interesting story making the rounds today. it seems the UK's best selling hiking magazine printed a trail guide that would lead hikers off a cliff. given the weather conditions and terrain there, yup walking off that mountain seems easy enough and yup, might hurt a bit.
that kind of mistake is sort of understandable--spatial data is quite complex, i'd say there's no data as complicated. the magazine's editor says they print 200 a year (as if that was a lot) and this was their first mistake (i bet it wasn't). in comparison NIMA (now the NGA) produces 1000's of maps. makes you wonder.
looking at it from the opposite (geographic data collecting) end, i was recently re-reading some of the journals of the first systematic geographic and geologic surveys of Thailand, carried out 50-100 years ago, literally from the backs of elephants. people died collecting that spatial information. drowning. snake bites. tigers. falls. tough way to make a living. so next time you pick up a map, you might give some thought to what it took to produce it.