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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Not In My Backyard!!

When I was an undergrad one of my instructors taught us the concept of N.I.M.B.Y. (see title), which is basically the idea that as long as something someone is doing doesn't affect you it doesn't matter. This has a large impact on mapping and especially on remotely sensed information.

We all love that we can go into Google maps and find our house (see image) we love using sites like Trulia to research homes and use Google's street view to take a look at the neighborhood. There is always an outcry when the government wants to have some privacy, but when does this close up view of our homes or cars become an invasion of personal privacy? In some cases it seems pretty cut and dry, If the photographers come onto private property to take the pics, but if you are picking your nose, or in this case peeing (Safe for work) on the side of the road you really have no recourse.

I was talking to the Cartography class I teach about this, and they didn't seemed to be bothered by the fact that this kind of information was out there until one guy in class shouted out "hey I know that guy" as he was looking at street view of his hometown. After that, it was creepy. I am still undecided as to what I think about it. I love that I can get data so easily, because that is what I do for work, but I am not sure I like my data so easily available. I guess in my case it really is a case of N.I.M.B.Y.

What do you think of this trend in geospatial information availability?

5 comments:

Aaron said...

Goespacial hyper spastic retulra triangulation, iterspacial...

ZZZZzzzzz....ZZZZzzzzz

Just like back in the Haute, anytime you and/or Jenson talk about all of that, it puts me right to sleep!! ;) Sorry, couldn't resist myself.

All of it being available to see...fun arguement, there is always the if you aren't doing anything illegal, you shouldn't care (so what are you hiding), but on the other side everytime we loose a freedom, the human races is damaged and we will not be able to get back what we have lost without violence and bloodshed.

Personally, the satelite photos being available at the resolution they are available at doens't bother me much, can't glen much specific about people, very small invasion of provacy. The Google street view bugs me some, but as long as google will remove that stuff when asked, no huge problem, but I don't think I like it much.

Scott said...

A funny thing about the "if you aren't doing anything illegal" argument is I have heard of police using Google Earth and Maps to check out suspected marijuana growers property without having to get a warrant...and you should be happy I keep my geospatial chatter a very small minimum here =0)

Jeff said...

I don't know how often these images are updated but I can tell you that in my neighborhood it has been a while. The street veiw doesn't show anyone anything that they cannot see driving down my street so that doesn't really bother me. I don't know cause I've never really thought about being the upstanding citizen that I am. I probably could say more but it's almost 5:00 and I don't want to be a second more than I have to.

Scott said...

Jeff, go to the maps at the bottom of my blog and type in your address and then click on "birds eye view" in the virtual earth window (right side) then you can get a 360 degree view of your house...

Jeff said...

I checked out the birds eye view and still do not see this really invading my privacy. You could see that some one was in my front yard (probably me doing yard work) but the resolution in the birds eye view is some poor that you can't really pick anything out. I have two trees in my back yard, One you can barely the other not at all. I really think someone could be "sunbathing" in their backyard and you wouldn't be able to pick it out in that view. My point is until the resolution gets high enough see into a window its not really invading anyones privacy. The only issue that I can really see is in the street view you may be able to see into someones garage if they left the garage door open but because of the way the market is here and how often the images are updated that family could be gone by the time a would be thief sees something he wants. My neighbor finished a drive way last summer that doesn't show on any of the images that i have seen and they have since moved.