After my blog yesterday about Google Maps I found it a bit spooky to read in today's Guardian about councils bypassing Ordnance Survey for Google Maps. A very interesting article and who can blame the councils? If they get cheaper data which is fit for purpose then why not use it? OK, I wouldn't use Google data for measurement and there is no info about source, quality, accuracy or date which are vital if you need to use the mapping for legal reasons. But for showing where schools are, or where the local library is - why not? There will always be a place for reliable and accurate data. Ordnance Survey data will not be lost to the nation (as it were) but I believe the two can co-exist.
Without going into rant mode one of my pet hang-ups is the lack of metadata with geospatial data. Data without background info is only partially useful. Unless the user knows how good/bad their data is they can't use it in the best way. We continue to hear of horror stories where people have placed their faith in GPS positions without realising that it's not accurate to the 4 decimal places of second that the read out is given to. But perhaps it's not anyone's fault? It's an education issue too.