From:
"Neil R. Ormos" <ormos@enteract.com>
Sent: 3/14/2002 2:35:49 PM
To:
gpsstash@yahoogroups.com
Cc:
Bcc:
Subject:

Re: [gpsstash] Re: free access to the data


David S April wrote:
> Neil R. Ormos wrote:
>> Dustin Sallings wrote:
>>> Neil Ormos 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.

I'll call your views selfish and myopic. I'll leave the
clinical diagnosis about your sanity to the experts.

No one said there was anything wrong with convenience.
Whether spiffy presentation is a "well designed user
interface experience" is in the eye of the beholder. The
problem here is that the convenience comes at a cost:
monopolization of donated data, pay to play web sites, and
the inability to get the information in a form that would be
most useful.

>> 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.

Thank you for parroting my point. It's no secret that some
people are self-centered and myopic; such behavior causes
the general welfare to sink to the lowest common
denominator.

> 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.
> 2. He has a cooperative agreement with Ed Hall

Thus, access to the data is controlled by Mr. Irish, and
therefore, those seeking different presentations of the data
are SOL. You hand-wave away what happened between
Messrs. Hall and Irish prior to their later agreement.
IIRC, Irish denied Hall's access to the geocaching.com web
site and made noises about copyright infringement. Those
paying attention might have noted that the data Hall was
using was probably not subject to copyright protection.

>> 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.

I'm not selling anything. The entry of a commercial vendor
should not render private what is essentially public-domain
data.

> 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.

You miss the point entirely. Read slowly so you'll get it
this time. The point is to have a publicly accessible,
volunteer-maintained repository of cache data so that anyone
who wants to create some arbitrary view of the data is free
to do so. In such a model, the "market" is entirely
irrelevant; users would have the freedom to create a view of
the data that may be useful to them alone, without
validation by others. In some cases, people might create
presentations and supporting applications that are highly
popular (e.g., the work of Ed "Buxley" Hall). But access to
the data should not be conditioned on such popularity. The
cost of the basic data, and of maintaining and distributing
a database of such data, is almost nil, and therefore an
extensive stream of supporting revenue would not be
required.

The "market" is further irrelevant in that those desiring to
create a non-commercial database, so far, have not indicated
an intention to buy or sell the data.

This notion requires, of course, the ability to understand
that the greater good is not always optimized through the
local maximization of personal wealth or convenience.

Note: If you're going to quote earlier posts, kindly try to
get the attributions right so that other readers can
understand who wrote what (I had to patch them up). It
shouldn't be too hard, even in Eudora.