Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tard army


So there's been this debate out there in blogland about "neogeography vs paleogeography". Fake Ed, for example, has called some of the new arrivals "neotard frigwit hackers".

I think I can speak for the entire community when I say I deplore his use of the offensive word f---wit to decry those with a different view to his. As everyone knows, liberal use of the word f---wit in a geo context is my trademark and I'll fight to the death to keep it.

Anyway. The problem with this kind of argument is that it oversimplifies everything into two polarised groups. This is hardly fair nor conducive to informed debate.

In fact there are not just two, but many types of tards.

  • ARC/Tards. Hold a mysterious religious belief that any fields called 'lat' and 'long' in a database require a $500,000 piece of software to manage. After 30 years of laughing at traditional cartography as old-fashioned, ARC/Tards are now shocked to be the objects of derision themselves, and are secretly hoping that if they ignore this Internet thing, it might go away. Things not to say to an ARC/Tard: "Sorry, you say that's just the annual licence fee?", "Yeah, you can do the same with a CPAN module and two lines of Perl", "How long does it take to learn this stuff?"
  • WFS-Tards. WFS-Tards have the conservatism of ARC/Tards and the cluelessness of neotards, surely a winning combination. In WFS-Tardland, also known as OSGeo, the way to solve a problem is to invent a new standard. No free mapping data? Let's design an open shapefile format because hey, some might turn up. Things not to say to a WFS-Tard: "Yes but what does it do?", "And that's faster than using Google tiles?", "So... who else is using this?"
  • Neotards. Your canonical neotard is a Google API junkie who instantly forgets the difference between 'free beer' and 'free speech' upon taking the first hit from the API crack pipe. Neotards build sites with an 'r' at the end which are ALL THE FRIGGING SAME, except DOPPLR! which is the same but with more lols. Things not to say to a Neotard: "So the lawyers have ok'd your CC license then?", "Of course, it won't quite look like that when Google puts ads on the map", "Ok... and the business model?"
  • Googletards. In the contest for which crazy Google labs project can piss away the Adwords money quickest, Google Maps is way, way out in front. Every drag on a Google Map means one less canape at Larry's wedding. Zoom in and they have to sell a beanbag. Things not to say to a Googletard: "You know, in Europe, we have footpaths", "How much is this costing you again?"

(For the sake of my comments section I'm not including the People's Map in today's list of tards.)

What the neotards and the paleotards have in common is that the world would not change if they disappeared overnight. Maybe some surveyors would have to learn how to use a calculator and a Rotring pen again, I dunno.

The ARC/Tards aren't going to disappear any time soon, but the neotards might. You think TomTom are going to let people keep deriving from TeleAtlas data the way they're doing at the moment, without wanting a slice of the action themselves? Right, and monkeys will fly out of my butt. Note also how Google is now encouraging all the neotards to plot their mashups on Google itself (it's called 'My Maps'), supposedly to empower you to mash up two sources together, but really so that Google, not you, ownz0rs all the rich data.

OpenStreetMap is the exception because we're actually creating stuff. If we disappeared overnight then there'd be no free data, and guys like the Cambridge cycle dudes would have to stop making their maps. Also, even if we do occasionally have some tards in the OSM community, Fake Steve's First Law of Crowd-Sourcing says that as you get more guys together, the sum total of cluelessness decreases.

So, when Bubble 2.0 bursts, it's auf wiedersehen Plazes and Platial - but vorsprung durch technik OSM.

Incidentally, there is one bunch of neotard frigwit hackers that I will give house room, and that's those crazy guys at DOPPLR!. I've put a DOPPLR! panel on my sidebar now so you can follow Fake Steve around the world. Much love to Don DOPPLR! Jr for his awesome frigwit creation. Have fun.

1 comment:

pray said...


You visionary. Tell us more about how you shafted peoplesmaps and xyz mapping?