Talk about a straw man
So I see that James has seen fit to place our conversation up in the echo chamber and then fails to leave out my crucial ending line
I agree that other peoples data and analysis may be of little to no use to you without metadata but for your own internal purposes
So I think he is missing my point – this is not about some new great place to go look at interesting maps. This is about the democratization of GIS tools. As James states, and I would say rather predictably, “my posse is backing me…. “. And you know why that is, because I would bet most of those people are traditional GIS users. And since geocommons did not come officialy baptised by the high GIS priesthood it must be crap. Thanks all for proving my point about why we can’t get along.
One point of clarification – I never liked this as a tool to look at the data other people uploaded. I thought it was awesome for the way in which they can take your data and make heat maps from it. I think it is nice cartography and I think it is nice to be able to save the output as KML.
Geocommons gives anyone the ability to make a heat map with very little specialized training. You may say that is a bad thing, but I say it is interesting. There is less and less need to purchase and learn complicated desktop tools to do some simple analysis.
Beyond that – all these critiques about interface and user experience and such – tell me how long it would take them to fix that interface compared to how long it takes a traditional software vendor to roll out a new rev of their software.
Do I think this will put ESRI out of business and make all my GIS skills useless – heck no. I know there are a lot of caveats that go into interpolation and there is where more to spatial analysis than geocommons exposes. Will Duke Power, Shell Oil, or consultants doing EIR/EIS analysis use this – ummmmm no. Do I think it is cool that some small business owner, city worker, or field biologist can take their GPS data and make a interpolated map from it without spending two semesters in a GIS class – hell yeah.