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#1
frax

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So have you seen yahoo mapmixer? Yahoo's new service, where one can upload any map and georeference them to a world map, to create a global pool of a mash of assorted maps. Quite cool, and could be useful if there specialized maps there. I just experimented, and submitted a map of Kamchatka.

http://maps.yahoo.com/mapmixer

There is a step where one georeferences the uploaded map, by clicking on similar points. I referenced my Kamchatka map decently, and previewed the result (which was a tad off). But I think they need to tweak things, 'cause when I look at it now, it looks seriously messed up...
http://maps.yahoo.co...8a0b81c&pg=view
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#2
benbakelaar

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Months ago I downloaded a tool called MSR MapCruncher from Microsoft Live, which let you do basically this. But it was an installed software application, which produced tilesets at different zoom levels. I'm sure if you poke around you can find it still. Not to say this is better or worse than Yahoo, but I remember the program being fairly advanced as far as options and rubber-sheeting goes.

#3
frax

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Ben, a difference between those - isn't that that everything in mapcruncher are hosted in one pool, tagged and indexed - so you can easily find maps that others uploaded.
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#4
benbakelaar

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Yep you are correct. MapCruncher does all the work and exports it to use with Microsoft Live Local map API as a stand-alone map.

#5
byzantium

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Editorial: What is wrong with “A Napster for Maps”?

The concept seems like a fun new map site blending a BigInternetCompany ’s online mapservice with third party maps.

My first reaction when I saw this site was “Hey, a Napster for maps”

On the surface, it looks like anyone can add their favorite maps into the site with a click or two, and billions of people around the globe will suddenly be able to benefit from all cartographer’s efforts from the beginning of time.

However if you read the subtle gray text below the upload button, it turns out that BigInternetCompany asks that Joe Sixpack Internet user only upload maps that they have the right to publish. It turns out that there’s this thing called copyright, and it applies to maps! Who knew?

So suddenly the population of people who are legitimate map uploaders dwindles down from millions to a relative handful, say a few thousand or so. But what incentive does a cartographer have to upload their maps to this service that doesn’t share revenue, and lose whatever income they might have otherwise garnered from their usually less than windfall profits? So the actual number of cartographers who would want to participate in a “Napster for maps” service must be very small, perhaps a few hundred at most. Why would BigInternetCompany launch a major new site that only a very small number of people would participate in contributing the content with no prospect of revenue sharing?

And the major map publishing companies like National Geographic already sell their maps through many channels and seem unlikely to have an intern spend all day uploading their fine maps to a competitor so that the world can use them without paying for them.

What is the probability that Joe Sixpack map-uploader understands what “right to publish” means? And beyond that, the probability that Joe Sixpack cares about copyright must be even smaller. Look how popular Napster v1 was.

The “network” effect means that sites like Napster, Flickr or Facebook only become useful when large numbers of people invest their time to join/contribute to them. So for this service to really take off through the network effect (like Napster v1 did), requires that large numbers of people violate the copyright of the material they upload. The success of this Napster-style service seems predicated on BigInternetCompany republishing large numbers of maps without negotiating for the rights to them, by getting millions of people to break the copyright for them. This should cause cartographers to wake up and realize that for many of them, their very livelihood is threatened by a “Napster for maps.”

A major difference between Napster and this service is that cartographers typically do not make millions from their maps, and they don’t have the RIAA to threaten illegal up/down-loaders with lawsuits. The not-making–millions is good in one sense, as Joe Sixpack often rationalizes stealing copyrighted material because they feel the owner (a rockstar or record company) is already rich enough. So the only recourse I can see is for mapmakers is to band together and act collectively through professional organizations. Not necessarily to act exactly like the RIAA but there are many things a NACIS-type organization could do, such as educational campaigns, or to apply pressure to BigInternetCompany to 1) make the “right to publish” clause more prominent and more explicit as to what it means; 2) get BigInternetCompany to do a rights check on the uploaded material before it goes public and not publish copyrighted maps without negotiating for the rights; and/or 3) revise the site so that mapmakers can participate in the revenue gained. Why should every mapmaker have to troll through BigCompany's Napster-style website every morning to see how many clueless people violated their copyright again? Publishers are supposed to take active steps to ensure they are not violating copyright, and for the burden to shift onto the creator is a Sisyphean task given we’re talking about millions of random JPEG or GIF images. There was a reason that Napster v1 was shut down even though they had some text on their site telling users to respect intellectual property rights.

