JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A mixed Jewish-Arab…
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.businessinsider.com
This is an interesting angle on the concept of crowd sourced data. In the traditional environment of cartography with mapping companies, many calls are received questioning accuracy of data or filling gaps in the content.
For example, with new housing construction and suburbs being built, it is very normal for people moving into new homes in new streets where the address is not be found on a map. I recently visited a friend in their new (4 year old) holiday home where the street itself wasn’t on the map yet, therefore the many reasonably new homes weren’t on it either.
A lot of calls to mapping companies come from angry people who were awarded a speeding violation because they were following the speed zone on the car navigation map and the mapping company didn’t have the latest changes on the data set.
In most mapping companies they receive those calls and in various ways check the validity of the information. They might even use Google Earth to check from their imagery, perhaps government aerial photography and some companies even use services like Fiverr https://www.fiverr.com/ to pay a local person a mall sum of money to go and view the location, take a photo together with coordinates from their smartphone to confirm the exact location to go with the details.
Companies like TomTom compare historical driven data with map share information provided as a means to reduce the risk of malicious or incorrect information contaminating their maps.
The risk comes in when an organization doesn’t have the resources to check all crowd sourced content. For example with Waze, which is based on crowd sourcing, they have services where people can report something, perhaps a crash or a change to the conditions (safely from the passenger seat through a disclaimer that says you are not driving at the time). However the quality, being crowd validated could easily be abused, or ignored. They have a function for example that tells a passenger that previously an accident was reported at this location and asks for confirmation. You can then edit the incident or say it doesn’t exist.
When it comes to confirmation of information, such as a POI or Point of Interest as in this story, it comes down to individual users. Great for pranks or political interference/disinformation with data. This particular story doesn’t surprise, because Waze originated in Israel where it probably has one of the highest per capita of users.
A bunch of students or hackers could quite easily add, modify AND confirm incorrect data and it would only be found out if people went out of their way to point out the incorrect information, which in this case for obvious reasons they did.
In other cases, the risks are more likely that if solutions like Waze are not regularly monitored for changes and then don’t validate them, their reputation simply drops and less people will use their app in favor of apps with more trustworthy data. POI data has the highest risk, because details about a location won’t interfere with your navigation to it, unless people change the name itself, so that the correct name no longer resides in the database. This is also not an unlikely eventuality, because a large percentage of businesses change their names, or when the premises are sold, a new tenant may come in with a new name and brand.
For the cost of an unwitting speeding fine, (yes you should go by what you see through your windscreen) you could purchase a navigation application where the brand spends the money to give you a higher degree of accuracy. Of course they will all get it wrong sometimes, hence, refer back to what you see through your windscreen.
What’s the answer to this? Ultimately, for now at least, you get what you pay for. Crowd sourcing in many cases is wonderful as evidenced by products like Open Street Map. Wikipedia is another example. The difference with Wikipedia is that if it gives you incorrect information, you are unlikely to drive your car through the fog into a river after reading it.