James Fee recent post on his blog discusses the difficulties he has faced in connection with trying to obtain spatial data from the City of Phoenix. Many of you who work with or for local governments will understand the complexity of the issues involved here - how much can and should a municipality charge for granting a license to its GIS data? I recommend reading the state statute that he provides a link to, as it is illustrative of the issues involved, and the role of law. One will note that under the law the local government is required - not permitted - to charge market value for the data. Putting aside how the local government official can determine what is market for this data, one wonders if local government should not have more discretion to decide whether or not to charge market price.
I mentioned this story in an earlier post. But I thought this post on Cnet added to the potential impact on spatial technology companies - particularly the following:
"Manulife, while confirming (footage from Sky News embedded here) that it does use social-networking sites to, well, check up on its customers, also said, 'We would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on Web sites such as Facebook.'"
An interesting - and humorous - take on the licensing of spatial data from a proponent of open data.
I guess I should not be surprised at this story about a town in California installing a system so that it can take an image of the license plate of every car entering or leaving the town, but for some reason I am.
Coincidentally, I was speaking this week with a GIS manager about this very issue - whether metadata should be considered part of the public records. In Arizona at least, this answer if somewhat clearer.
This article, written by a trial lawyer, discusses some of the challenges associated with obtaining spatial data as evidence in a trial.