
>You blame data hoarding, but it is exactly AOLization that
>has created the underlying atmosphere in which data hoarding
>is not only permitted, but thrives. It is exactly the
>AOL-style users that will suffer any indignity to get a
>little convenience and spiffy presentation.

Call me crazy, but convenience and spiffy presentation (ie, a well designed
user interface experience) are good things, in my opinion.

>It is exactly
>the AOL-style users who are unmotivated or unwilling to
>contribute their cache information to an independent cache
>database.

Maybe they don't do this because they see no value in doing it. Geocachers
contribute cache information to a site that serves their community.
Individuals may define their community more narrowly than some of you here
do. For instance, I concern myself with Chicago area caches most of the
time. I rarely care about what is happening with Arizona caches.

All the whiners on this list are complaining that geocaching.com is not
serving their (the whiners) needs by making the data exportable. I
disagree. I've seen at least 2 occasions where Jeremy has responded to this
particular complaint:

1. He made the data exportable into EasyGPS. Any of us can download
multiple caches easily into this freeware tool. That addressed a complaint
voiced by many that there was no easy way to grab a bunch of waypoints from
the site.

2. He has a cooperative agreement with Ed Hall who has clearly added value
with his excellent maps (which to this day, are far superior to the ones
presented on Geocaching.com). I don't know the particulars of the agreement
they reached and I know it did not come without some initial bad blood
between Ed and Jeremy but the community ended up with a value added site
that has full access to the data.

>It is exactly the AOL-style users who migrated
>almost all geocaching discussion away from Usenet and
>relatively unmoderated e-mail groups onto web-based "forums"
>with their censorship and inane web-based interfaces. And
>it is exactly the AOL-style users who are unable to
>understand the risk data hoarding presents to the future of
>the hobby. Obviously, by "AOLization" I'm not referring to
>all AOL users or solely to AOL users, but rather to the user
>community that doesn't understand or value free access to
>basic data.

This is a ridiculous perspective. Geocaching.com works because Jeremy has
created something that people find useful. You may not like the web based
discussion (nor do I, for that matter) but clearly hundreds or thousands of
others find that having everything in one place is useful and convenient
for them. You succeed by giving your customers what they want. You can't
please everybody, but if you please most of them, you become successful.

For all of you who complain about not having access to the data, put your
money where your mouth is like Ed did. You certainly have easy enough
access to the data to put together a prototype of any application that uses
waypoint data in an interesting way. Build one
and let the market decide if it is useful or interesting.

Dave

--
David S. April Syclo LLC
april@syclo.com 1250 S Grove Av - Suite 304
(847) 842-0320 Barrington, IL 60010-5066
http://www.soasoas.com/

"Paradise is exactly like where you are right now, only much, much *better*."
- Laurie Anderson