AWS GeoWeb04 Dec 2008
There are a couple of rate limiting steps of building libraries of free data, centralized in one place, for all to use. First, it costs a lot (for someone trying to provide a free service) to store and provide access to large amount of data. Second, if you don’t get enough eyeballs, the large effort in maintaining the library starts to feel pointless, and eventually you stop, driving the value of your collection eventually to zero.
Could the new Public Data Sets service at Amazon Web Services be a break from the dismal tradition of free data set aggregation? There is a limitation, in that you are meant to access the data sets from the AWS cloud (reducing Amazon’s bandwidth investment in hosting them), but with many apps migrating into the cloud anyways, this could be quite a boon.