I am going to take a stab at answering this, because I am confused about where you are coming from.
The simplest answer on why there are few Cartographers is likely the same reason why there are very little markets being made on Augur, videos being streamed on Livepeer and users of DEX protocols like 0x.
What is most important to keep in mind though is that these are not Web 2.0 products seeking conventional “product market fits”. That is not what an open protocol does, including FOAM.
To be a Cartographer at this stake is to be a pioneer on the frontier of the cutting edge. Not many are suited for this. Only 1000 people participated in the FOAM sale and seems many are holding and not necessarily using it. With the market downturn, the reality is that the ratio to speculators and those truly wanting to build Web 3.0 is very skewed.
That said, the basic mechanism of the FOAM Map TCR works and from my understanding not only was it tested through an initial use period with features added throughout the smart contracts themselves launched by FOAM have an upgrade functionality. In practice this means this is a 1.0 release and there will in fact be iterations based on learnings. This can mean architecturally to the contracts but also in incentive models.
The point of an open protocol like FOAM is that an ecosystem of services and applications, some which may require a “product market fit” can hook into and build on top of.
Caleb’s newsletter is a first great example of this occurring as well as the NFT game. It is completely open for anyone to build on. What are you doing to improve and grow FOAM is the needed mindset.
All of the material I have read puts emphasis on grassroots community. Not happy with the model or incentives? That means you can make a proposal. Critiques only go so far without valued follow up proposals.
To the point that “Streetcred is killing it with their approach. They already have dozen of thousands of POI added…”
I never heard of Streetcred but after doing some research I could not disagree more and the emphasis you are putting on product market fit sounds very Web 2.0. This is not surprising because it turns out Streetcred does not use blockchain technology! There is no Web 3.0 or tech stack being used. There is not one blockchain developer on their team They are simply paying beta testers with investor money.
This is like Earn.com and is more a competitor to the much more fleshed out Foursquare Swarm or even Google Maps.
More so, I looked at their map that you say has dozens of thousands of POI and guess what? All of them have blank descriptions. Users are simply adding as many low quality points as possible to compete for money.
Compare that to the detail and time FOAM Cartographers put into their points. Quality is more important than Quantity.
I would argue this is the case for FOAM too but specifically on a web3.0 user. Streetcred can target the masses because it is not a blockchain application and has almost nothing to do with blockchain technology. FOAM had a private and public beta, built a spatial stack and has been very involved in the Curation Markets communities.
I also found both companies gave talks at the Open Street Map Conference.
The model sounds completely unsustainable and not much to do with blockchains.
“To pay the mappers, the startup hopes to get data-hungry companies—think Uber, Apple, or Niantic, the augmented-reality developer that built Pokémon Go—to “sponsor” particular regions or industries that aren’t as well-mapped by other services”
It remains to be seen, Nagaraj said, if businesses will be willing to pay Streetcred contributors to collect data that will eventually be free and open for everyone—including their competitors—to use.
Another question is what type of mapmaker such a model would attract, Nagaraj said. Currently, there’s no shortage of crowdsourced efforts for the cartographically inclined to get behind. Volunteer mappers can devote their hours to drawing street vectors on Open Street Map, flagging traffic jams on Waze, tracing bus routes on Moovit, or photographing street views for Mapillary.
All of these platforms have large communities of altruistically motivated contributors, working for no real recompense but the pleasures of knowledge creation. There’s something lopsided about that, since the companies who own or license these maps make money off that free labor. But it’s not always helpful to introduce money into volunteer projects, Nagaraj said, pointing to a famous study that found paying people to give blood turned out fewer donations than encouraging people to do it for moral reasons. With Streetcred’s mapping model, “you might turn out more mercenary types who aren’t inherently motivated,” he said.