Taking GeoRSS Too Far

What is an RSS feed? It's a web resource that summarizes, in a document, changes to other web resources. What is GeoRSS? It's a specification of how to add simple geographic metadata to RSS feeds to complement standard metadata such as titles, descriptions, publication dates, and modification dates. The geographic metadata is there so that we can filter feeds on spatial, as well as textual or temporal, criteria.

GeoRSS metadata also paves the way for a new class of feed aggregator. Instead of displaying feed items as a list ordered by date we can display feed items on a map -- and this is where people begin to take GeoRSS too far. GeoRSS is being confused with a GIS data format, and people are coming to it as a serialization for shapefile-y (meaning no associated web resources) data like GPS tracks and airplane flight paths, with little if any, consideration of what RSS is about.

The GeoRSS community needs to hold the line on simplicity, continue to hew to the Web, and show people who are looking for an XML serialization of GIS data the way to GML.


Re: Taking GeoRSS Too Far

Author: Tom Kralidis

I think GeoRSS is so easy to use (for the layperson), that it's easier to go this way as opposed to a full on exercise in encoding a GIS format. GML has been around way longer than GeoRSS, yet GeoRSS has such popularity. I think GML would benefit from any effort to make it easier to use (i.e. the simple features profile, tutorials, whatever). At any rate, another example of mainstream IM/IT and "geo" convergences.