Open Geospatial Consortium’s New Deal for Local and Subnational Governments
The OGC GovFuture Membership
By Steven Ramage, Executive Director Marketing & Communications, OGC
Abstract: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), an international consensus standards organization, has worked since 1994 to integrate geospatial information into the world’s information infrastructure. OGC standards dissolve the stovepipes preventing geospatial data from moving between different systems. Now geospatial data is everywhere in the world’s digital information environments. This presents many opportunities, but also policy challenges for local, state and provincial governments. These governments are major OGC stakeholders because they have much to gain from more efficient and effective ways of sharing spatial data. Their policy challenges include introducing new workflows to their partners and constituents and managing the risks associated with making spatial data more accessible. This article describes GovFuture, a new OGC membership offering designed to help governments address these challenges.
The first of a planned series of free OGC GovFuture Webinars, produced and presented by Directions Media, is scheduled for 2 June 2011. Darren Mottolini, Business Development Manager for SLIP at Landgate in Australia, will be our featured speaker. Darren will describe the groundbreaking SLIP project, which benefits citizens, businesses and communities by making it easy to share government land and property information. Attorney Kevin Pomfret, a member of the OGC Board of Directors who writes and speaks extensively on spatial law and policy, will review the privacy, security and data rights management issues surrounding government spatial data initiatives. Mark Reichardt, President and CEO of the OGC, will provide a brief introduction.
Through technical interoperability enabled by OGC standards, location information has become an integral part of the information environment for people working in local and subnational (county, province, district etc.) governments worldwide. Ubiquitous location information and geospatial processing offer governments unprecedented capabilities and efficiencies, but this progress also poses new challenges in areas such as privacy, security and data rights management, and in readjusting workflows and institutional arrangements.
The OGC membership includes both technology users and technology providers. National mapping agencies and many other government agencies collect and maintain important geospatial information. These organizations represent an important subgroup of the technology users. The value of a network grows with the number of users, and so it is with National Spatial Data Infrastructures (NSDI). National to local government agencies have an interest in helping local and subnational jurisdictions deploy geospatial systems that use and contribute to their NSDIs. Many of the OGC members who are technology providers have local and subnational governments as customers, so they, too, support the OGC’s new outreach to these levels of government.
The OGC is a rapidly growing global hub of geospatial activity and is thus able to provide GovFuture members with access to a wide variety of information resources and networking opportunities.
The key thing to remember about GovFuture is that it is more about planning and policy than it is about technical nuts and bolts. At the OGC GovFuture website (http://www.ogcnetwork.net/node/1568) you can learn more about what OGC has in store for government stakeholders. We invite you to become a part of GovFuture!
Would the lack of federal government mapping be a good thing?
Thank you to Kevin Pomfret who alerted us to this article:
Written by Matt Ball, V1 Magazine, posted Friday, 08 April 2011 00:00
Trading off this week’s highly-charged political theme of a potential federal government shutdown in the United States, it’s worth discussing the implications of a lack of federal mapping. Elimination of federal mapmaking is really out of the question as the federal government needs to map for so many policy and security reasons, yet there has been a steady reduction of the role of federal mapmaking for decades. What would the implications be if there weren’t a national mapping effort at all? …
For full text of the op-ed, visit Would the lack of federal government mapping be a good thing?.
Developing a New Zealand Spatial Data Infrastructure
Developing a National Spatial Data Infrastructure
Author: Hon Maurice Williamson, 16 December 2010, New Zealand Geospatial Strategy
On Monday, Cabinet agreed to the development of a national spatial data infrastructure for New Zealand, and directed Government agencies to get involved now – at the development stage. Cabinet also mandated LINZ, through the NZGO, to assume a leadership role in driving the development of this infrastructure. …
Full text of the article via Developing a National Spatial Data Infrastructure // New Zealand Geospatial Strategy.
- Australian Spatial Council Releases Online Map Guidelines (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
From Public Access to Open Government: Access to GIS Data
From Public Records to Open Government: Access to Massachusetts Municipal Geographic Data
Robert Goodspeed, PhD Student, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Submitted for publication to URISA Journal, January 2011
Increasingly citizens are demanding access of raw data from governments to look up facts, hold them accountable, conduct analysis, or create innovative applications and services. Cities and towns create information for geographic information systems such as parcels, zoning, and infrastructure that are useful for a wide range of purposes. Through a public records request to all 351 Massachusetts municipalities, this paper investigates whether this data is accessible to citizens in practice. In an apparent violation of the law, two municipalities refused access to electronic records. Many others charged fees ranging up to $453 or placed burdensome legal restrictions on the data that could chill or prohibit creative reuses of the data through emerging technologies. Other practical barriers, such as limited technical knowledge or resources and outsourcing to private vendors, restricted public access to data. Most troubling, 23.2% of municipalities did not respond with 29 days, nearly three times the legally mandated 10-day response time. Finally, the paper discusses legal, policy, and technical steps that can be taken by governments to move from a “public records” to an “open government” paradigm for transparency of government data. The policy recommendations for municipalities include publishing GIS data for free online, and with minimal legal restrictions.
For full text of the article, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, click here.
- EFF Urges California Court to Grant Public Access to Electronic Mapping Data (eff.org)
- OUR VIEW | Alarming language in proposed public records reforms (kitsapsun.com)
- Report – An Open Government Implementation Model: Moving to Increased Public Engagement (bespacific.com)
- A new sunshine law to save money for citizens and government agencies (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- The Revolution Will Be Mapped | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. Miller-McCune. (miller-mccune.com)
- N.J. Supreme Court Lowers Copy Costs (gloucestercitynews.net)
- Public-record bills will be hot topic in Olympia (kitsapsun.com)
- Google Apps Now Allows Panama City to Promote Open Government (backupify.com)
- What Else Is Wrong With Government 2.0 (whimsley.typepad.com)
NSGIC Issues Best Practices for Government Data Sharing
The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) recently issued a 4-page recommendation of best practices for data distribution policy of government agencies. This guideline document articulates NSGIC’s core principle that “Access to public records is an essential component of our democracy that keeps citizens in-formed and our government accountable. These records include geospatial data produced or maintained using taxpayer resources.” It concludes with the recommendation that “calls on government administrators, geospatial professionals and concerned citizens to further advance the use of important geospatial data assets and to ensure that they remain freely accessible.” You can download NSGIC’s recommendations from NSGIC Data Sharing Guidelines.
- Former FGDC Executive Director on Mapping and the Spatial Data Infrastructure (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
Dr. Lea Shanley is the founder and former co-Chair of the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, a vibrant community of 200 federal employees from more than 35 agencies. She is also a co-founding member of the Citizen Science Association. Dr. Shanley recently served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at NASA, where she helped to foster a culture of open innovation. Prior to this, she founded and directed the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, served in the US Senate as a Congressional Science Fellow, and worked with local and tribal communities to develop GIS-based decision support systems for city planning, natural resource management, coastal management, and disaster response through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog of links to relevant news, events, and reports, provided for educational purposes only. The opinions and views contained therein are those only of the authors of the original articles. These opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the editor of this blog or or associated organizations.
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