Fundamentally I believe it is wrong to make it so easy to violate the copyright of millions of maps with a click or two. Even though there is some light gray text saying you should only upload maps you have the right to publish, far too many people will not realize what that means, happily violate copyright because they hate the RIAA, not even see it because they gray text is so low-contrast, or believe that map X is in the public domain when it isn’t. This is the kind of service that will drive some mapmakers out of business.

Some will make the argument that getting your map in front of millions of people will bring more business, not less. However most copyrighted maps I’ve seen illegally republished have the copyright notice and cartographer credit cropped out. Secondly, the best way to get your map in front of millions of people at little to no cost is to put it on your website. And BigInternetCompany’s new map-site doesn’t even offer a hyperlink to the map-maker’s site, so millions of people may see your map, but have no clue who made it. I cannot see how this is a viable approach for map-makers seeking publicity.

The bottom line for me is, why should BigInternetCompany get rich off your maps being illegally republished and not share a red cent when you probably aren’t even making huge amounts off the maps to begin with?

byzantium

ps--I'm not some Luddite against all new technologies. I think Platial is a fun webapp and a creative way to expand the public's interest in geography.

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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Well said! I wish we could rate posts.
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#7
GoldeneAdler

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byzantium:

Well Said and true.

General:

Many of you may already be aware of this, one can also do this for the program Google Earth, however, it is not as simple as just tupload and paste.
One needs to do some mathematics, but the end result is, that your map will be placed accurately onto google earth imagery.
To solve problems is like solving puzzles to a child

#8
frax

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Goldene - one important difference is that the mapmixer not only makes it easy (and semi-automatic) to align the maps, they are also published to a global pool of maps, accessible for everyone.

Personally, I have hard time to be too offended by this one - it is not really that useable offline, and the accuracy of the alignment + the resolution of the maps are not necessarily the best.

If you make detailed city maps, then maybe you should be weary, but for other parts of map business, I don't think this is that much of a threat... yet.

In some ways, I think this is welcome, creating a clearinghouse for maps, and promoting access. I would actually be interested in publishing the entire pool of maps that I have prepared for work, to make it easily accessible. Unfortunately, this service doesn't work that well for thematic maps, and/or small-scale maps.

If I would be a commercial publisher, I would consider embracing this, and publish low-resolution maps there, with a link on where to get more information.

By the way - I doubt that this will be too successfull, on the level of youtube. Wait until Google launches an equivalent service... !

(by the way - I think YouTube is a better analogy than napster)
Hugo Ahlenius
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#9
KennyRedman

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It seems like this would be ideal for college campuses, hospital complexes, parks, and larger areas that aren't usually represented on traditional maps. The first ones I noticed were universities, and I immediately said, "ya, that makes sense."

#10
GoldeneAdler

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Frax:
Cool, a thematic map man. Or better said, maps for a special purpose man.

Me:
I am a cartographer in the street map industry, and have learnt a lot. However in recent times, after finding this site, I realise, I have so much more to learn.

General:
Google Earth might be not as easy and user friendly to upload maps as is Mapmixer or others alike, but, it can be handy if you were just playing around at home and wanted to compare your companies up to date imagery in comparison to google maps imagery. We have found and since estimated that many countries regions on Google Earth are out of date between 2 to 5 years.
Whereas, as a cartographer, this has some disadvantages when trying to double check your work against this type of source, when the council, fire department, or lands departments are as yet unable to supply one with information.

General MapMixer:
I had a quick play around with this, Can't say I like that much, but I can definitely see advantages if this is more refined by Yahoo for general use to the public.
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