Asian Surveying & Mapping
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Traditionally it has been a simple matter to determine who owns what parts of a particular spatial data application and work flow. This applied to geodata, technologies, people and even extended to maintenance over time and updating.

New approaches in surveying, GNSS, mapping and remote sensing applications are no longer limited to singular portions of the value chain. Instead, they tend to cross boundaries, connecting to other aspects of work flows and are becoming more integrated. This has the net result of increasing the value of the original data source and employs technology to it’s fullest capacity. As collaboration becomes the ‘name-of-the-game’ and crowd sourcing tools become more fully engaged, the underlying models for collaborative applications grow to increasingly high value.

The analogy to this is the building information model (BIM) for architects, and the geographic information system (GIS) model for work of that nature. One can foresee that GNSS models are also valuable as they employ work flows, that may also be running inside Cloud operating environments. One question that might reasonably asked it, “who owns the model, or Cloud portions of the combined application?” If one disembarks from one of these projects, can they export the model for those pieces they have worked upon and are inclusive of their participation?

Or, do they sell these components and associated work back into the model, to whomever does own it? The lines are not always clear. Assuming the modeling aspects are developed through routines and work from the start, it might be reasonable to assume that they are jointly owned.

But even so, if one contracts for a model or Cloud service, what is the extent to which they can extract parts of the model, particularly based upon Open Architectures, and re-use those components into other spaces and places or collaborative units?I don’t have the answer, but it is becoming clearer to me that simply participating in Cloud services is not the sole value of the relationship. Based on open architecture, the logical next question becomes, to what extent can I extract my invested participation for re-use in other work I do? Isn’t that what openness is supposed to be all about?

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Jeff Thurston is co-founder and editor for Vector1 Media.