April 05, 2009

Can You Believe That Online Map Data?

Greetings. There's a excellent piece in the Los Angeles Times today discussing how geocoding errors can result not only in clusters of inaccurate data being displayed within online maps, but also in the spread of that bad data to other databases and systems. Of course, all manner of critical factors and decisions concerning services, privacy, and so much else can end up being based on such data.

This "garbage in, garbage out" truth should be obvious, but we all too often tend to look at colorful online maps and just assume that they're accurate. Yet the underlying assumptions of the mapping system designers play a major role in the results when geocoded data in particular is in error or cannot be interpreted properly.

A map, like a picture, may be worth "a thousand words" -- but that doesn't necessarily mean that those words are always a reflection of reality.


Posted by Lauren at April 5, 2009 09:24 AM | Permalink
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