Greg Milner manages to make sewer talk really…riveting. Refreshingly good journalism.
Didn’t read the combox (is there a combox? I quit those for Lent a few years ago and haven’t seen one since) but I invent combox arguments all the time, in my head. The big devil’s advocate in the combox would be defending the water/sewer rivalries (and other utilities) as strictly a matter of data security. Sure, a map with everything from wifi to poop chute would be cool. Sure, make it 3d. But imma bet you won’t spend a sufficient amount of your coding power on keeping that all-in-one digital tool out of people who could very easily wreak havoc on NYC if they could get their hands on it. By the same process that Alan Leidner found an electrical+flood fail point, a terrorist could use the tool to find an electrical+weak security fail point. Or something different. There’s a lot of ways it could go wrong, and the decades-old pride that utilities have in mapping their own world and sharing it with nobody (in fact, making that knowledge a profitable commodity and job-creator), might be the same pride which inadvertently foiled terrorist attacks on soft targets.