Zillow, CrowdSourcing and MapCruncher
Shortly after Zillow announced they are releasing their neighborhood boundaries, The Virtual Earth blog described how this data can be chopped up by MapCruncher into tiled vectors for more efficient display.
I don’t see a realistic editing workflow though.
Let’s pretend I’m a realtor with in-depth knowledge of the boundary for a particular neighborhood and would like to edit Zillow’s boundary. Let’s assume my web map editing skills are limited to editing polygons in Google’s My Maps.
Editing the Neighborhood
I would like to go to a Zillow Web map displaying the neighborhoods (as vector tiles), choose a neighborhood, provide a Google My Maps account URL and click a button that says “edit”. Zillow would then would forward the outline of the selected neighborhood to My Maps account. I would then edit the neighborhood polygon using My Maps editing tools.
Is Google exposing My Maps in their API? When I search the Google Maps API reference for “My Maps” I don’t see anything. It would be great if I could leverage it as an editor.
Updating the Tiles
After editing the neighborhood I would then go back to the original neighborhood at the Zillow site submit the My Maps URL and click “Update”. Zillow would then retrieve the edited polygon, review it, and submit it to a MapCruncher queue. The MapCruncher process would read the queue and update the affected tiles. Maybe they could include a URL to my realty site in exchange for me improving their data. An edit history list could also be maintained.
HPC Cluster for MapCruncher
Granted there would probably not be a lot of updates to this dataset, but if there were, I think the MapCruncher queue would quickly fill up. I wonder if MapCruncher could be deployed to a cluster using Windows HPC Server 2008 cluster. If such a system could be implemented, it seems like, for example, a crowd of appraisal districts could be harnessed to maintain tiled vectors of parcels across an entire state.