Board of Geographic Names Invites are Like Gmail Invites
The U.S. Board of Geographic Names (BGN) is the United State's executive body who officially coordinates federal recognition of geographic place names. They meet on a regular basis and consist of representatives from USGS, NGA, State Department, CIA, and other government agencies. Of note, which is important here, is that National Geographic has an advisory non-voting seat on the BGN. Why? Maybe they make nice maps? Or, they just like get-togethers? I hear they have a pretty nice spread of fine meats & cheeses at BGN meetings. National Geographic has been on the BGN for a number of years providing input and listening about what issues the BGN deals with. I would assume they would be the voice of reason too since their writers and photographers seem to be everywhere these days. Yet, why has no one else been invited to participate on the BGN? I couldn't tell you. I assume that invites are limited because of the Board's inherently governmental function. So why in this new era of international spats over boundaries and place names in Google Earth has anyone from GE or the BGN thought to coordinate? If the two do not, would Google Earth become the de facto source for international boundaries and place names and usurp any official governmental geonames policy? This is possibly the reason why National Geographic was invited years ago when they had a large influence on the public with their distrobution of maps & atlases. It may happen, but I think at some point the BGN is going to need to address this with those who provide web mapping services like Google, Microsoft, and their data providers. Eventually floating BGN invites to those who have a significant international influence. Like those with Gmail accounts. UPDATE: After reading James' note on the "UN protest" to Google Earth, I have come to the conclusion that James is correct. Google does need to figure out metadata. Could one embed a URI for metadata in their KML file? Or, do I have absolutly no clue of what I am talking about? [Scoffing laugh] Google running borders by anyone. Ha! That's a good one.