VGI for Flood Plains Around MyHouse
Fantom Planet’s post suggests ESRI is paying more attention to volunteered geographic information VGI. Fantom Planet’s concept of Generation M: Me, MyMaps, MySpace is useful. Once the Generation M becomes home owners, I think we will see MyHouse, a web site that lets me use geography to organize my activities in my neighborhood.
Take flood plains for example. Recently I saw in the newspaper that FEMA was updating the flood plain maps. But wait, Generation M doesn’t read newspapers – MyHouse must get GeoRSS alerts for things like this.
To see the draft updated maps go here I must go here and pull up a very Gen-X ArcIMS site.
We have 90 days to file protests against the new maps. If I had other info I could mashup against the map, it would make it much easier to explain my protest. Protestors should be allowed to mark up a public map where neighbors can review.
FEMA needs to recognize VGI and provide guidelines for the local authorities coordinating the map updates. The guidelines would encourage (RestFul) practices that would allow sites like MyHouse to integrate. The information volunteered by protestors is crucial to allow creation more accurate maps.
On the political side, there are likely other activities in FEMA that could benefit from VGI as well, like for emergency response. So maybe when the next administration cleans house VGI can be introduced comprehensively. (Now when is that California primary?)
On the technical side, once ESRI fixes ElementGraphicsLayer.WriteXml and provides the new mashup capability in 9.3 maybe MyHouse could be built with ArcGIS Server. Until then I must say building MyHouse would be easier with other tools.
On the philosophical side, by selfishly collecting data for MyHouse I would indirectly benefit my neighborhood (my herd).