[Editor's note: When data lacks precision, don't zoom in past it's accuracy, yo. In Washington, DC, we often receive crime statistics located at the block level. A single point could represent any of a couple dozen to hundreds of housing units on a certain street block. The symbol either needs to show the fuzziness, or the map should not zoom in to a level where a symbol becomes associated with a specific property unless it is spot on. Datum issues, where a hundred feed offset can put the dot, even when using high precision, on the wrong side of the street further complicate the issue.]
Republished from PerryGeo.
Another disastrous consequence of inaccurate spatial information… Not only can you accidentally tag your neighbor as a criminal, now it appears that sloppy spatial data has lead to the wrong house getting demolished.
I’ve asked it before but its worth repeating … with all the recent advances in spatial data publishing, where are the advances in metadata and data quality assurance? How do you know where the data comes from, what’s been done to it and by whom? What is the intended use of the data? For the vast majority of the data being shoved out onto the web, these bits of metadata are sorely lacking.
Of course this case is more a matter of one person’s sheer stupidity; I’m not sure any caveats in the metadata would have stopped the wrecking ball!