Tag Archive | Geography

Cost Recovery in Public Sector GIS Programs

GIS Program Revenue Generation and Legal Issues in Public Sector Organizations

by Peter Croswell and Alex Wernher, URISA, 2004

Abstract: In late 2003, The authors, in coordination with the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), conducted a survey to learn about the status of financial, legal, and policy issues impacting public sector geographic information system (GIS) programs in the United States. More specifically, the survey’s purpose was to gather information about revenue generation through the sale of GIS products and services by organizations administering public agency GIS programs. This publication describes the approach and results of this survey, which included responses from a number of federal, state, regional, and local public agencies. In addition, this publication provides an overview of important concepts and issues that impact the distribution and sale of products and services from public agency GIS programs.

It will discuss the types of GIS products and services being provided by public agencies to external organizations and the nature and legal basis of agreements for cost sharing and funding of GIS programs. A review of important legal concerns will cover such areas as: a) impacts of state open records laws, b) privacy regulations, c) copyright restrictions on GIS databases, d) liability issues and other policy and legal issues. It will summarize the results of a national survey conducted in the Fall of 2003 which gathered information from public agencies on: The status of revenue generation programs; GIS products, services and fee schedules; Non-traditional funding sources; Interagency agreements and consortia; and Legal issues impacting GIS data and product distribution.

For full text of this report and survey, click here.

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Evaluating Access to Spatial Data Information in Rwanda

by Felicia O. Akinyemi, URISA Journal 2011, Volume 23, No 2

Abstract: Access to spatial data is of growing interest to practitioners and society for the use of geospatial technology pervades all fields, and all sectors of the economy can use the same information in different applications. Means of data access appropriate to any given context must be found. This study targeted organizations active in spatial data collection, management, dissemination, and use. It examines their willingness to cooperate in sharing spatial data in Rwanda. Key areas covered are the conditions of data access and restrictions to data usage as well as the willingness of users to pay for spatial data. A majority of the organizations give out data free to users on request, while others restrict access to data for some categories of users. Private-sector users are more willing to pay for spatial data. This study captures producers’ and users’ perspectives to spatial data access. Also, it reveals the situation of spatial data sharing in a developing-country context where explicit policies to cater to such activities are absent.

For full text of the article, click here.

Tribes Effectively Barred From Making High-Tech Maps

An article from 2007, but still very relevant today.

by Kelly Hearn, National Geographic News, April 26, 2007

Tribes in Southeast Asia are being kept from using the latest high-tech gadgets to help them win land rights. That’s the outcry from activist groups that have been helping indigenous communities mix computers and handheld navigation devices with paints, yarn, and cardboard to make simple but accurate three-dimensional terrain models. … But in Malaysia and the Philippines, the practice—dubbed participatory GIS—has sparked a legal backlash, activists say. For example, Philippine lawmakers have changed an existing law so that only officially recognized engineers “could do anything related to measuring space,” said Dave De Vera, director of the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development. …

For full text of the article, visit Tribes Effectively Barred From Making High-Tech Maps.

An Examination of Geospatial Data Availability and Data Accessibility by State

From the GSDI Legal-Econ Listserv:

Article: An Examination of Geospatial Data Availability and Data Accessibility by State
Documents to the People 39(1): 27-31?(Spring 2011)

This article focuses on a relationship between geospatial data availability and data accessibility, based on a hypothesis that state and local governments would contribute to the Geodata.gov clearinghouse (representing data availability) if states have open GIS record access laws. The analysis involved three steps: (1) collect data from Geodata.gov to measure geospatial data availability by state; (2) collect laws and opinions of attorneys general of all states to measure accessibility to geospatial data; and (3) correlate the data to test the hypothesis that state and local governments would contribute data to Geodata.gov clearinghouse if state laws encouraged open access to the GIS records. Result: “The results were not exactly what I was hoping to get. The hypothesis was rejected in all models but one.”

For full text of the article, click here.

Former FGDC Executive Director on Mapping and the Spatial Data Infrastructure

Mapping and Spatial Data: Infrastructures and Imagination

by John Moeller, Communia Blog,, Woodrow Wilson Center Science and Technology Program, September 6, 2011

“Cartographers, imagery analysts, geographic information system GIS specialists and others who work with maps and geospatial information operate on the premise that location or place is the most effective organizing principal for bringing together information and making it understandable for use. Others outside of the geospatial community are also increasingly recognizing that “where” is the most common integrating element of almost all data and information. In May 2011 the U.S. Congressional Research Service released a Report that highlighted the challenges to coordinating how geospatial data are acquired and used at the local, state, and federal levels, in collaboration with the private sector. The Report concluded that the issues of coordination are not yet resolved and that it will likely take some time, and several budget cycles, to evaluate whether the current model of geospatial data management is the best available model for managing the federal geospatial assets. …”

For full text of the article, visit Communia Mapping and Spatial Data.

Agriculture pulls all GIS maps into a single portal – Nextgov

By Joseph Marks, Nextgov, August 17, 2011

A new Web portal being put together by the Agriculture Department aims to reduce duplication in the agency’s mapping work and make high-quality maps more accessible to the public.More than half the department’s 29 divisions are involved in geospatial work, Geospatial Information Officer Stephen Lowe said, either mashing satellite and aerial imagery with survey data or on-the-ground research about crop yields, ground chemicals or farm subsidies, or using other divisions’ maps in their own research and programs.USDA-produced maps and images generally are available to the public for free or for a nominal fee, and frequently crop up in paid data services and even in Google Maps, he said. …

via Agriculture pulls all GIS maps into a single portal – Nextgov.

GIS Analyst Position at the Congressional Research Service

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Job Title: Geographic/Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Analyst

Agency: Library Of Congress Congressional Research Service

Job Announcement Number: 110094

SALARY RANGE: $89,033.00 – $115,742.00 /year

OPEN PERIOD: Monday, June 20, 2011 to Monday, July 11, 2011

SERIES & GRADE: GS-1370-13/13

POSITION INFORMATION: Open Permanent

PROMOTION POTENTIAL: 13

DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy(s) in one of the following locations: Washington, DC

WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: U.S. citizens

JOB SUMMARY: The Congressional Research Service (CRS) Knowledge Services Group (KSG) seeks a Geographic/Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Analyst. The person hired for this position will work in partnership with analysts, attorneys, information professionals, graphic design specialists, and cartographers to find and use authoritative GIS sources to create sophisticated geospatial models and visual materials that anticipate and illustrate complex public policy issues for the Congress. As part of this work, the GIS Analyst will provide GIS analysis and support; and develop policies and guidelines for the GIS program, including development of clear procedures for intake of requests, prioritization of work, identification of division of labor, definition of deliverables, and following through with clients. The GIS Analyst will also provide training and promote GIS services throughout CRS. CRS works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for nearly a century. CRS is well known for analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan. Its highest priority is to ensure that Congress has immediate access to the nation’s best thinking on public policy issues of interest to its Members and Committees.

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