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Open Database of Places is Inevitable

In response to this week’s Tech Crunch’s article, “It’s Time for an Open Database of Places,” and specifically in response to a comment posted by Andrew Shotland, our own Myron Ahn wrote up a brief but passionate response. Given the interest in this topic, we thought we’d post it here on the Factual blog:

With all due respect to my old pal Andrew, I believe that an open listings database is inevitable and will happen. Technology is making it easier to build such a database, and based on current trends the world is moving toward a more open model for data in general.

Of course, building the best open listings database would require:

*geocoding (national and international)
*intelligent aggregation functions
*good merging and deduplication (based on both machine algorithm and crowd-consensus)
*ongoing and continuous auto-updating
*continuous user input and correction to keep the data fresh (the human dimension)
*room for long-tail attributes to be added
*spam filters
*moderation/curation from a responsible party

This list isn’t exhaustive, but I believe this is where the future is heading. It’s only a question of when — and which companies have the resolve to get there first.

Myron Ahn, Factual

So do you agree with Myron? What were your thoughts on article? Let us know what you think.

–The Factual Team