One of the first people I talked to when I was at WhereCamp several weeks ago was a guy from GeoCommons. Now this is the kind of thing that I get excited about – people putting up virtual warehouses to encourage people to store open data. In this case, geo-coded data.
Of course, one of the first things I did was look for geo-coded data on wine appellations. Unfortunately, there’s nothing there. In fact, I’ve looked high and low for open-licensed geo data for US wine appellations, with no luck. (Yes, Vestra has this info for sale. But if we buy it, we can’t share it, right?) If Mapovino has to code this ourselves, then it’s going to set us back a little bit. In the end, our aim would be to then publish the kml / geo-coded data on… GeoCommons, for example.
The appellation data itself is publicly available from several federal sources (here, for example). The challenge is that the appellations are defined in natural language, and according to USGS maps, not latitude / longitude. So there’s some translation work that needs to happen. There are a few different ways of taking this descriptive data and turning it into KML files (my first idea involves using the hiking software Topo, but that’s another story) – but it will require a human and many hours.
In the end, even emails to the TTB (the wing of the ATF that focuses on non-terrorist related activities) and the USGS have turned up empty handed – they all pointed me to the narrative description files I’ve found before.
So it looks like we’re gonna need an intern and some USGS maps. Know someone who wants to trade drawing skills for some wine? 🙂