After writing last week about Google Maps and other GPS related resources, I read in Wired today that France has launched its own satellite imaging service, Géoportail (however, when I tried to look at where I recently went on holiday, the site was unavailable due to too many users trying to access it). Géoportail has been largely developed by the French-government owned National Geographic Institute, and allows users to zoom in on highly detailed satellite images.
If the French can do this, why can’t the UK government agency, Ordnance Survey show the same kind of online zeal? At the moment, OS charges users to re-use its mapping data, preventing developers coming up with innovative solutions of the kind managed by dedicated Google-hackers. The Guardian newspaper has been chundering on about this for a few weeks now (see latest article), and has launched a campaign to make UK mapping data more freely available – see http://www.freeourdata.org.uk/.