Is Ftp Access the Best We Can Do

I can almost predict that every conversation about data sharing will have one person stand up and declare, Just give me FTP access and I’ll be fine”. I used to think that way and while I probably still would like file based access to datasets, I just can’t see FTP being a viable data transfer method anymore. Just it makes it easy to grab a data dump, but there isn’t anything that allows users to know if the data has been updated (other than I suppose checking the metadata). So many times I see people using old data because they have no idea data has been updated. Personally I don’t like the idea that I’m offering up spatial data web services for data I don’t control and most others should be worried as well. Users want to grab data from the source, not some middle man who probably knows less about the data than the creator.

There has been a huge jump into SDI since the pork bandwagon started up in Washington and I’ll be honest… I haven’t paid much attention. One thing I am sure of is I don’t want to see something introduced that has two choices, WxS and FTP. Data needs to be both discoverable and usable and I’m not sure WxS and FTP get us there. WxS no matter what defenders might say is not discoverable and FTP is not secure and has no method of tracking changes.

AtomPub to me looks like the best method of publishing and sharing datasets. There is a huge risk here of inventing something new when a superb solution already exists. Workflows change quickly and WxS/FTP can’t adjust sprightly enough. Read How to GET a Cup of Coffee and think about how easier this could all be.

Gatekeepers want to limit you to FTP/WxS so that you can’t change the world.

Gatekeepers want to limit you to FTP/WxS so that you cant change the world…Gatekeepers want to limit you to FTP/WxS so that you cant change the world…


March 10, 2009