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Username: LStephens
Date/Time: Sat, November 4, 2000 at 7:03 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.76 using Windows 95
Score: 5
Subject: Support for .Geo Proposal


The comments provided are my own and do not represent my employer.

We should commend SRI for having the technical understanding, business model, and vision to develop and advance the .geo proposal. This effort provides the framework for a spatial knowledge ecology open to everyone and where communities of interest can develop, grow, and be enriched by an "open" approach which is not owned by any particular company, industry, government, or individual. Clearly while the objective of the proposal is to have a viable business model which responds to the marketplace and commercial drivers the another objective is also to meet the "spirit of public good." Not acting in a responsible manner which marries these objectives would damage and discredit the effort -- not in the best interests of SRI.

Until I read SRI's proposal my "world view" of how spatial services behaved on the Internet was more myopic and parochial than now. Already as a potential user of the spatial products and services from this framework and a professional working in this field for over two decades my thinking and understanding have been stretched. Location Services, a hot topic and field, which is growing rapidly presents us with a picture of commodity services available to and of interest to millions of people either directly through mobile applications and data to cellular phone users or as part of "yellow pages" services that locates a business for us and provides directions. Industry in response to this commercial opportunity will build new applications and data providing new knowledge rich environments. As a result of this commercial investment, government and public services will benefit from these additions and will be able to exercise opportunistic leveraging of the technology, data, and services to improve their "public service" delivery capabilities. Efforts like National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI), and Digital Earth should benefit greatly.

Like any project which represents such a large domain space and impacts the global community many questions exist. The logistics of coordinating such an effort presents SRI with many challenges. Reaching all the potential stakeholders and getting consensus with all of them is an impossible and unrealistic task when the range of stakeholders stretches from individuals to commercial service providers like travel agencies  and telecommunications companies to software developers like geographic information systems companies to local, regional, and national government service providers like city and regional planning agencies and national mapping agencies, and finally to global public services providers like the United Nations.

If we approach this proposal, which is an incredible opportunity, with a spirit of trust and respect and follow an approach which offers understanding and requests an open dialogue with SRI directed at a reasonable consensus/inclusionary process, I believe that this effort is a win-win for everyone. By recognizing that as a community we can work together to solve both the policy and technical issues which the various implementations will encompass we will be stronger and the benefits achieved by the global community will be significant and richer.  The other option is to crush the effort, tossing it aside, with the knowledge that we will not know when next we might have such an opportunity.

I choose to recognize the "vision" and opportunity presented by this proposal and work with SRI to provide the best spatial framework for the global community. Let's go do this together.


Larry Stephens
Booz-Allen and Hamilton, Inc.


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