How did a group of researchers in far off Finland rip from the hands of Silicon Valley’s Google and Apple a near duopoly of control on crowdsourced mobile data? “In many ways, it was similar to what Finn Linus Torvalds did to the PC software industry in the 1990s and early 2000s,” says GeoTrust Project Manager Robert Guinness. “Despite Microsoft and Apple dominating the OS market, Linus showed that the principles of openness and building value up from a shared Linux kernel can create a viable alternative in the PC and server market.” In the case of crowdsourced mobile data, this transformation of the market required the collaborative efforts of experts in geoinformatics, mobile computing, positioning and navigation, and information technology law, in order to show to the world that the concept of GeoTrust is not only technically viable but also fulfilling the tough legal requirements of the European Union and also of every significant market around the world. Furthermore, just as Mr. Torvalds did not foresee all the various markets segments where Linux-offshoots would be used, the GeoTrust team openly admits that it did not foresee all of the many services and businesses spawned from the opening up of crowdsourced mobile data. “We intentionally avoided listing the services and data products that would be created as a result of GeoTrust,” continues Mr. Guinness, “because we really believed in and were driven by the idea that if you open this data up to innovators around the world, these people, ranging from one-person companies on up, will come up with uses far grander than anything we could imagine—or even more so—implement as researchers.”
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MyGeoTrust Project Manager