[OSGeo-Discuss] Advocating Reasonable Public Access to Publicly Funded Geospatial Data

Helena Mitasova hmitaso at unity.ncsu.edu
Mon Nov 12 14:47:48 PST 2007


You can find a nice example of how agencies already provide
  free access to publicly funded geospatial data
released in formats that are readable by OSGEO software stack at

You need to work with your state and local governments because they are
the ones who fund most of the mapping and who have the data (and/or  
elect state
legislators who make it a law to provide the publicly funded data for  
I would guess that NC is not the only state in US that makes its data  
available for free,
so there are probably more examples. Maybe those from other states  
where this works
could share their experience.

Good place to meet people from federal, state and local governments  
who deal
with geospatial data is the state GIS conference (if I remember  
correctly you planned to attend
one in your state), see the latest in NC here:

NCGIS regularly includes session on open source software as well as  
data accessibility
(this year it was "Low cost / High value web mapping" which was  
packed, for data it was
"Data sharing, access and distribution" and many others) so people  
from agencies
are kept up to date on open source software developments thanks to  
several great
open source software and free data advocates that we have here,


Helena Mitasova
Dept. of Marine, Earth and Atm. Sciences
1125 Jordan Hall, NCSU Box 8208,
Raleigh NC 27695

On Nov 12, 2007, at 4:25 PM, Landon Blake wrote:

> Is there any effort at the OSGeo to advocate for “reasonable”  
> access to publicly funded geospatial data? By reasonable I mean:
> [1] With an affordable price reflecting the actual cost to  
> reproduce the data.
> [2] Released in a format that doesn’t require expensive proprietary  
> software.
> For example, the United States Forest Service has some extensive  
> geospatial data sets available to the public, but they release it  
> in ESRI Geodatabase Format. (They didn’t respond to my requests for  
> the data in Shapefile Format.) Another example is one of my local  
> counties, which sells data in ESRI Shapefile format for $200 a  
> layer under a very strict license agreement.
> I was wondering if there was any type of “committee” or other  
> organized effort at the OSGeo that provided “education” and  
> advocacy for reasonable access to publicly funded data. It seems  
> like a natural fit for the organization, and one great way to  
> enable everyday use of open source GIS programs. (At a minimum, it  
> seems like we could keep a catalog of public agencies and there  
> policy for the release of geospatial data.)
> Landon
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