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Threaten Your Customers With Legal Action; That'll Make Them Feel Valued And Want To Renew

We're all familiar with the scene. You're stuck on the end of the phone, to yet another call centre, you're on hold due to "significantly high call volume", you're paying premium rate for the privilege of being on hold and a disembodied voice interrupts the on hold musak to say "your call is important to us, please continue to hold".

Well, obviously not that important, because if it was that important than there'd actually be someone to answer the phone. Add into the mix that it's way outside of normal peak hours and you realise that "significantly high call volume" really means "we've only employed two people, one of them is on holiday and the other is taking their only toilet break of the day".

So far, so familiar. The curse of the non specific, applies to everyone, on hold experience. But oddly nowhere near as bad as when the non-specific, applies to everyone approach transfers to email and a company threatens to sue you if you don't renew.

Location Privacy Issue? I See No Location Privacy Issue

Telematics, the use of GPS and mobile technology within the automotive business, and the Web 2.0, neo and paleo aspects of location have traditionally carved parallel paths, always looking at if they would converge but somehow never quite making enough contact to cross over.

But not any more.The combination of 3G mobile communications and GPS enabled smart-phones such as the iPhone and the BlackBerry means that one way or another, the Internet and the Web are coming into the car, either in your pocket or into the car itself.

Deliciousness: Sherlock Holmes, Car Desks, Macs, GeoVation, Crocodiles and Total Carp

Yet again it's been a while. But there's stuff out there on the Internet you know.

The (Geo) Data Dichotomy Dilemma

tags: cloudmade,data,geo,google,microsoft,navteq,nokia,openstreetmap,teleatlas,tomtom,yahoo category: blog link: description: type: text has_math: no status: published

Before Web 2.0, before mashups, before FreeOurData.org.uk and other pleas, before the Internet itself, things used to be so much simpler for geo data. You were either an end user and accessed the data as a map or you were a GIS Professional and accessed the data via a (frequently very expensive and very specialised) Geographical Information System. But now we have geo data, lots of geo data, some of it free, some of it far from free, both in terms of usage and cost and a fundamental problem has replaced the paucity of data.

Everyone wants free, open, high quality geo data and no one wants to pay for it. But it's not quite that simple.

The recent acquisitions of Tele Atlas and Navteq, the two big global geo data providers, by TomTom and Nokia respectively show the inherent value in owning data. But owning the data isn't enough any more as the market for licensing the data is a shrinking one, despite the phenomenal growth of the satnav market, both in car and on mobile handsets. Why is the market shrinking? Because no one wants to pay for it, at least directly. TomTom, primarily a hardware vendor, are differentiating into the software and data market,  seems to be concentrating on the PND usage of the data, although we've yet to see how the outlay necessary to acquire Tele Atlas coupled with the overall economic downturn will effect their overall 2009 earnings. Their Q1 2009 report somewhat dryly notes that "market conditions were challenging" and that "we are making clear progress with the transformation of Tele Atlas into a focused business to business digital content and services production company". There may be other aspirations at play here but for now at least, the company is keeping quiet.

Forget the Credit Crunch; it's the Geo Crunch in London

It was a particularly cruel piece of coincidental timing; quite a few of the usual suspects of the London geo scene congregated in Harrogate earlier this week for the one day Where 2.0 Now? conference. I was there representing Yahoo! Geo Technologies as well as Chris Osborne from Ito World, Ed Parsons from Google, John Fagan from MultiMap/Bing Maps, Harry Wood from Cloudmade, John McKerrell from mapme.at, Steven Feldman from knowwhere and a host of others.

Have You Noticed That noticin.gs Have Noticed WOEIDs?

While everyone, well almost everyone, was fast asleep in London, Twitter quietly dropped a bomb-shell into their API announcements mailing list. Their new Trends API will help the service's users answer the perennial question "what's going on where am I".

So far, so geo but Twitter has noticed what I've been saying in my talks and accompanying decks for the last two years or so. "We're using Yahoo!'s Where on Earth IDs (WOEIDs) to name each location that we have information for -- we're doing so because those IDs give not only language-agnostic, but also permanent, stable, and unique identifiers for geographic locations.  For example, San Francisco has a permanent and unique WOEID of 2487956, London has 44418, and the Earth has WOEID 1."