Follow-up from my Web2.0 Expo Talk…

conferences, disaster, gis, openstreetmap, web20expo, web2expo, worldchanging, worldshelters

Mikel Maron posted a great followup to my web2.0 expo talk, explaining the extent of the problem in more detail as well as discussing what is being done to fix it.

The example I gave in my talk was how the Red Cross couldn’t navigate after Katrina because they depended on Google Maps, which was (and still is) out of date. The bridge was destroyed, but Google (and Yahoo, and your mapping GPS, etc) all say it’s still there.

Mikel Maron's image of google mapping error in Waveland, MS
Mikel said:

“It’s not just Google, but every major web mapping provider that’s out of date. Here is Yahoo giving directions over the bridge. The issue is with the data providers, Navteq and TeleAltas, whose business processes insert huge delays between reality and its representation catching up. Yes, there are efforts right now to rebuild the physical bridge, but that doesn’t excuse a huge obvious mistake from persisting for over 1.5 years.

This model of collecting and distributing mapping data is fundamentally broken. Basic geo-information about this world is too important and changing too fast to be in the hands of closed off corporations. Of course, there is another way, where the loop between users of data and contributors of data is closed (in an open way), and where the time data was collected and updated is transparent.”

I highly recommend checking out his blog!

On risks an rewards…

disaster, friends, lessons, People, stories

(written by a dear friend about the Seattle Shooting Tragedy, reposted with permission from the author.)

Yesterday, when I heard the initial reports about what had happened on East Republican, I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, understand them. On 21st? Where? At a Burner house. Wait, where? You mean where we used to have brunch so often, when six of our crew lived there, like four years ago?

Yes, there. Oh, my. No.

Last night and today, I’ve seen the photos of the house with crime scene tape. I remember helping some of my friends move in, and later move out. I remember the entry room and the kitchen nook and the teeny little upstairs rooms and the bathroom door that saved two people’s lives yesterday morning.

As I write this today, I’m in the uneasy place of knowing that, even though it didn’t happen to *me*, to *my* closest circle of friends, there’s every reason that it could have. I’ve hosted and been a guest at that same after-party a hundred times. Many of us have. I’ve met people at parties, found them perfectly acceptable, and then invited them to wind down with us afterwards.

Many of us have.

Today, many of us are probably wondering whether we’ve been too trusting, whether we’ve been too open, whether we’ve taken too many risks.

But how many chance meetings would we sacrifice in the name of “playing it safe?” How many lifelong relationships grow from those chance meetings? I met [my partner] at an all-night [house] party with a few hundred people, for crying out loud. And she’s just one of so many astonishingly-wonderful people I’ve met through friends, or friends of friends.

Being open to others and to what they have to teach us is always a risk. But even today, I’ll offer that the risk is worth the reward.

In the coming days and weeks, our community has a great opportunity to help those around us. To help them, though, we need to keep taking risks with our hearts, and yes, perhaps, with our lives.

If you are hurting, take the risk and reach out. If you know of someone who is hurting, take the risk and reach out to them.

As it has been written: “I can not wipe away your tears. I can only show you how to make them holy.”


In memory of those killed, March 25, 2006.
(note: I migrated this post to here on September 22, 2007)