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.geo Comments


by Adena Schutzberg

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On December 15, SRI resubmitted its .geo top-level domain proposal to ICANN. There were some eight other resubmittals requesting reconsideration for other domains, for a variety of reasons. The SRI request seems to rehash past arguments, as evidenced in the e-mail they sent out:

- .geo is genuinely innovative. It is not simply a TLD. Once implemented, its infrastructure will provide for a more efficient, robust, comprehensive and, ultimately, more useful Internet.
- .geo supports civic and commercial progress on a global basis.
- The .geo technology is a proven technology using standard DNS, http, and XML, thereby maintaining the stability and robustness of the Internet.
- .geo resolves the current conundrum of assigning location based information to Internet data.

As part of its case SRI did include all the positive press they could find. However, very little discussion greeted the original proposal in any community (GIS, Web, general press). Not only that, the material gathered was weak. In fact, one article that supposedly bolstered their resubmittal was nothing but a reprint of their press release. I have no issue with publishing press releases [TenLinks publishes GIS press releases daily], but it's clear that the act of doing so does in no way endorse the activity. Another entry, taken from GISVision, was nothing more than a verbatim reproduction of parts of the Executive Summary of the SRI proposal itself. Now, isn't that a dog chasing its own tail?

A third supporting article is by Aaron Pressman, writing in The Standard:

"The staff also said ICANN should consider approving an application from Stanford research spinoff SRI International that proposes creating a dot-geo domain that would use addresses including longitudinal and latitudinal positions. That novel plan would tie addresses in cyberspace to addresses in the physical world."

The first sentence is pure reporting; the second says it is "novel." Again, this is NOT an endorsement.

ICANN ought to continue to ask tough questions about .geo. After reading SRI's resubmittal, one question begs to be answered: Where is the support of the geospatial and LBS communities?


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