Talk on Open GeoData in Australia

Yesterday, Tuesday 20th January 2009, I gave a flawed, imperfect, rather long talk called Free And Open GeoData – From Shadows to Reality at the March South Together, 2009 Conference at the University of Tasmania.

If one wants to get a message across, and perhaps be entertaining, one has to sprinkle one’s talk with deliberately harsh criticism of the status quo.

The simple reality is that access by individual people to large scale (accurate) government GeoData in Australia (principly road centrelines and street address points) such that they can value-add, remix or re-distribute their creations, is way too expensive and restrictive. Other government departments, private businesses and Google – via PSMA – are well catered for by the centralised state government departments that integrate local council data into single, high detail, state-wide datasets. So, saying and trying to explain why the situation exists for individual people, by trying to describe the Eco-System that public servant geospatial producers live in, will include inflammatory statements.

But in my talk I am also critical of the OpenStreetMap, Track2Australia etc projects even though they have all the right intentions. I think it is more important that we create a project for the capture of simple street address points for the purpose of free, online, geocoding.

I also make the point that “channel marketing” (if that is the right term) which sees hardware vendors purchase or team with software (data) vendors to create bundled products is both a limit to our freedom but may also, inadvertantly, be a key to unlocking government data in the future.

If I have gotten any facts wrong, please email me and, if you convince me that I am wrong, I will modify the talk on this website accordingly