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Username: steve_l
Date/Time: Tue, October 24, 2000 at 6:11 AM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows NT 5.0
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Subject: Criticism of the SRI .geo proposal


        Criticism of the SRI .geo proposal

While I am in favour of geolocated web services and content, I am not
convinced that this proposal is the right approach. Its core benefit
may be as a marketing and publicity tool.

1. There is the need to address disputed cells, such as the Kashmir
region, oft disputed between india and pakistan. Letting either or both
countries control that area and icann/sri/geo foundation is taking sides
in a long standing dispute

2. Because the naming policy is clearly defined for machine generation
of domains, why bother with a .geo TLD? Machines can just as easily use
subdomains of during a demonstration period.

3. Many existing web sites and services are implicitly geolocated. Why
have a new heirarchy when a special geolocated UDDI registry would find
located services?

4. I am concerned that the nameserver registration process is just
another way of generating revenue for registrys. A 'reasonable fee' for
a single location would scale up to be very expensive for anyone serving
dynamic traffic or weather data for an entire continent. But keep the
fee low and you encourage the virtual geode to be covered in spam
advertising for irrelevant content.

5. The whole dynamic update mechanism is still 'to be done'. That means
that SRI are applying for a TLD without apparently addressing many of
the implementation issues. Given some of the examples have near
constant update -e.g logging the location of parts of a moving
production line- the proposal implies a rate of change many orders of
magnitude more dynamic than standard registrys, even that of DHCP
servers on a LAN. This will be hard to deliver on.

6. The billing scheme fixes the amount the gTLD registrar charges
cell registrars ($0.15-0.50), which prevents countries offering their
regions content at lower prices (as .UK and .ZA do today).

7. In the detailed proposal one submits one's position to a geoserver
and it returns relevant geodata. But there are many other context items
which are relevant in a search: velocity and bearing, user wants
("cinemas", "traffic", "holidays") which are not included in the naming
scheme or the search terms: why not? URLs like cinemas.n52w2.geo may
become valuable items.

One of the items I provide in my spare time is geolocated data : my
favourite alpine hill climbs. It is reasonably tourist centric for its
little niche? Would I put such 'amateur' content in the .geo domain? Not
at $1-5 per registered point. The proposal is not economic for larger
databases provided by amateurs -despite the fact that a vast amount of
touring content is of that nature. Anyone supplying vast amounts of
geolocated data may also have issues with the cost -offering at cost
registration to academic content would be critical to ensuring that .geo
does become the home of all GIS data.

The issues I have with execution (need for a new protocol for dynamic
update of registry data, disputed territories, possible limited value of
pure lat/long searches) can all be investigated without the need for a
new TLD. Does SRI have a working prototype addressing these issues? If
they do so then perhaps we can all be given access to it to see if it
addresses all of them.

To summarise, I would like to reiterate that geolocated web information
can be of profound benefit. But other I feel that unified geolocated
markup of existing web sites will benefit everyone without the need to
fork off geolocation into a separate heirarchy. If that is what is
needed for every 'complex' search term, then all work on the semantic
web might as well be stopped right now, because clearly it is obsolete.

Steve Loughran


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