Wisconsin Geospatial News

Model data distribution policy unveiled

When public agencies feel budget stress, they often consider charging fees for geographic data under their control. However, fees are an example of a barrier to the widest possible use of the data, something that limits the benefits that society as a whole accrues from the original investment.

A recent study by the Open Data Consortium (ODC) suggests some avenues for dealing with this problem. The study involved over 100 people in a series of interviews and discussions, then review of draft documents. Bruce Joffe, a GIS consultant in California who coordinated the study, said “The key to resolving the long-standing controversy of data sales by local government was our discovery of many superior ways to support GIS operations.”

There are two primary products from the study. First, there is a model data distribution policy. Second, there is a shorter piece titled “10 Ways to Support GIS Without Selling Data.” Those documents, along with background on the study, can be found at: