Keep state geodata open

The only reason to close state geography data is to protect a few existing monopoly businesses.

Making that data available to the public is a good idea in any case. But the big pro-business reason is that it makes countless businesses possible. Remember the world without GPS? The world with it is better. For countless businesses, as well as ordinary citizens. Geodata should be a rising tide that lifts all boats.

When pro-business means pro-monopoly, something is wrong.

Thanks to Tara for the pointer.

2 comments

  1. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    The reason that I’ve heard for closing down geodata is that the state bureaucrats REALLY don’t like to see their hard work get taken for free and then sold to people with no gain to their department. So … they lock it down and then sell it.

    But what they fail to realize is that if you make it totally free, then nobody can profit (unduly) from it. I think that they don’t understand that there’s good Open Source GIS programs, like Thuban, or GRASS, or QuantumGiS (QGIS).

  2. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    Oh, and I’d add that the New York State GIS Clearinghouse uses a “BSDI” type of licensing: they only accept data which is freely copyable by all clearinghouse members. Unfortunately, individuals and corporations are not welcome. Only nonprofits and governments, blah.

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