Two weeks ago, we were excited to read that the World Bank took a public position explicitly endorsing citizen mapping tools that keep control of citizen-generated geo-data in the hands of the folks that created it, not the organization providing the mapping tool used to generate the data. This statement was in direct response to months of concerns expressed by a range of organizations and experts, including Global Integrity, over the Bank's deal with Google to provide quick access to Google Map Maker data for humanitarian purposes. That agreement, which has never been made public, seemed at times to endorse the use of Google's Map Maker tool itself, which puts user-submitted geo-data in Google's control. Jon Mitchell at ReadWriteWeb has a nice wrap-up and summary of the issues here.
"…the World Bank only supports citizen-mapping efforts that give users free access to the map data they create. While citizens are free to choose the projects and tools that best meet their goals, our guiding principle is simple: if the public helps to collect or create map data, the public should be able to access, use and re-use that data freely."