US: At the 2010 Location Business Summit, Director of Nokia’s Ovi Places, Gary Gale, strongly regretted the current situation in which most major players in the location based business industry were building their own data “silos”, each with some mechanism to associate place names with a location and a unique identifier. Each player was creating duplicate place name entries for these places.
Gale proposed a solution – an “open” database of place names. This solution would need to be supported, Galeargued, by the big players in the location based business industry in order to be successful. Admitting that the Ovi Places Registry is currently a silo Gale said that he was interested in learning how to share a common registry of place names with other companies. Gale expressed concern about the fact that open licenses wouldn’t be sufficient to protect an open place name database.
However, there are technical challenges and questions about an open registry of place names, such as how to handle multiple names for the same location, multiple locations for the same place, and how to represent the shape and location of places in the database.
These challenges could be surmounted with the right type of collaboration between cartographers, surveyors, GIS professionals, and location based businesses.