Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Kofi, we've got a problem.

Surprisingly Jerusalem was not included in the database of National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) we use in Panoramio. We thought that such a important city should be included, so we manually added it. Just now we realize how clever was the people from NGA "ignoring" the city.

After receiving e-mails, posts in the forum and comments to some photos complaining about the status of Jerusalem, we are aware of the problem. After all, hundreds of diplomats from United Nations have not solved this problem in 40 years.

Israelians and Jewish insist that the whole city of Jerusalem belongs to Israel. Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs claim the eastern part of the city to Palestine.

UN position says that the western part of the city belongs to Israel and the eastern part to an Arab state that still doesn't exist, so for the moment to a territory called West Bank. That's how it is in Panoramio..

However Panoramio's location system of photos can't distinguish subtles differences of hundreds of meters, thus some points located in the eastern part of Jerusalem appear in Panoramio as located in Israel.

JoaquĆ­n suggestion is not to make any statements about the "territory" in which Jerusalem is located. (e.g. to mark photos of Jerusalem just as "Jerusalem", not "Jerusalem > Israel" nor "Jerusalem > West Bank"). I like this solution.

What do you think? Does anyone have the telephone number of Kofi Annan?

Monday, April 3, 2006

INSPIRE directive should be modified

INSPIRE directive from European Union guarantees the right of the public to discover, and view, geospatial data (mainly maps) for free. That's good. However access to the geospatial data and the right to republish it are not free of cost under the current wording of this directive.

In the U.S. government geospatial data is completly free and this industry is 5 times bigger there than in Europe. Nowadays in Europe only few companies that can buy this data and because it is very expensive its use is strongly limited to few applications.

The European industry of geospatial services could be boosted with free access to geospatial data. You can sign the petition to change the INSPIRE directive.

More information about modifying the INSPIRE directive.

Why Geospatial data should be free.