Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Openness: Maps

After RSA, some friends and I went up to Russian River. I was looking at some old maps at the Quinvera Quivira Vineyard, and the caption under one said “The author of this map is believed to have had access to Drake’s secret maps.” Today, large scale maps of everywhere are easily available. But there was a time when even large scale geographic knowledge was kept secret, and was the source of substantial competitive advantage. How to travel the spice routes, where the locals were friendly along the shipping routes, the location of islands, were all secrets at one point. With satellite imagery cheaply available, its becoming very hard to keep maps a secret, at any scale.

Are we less secure for this? Was there a full disclosure movement for maps?