Professor, Designer, Husband, Father, Gamer, Bagpiper

It's looking like ARCloud news is going to be coming faster and faster[1]. Fantasmo just came out of stealth mode, and at least they (unlike many of the other ARCloud companies) are acknowledging that there is a need to not just crowd-source everything into one big model.

From their announcement:

We need an open infrastructure for 3D spatial data to break out of these silos and unlock the potential of the next era of maps. This infrastructure must include:

  1. Democratized access to the tools for capture and usage — The software and hardware for creating and accessing spatial data must be available to more than the limited few who currently have the money or expertise to leverage it.
  2. First party control over private property data; free access to shared public data — The only fair and scalable approach to private indoor data is to empower property owners and their tenants to control who has access and how it is used. The only fair approach to public, outdoor spaces is to make it free and available for everyone.
  3. Effortless exchange via shared protocols — 3D data needs to be updated in as close to real time as possible. To achieve this, capture devices of all types need standardized, interoperable data exchange protocols and formats.

I think these are great, especially 1 and 3, but (2) seems hopelessly naive and problematic in the real world.

How will they decide who owns what? And what about the vast majority of the people in the world who won't want to deal with exerting "control over their private property data"?

And for those that do, what does this even mean. When I sell a home, how do I transfer it? When I'm renting a home, who gets to decide what is shared? Me? My roomate? The landlord? And what about businesses? Who gets to control the data in a shopping mall? Perhaps the Mall owner, but what about inside the stores? The backrooms of the stores?

(These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. A naive US-centric notion of property rights will defeat any scheme like this. And that's without imagining the nightmare that will come when criminals or data squaters grab the rights to your property and mark it as "ok to map," and then demand ransom for the digital keys.)

And how in the world will a tiny startup manage this? Massive Google can't even deal effectively with complaints on their search engine content or issues with Youtube video and audio ownship. And that's without even factoring in Europe's data privacy laws ... watching systems like this crash and burn as they try to comply with GDPR is going to be amusing, to say the least.


  1. Funny story. Someone at <big name company> told me a story where they asked one of these ARCloud companies how they planned to comply with GDPR. Their response: what's GDPR? ↩︎