Google Earth Won’t Get Virtual London

    August 13, 2007

I’ve seen it: an amazing 3D model of London that was meant to wind up in Google Earth.  Only now, due to what I’ll politely call “bureaucratic nonsense,” it won’t.

Coverage could center on Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith – he’s the leader of the Virtual London modeling group, and is also author of the Digital Urban blog.  “Smithee,” as he calls himself, relays full statements from both the Ordnance Survey and Google.  But the Londonist offers some less restrained reporting, and it’s there that we’ll go.

(For the record, don’t blame Smithee for what’s to come; he wrote, “Suffice to say it made us smile but also worry slightly in a ‘we need to distance ourselves from all this for the sake of our career’ sort of way.”)

The Londonist identifies the Ordnance Survey as “our national mapping agency,” and states that its actions have “made London the laughing stock of the mapping world.”  The Londonist also depicts a conversation between the agency and Google in a way that makes the Ordnance Survey (if it can be treated as a single entity) look like a pigheaded idiot.

In short, it would appear that the Ordnance Survey could not come to terms with Google over a licensing agreement; the government agency then issued a 150-word explanation, while the search giant wrote, “disappointed.”  Makes you inclined to side with the Londonist and old Smithee, eh?

Dr. Hudson-Smith recommends that any interested parties “join the Public Geodata campaign and if you’re publicly motivated lobby your MEP about the Inspire plan . . .”