So this weeks Free our Data article attacking the OS (Do you think it’s personal ?) looks into the issue of inaccurate or perhaps out of date data in Navigation Systems and online mapping tools.
These I believe are the facts as presented in Charles Arthurs latest article.
– A street on which a house built in the late 1980’s does not appear to be in some GPS Navigation Systems and web mapping sites
– Sometimes the postcode is recognised but the road name is not.
– On some mapping sites the postcode is correctly geocoded but the mapping does not contain the street.
– Sometimes the postcode is correctly geocoded and the road appears on the map – hooray !!!
What is happening here? – well clearly the different service providers are making a choice as to who to obtain geographic information from, and how often to update the data in their systems.
I would guess most in-car navigation systems today are using data which is at least two years old, some progressive companies such as Tele Atlas actively market update data CD’s and memory cards every year, but the choice is with the owner to install them at additional cost.
Charles as you would expect suggests that is all the data produced by the Post Office and OS was provided for free, these problems would just disappear, as these commercial companies would no longer have to pay for updated data?
There is however another way of looking at this, the one example cited in the article, streetmap.co.uk, which actually had the road in the correct location, used up to date accurate data provided it so happens by Ordnance Survey.
They have made the business decision to source the most up-to-date information possible for their service and to license it.
Other service provides can source their data from elsewhere and may update the data less frequently, it is their business decision to do so, as contrary to popular opinion there is a choice !
There does appear to be a trend in the media at the moment to attack Satellite Navigation Systems for sending users “the wrong way”, nobody mentions you could make the same mistakes using a traditional printed road atlas if your were not really aware of your surroundings
Still I remember when the press had a phase of attacking music CD’s arguing that LP’s were actually better – It’s just the way the media handles new technology, first it’s great, then is terrible, its great but the next best thing is just around the corner and finally shock horror! nobody is making that technology anymore but we the people still love it !!
The Guardian article also states that local authorities are restricted in providing “up to date” data to other data companies as this would breach OS licensing agreements. This is true for OS derived data, if the local authority however has geocoded their own address information using GPS or their own surveyors of course this would not be the case.
Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.