Tag Archive | parcel

CA Supreme Court Issues Ruling on GIS Open Records Case

For the history of Sierra Club v. Orange County see GIS Cafe Blog (May 10, 2013): Sierra Club v. Orange County Has Its Day In Court

For the CA Supreme Court ruling (PDF), visit: CA Supreme Court Decision July 8, 2013

To the extent that the term ―computer mapping system is ambiguous, the constitutional canon requires us to interpret it in a way that maximizes the public‘s access to information unless the Legislature has expressly provided to the contrary. (Officeof Inspector General v. Superior Court, supra, 189 Cal.App.4th at p.709.) As explained above, we find nothing in the text, statutory context, or legislative history of the term―computer mapping system‖ that allows us to say the Legislature clearly sought to exclude GIS formatted parcel data from the definition of a public record when it can be disclosed without any accompanying software.

Applying the interpretive rule set forth in article I, section 3, subdivision (b)(2), we must conclude that section 6254.9(b)‘s exclusion of―computer mapping systems from the definition of a public record does not encompass a parcel database in a GIS file format. Contrary to what the County contends, this reading of the statute does not ―repeal or nullify‖ a ―statutory exception to the right of access to public records‖ in contravention of article I, section 3, subdivision (b)(5). Our holding simply construes the terms of section 6254.9 in light of the constitutional mandate that a statute ―shall be narrowly construed if it limits the right of access.(Cal. Const., art. I, §3, subd. (b)(2).)
We note that this interpretation is consistent with a 2005 opinion letter issued by the Attorney General in response to a request by a member of the Assembly to determine whether ― parcel boundary map data maintained in an electronic format by a county assessor [is] subject to public inspection and copying under provisions of the California Public Records Act (88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 153, 153 (2005).) The opinion letter explained that ―the term ̳computer mapping systems‘ in section 6254.9 does not refer to or include basic maps and boundary information per se (i.e., the basic data compiled, updated, and maintained by county assessors), but rather denotes unique computer programs to process such data using mapping functions original programs that have been designed and produced by a public agency.‖ (88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. at p. 159.) Accordingly, the Attorney General concluded, ―parcel map data maintained in an electronic format by a county assessor does not qualify as a ̳computer mapping system‘under the exemption provisions of section 6254.9 (88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. at p. 159) and must be provided upon request as a public record at a fee limited to the direct cost of producing the copy (id.at pp.163–164). As noted above, the record here indicates that 47 counties in California maintain GIS-formatted parcel base maps and provide access to those GIS-formatted databases as public records. (Ante, at p. 3.) Of those 47 counties, 19 changed their fee policies following the Attorney General‘s opinion letter, according to Sierra Club‘s expert.
Because section 6254.9(b) does not exclude GIS-formatted databases like the OC Landbase from the definition of a public record, such databases are subject to disclosure unless otherwise exempt from the PRA. Unlike the records at issue in County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 1301, the County here does not argue that the OC Landbase is subject to any other exemptions. The fact that the County offered to produce the information underlying the database in an alternative format suggests that no such exemption applies. Similarly, the County‘s general practice of producing the OC Landbase to the public, albeit pursuant to a licensing agreement, suggests that its contents do not implicate any of the confidentiality or other concerns underlying th e exemptions set forth in section 6254. Because the OC Landbase is not excluded from the definition of a public record under section 6254.9(b), and because the County does not argue that the database is otherwise exempt from disclosure, the County must produce the OC Landbase in response to Sierra Club‘s request―in any electronic format in which it holds the information‖ (§6253.9 (a)(1)) at a cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication (§§ 6253.9 (a)(2),6253, subd. (b)).
For the reasonsabove, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal andremand to that court with directions to remand to the superior court to issue a writ consistent with this opinion.

Sierra Club Files Appeal in Orange County FOI Lawsuit

Source: Bruce Joffe, GeoConnection, September 14, 2010

Receiving the Orange County Superior Court‘s final decision on August 9, 2010, which granted Orange County an exemption from the California Public Records Act (PRA), the Sierra Club has decided to continue fighting for access to the County’s GIS parcel basemap database in the California Court of Appeal.

The trial court’s judge, James J. DiCesare, ruled that the mapping database maintained by the County is part of a “computer mapping system” and is exempted under the PRA’s exemption (Section 6254.9) that excludes software from public record. The software exemption states, ” ‘computer software’ includes computer mapping systems, computer programs, and computer graphics systems.” …

For full text of the article, click here.

House Hearing on Technology to Improve Financial Oversight


The House Committe on Financial Services – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing this morning that will touch on the use of parcel data for monitoring the mortgage industry.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations


Utilizing Technology to Improve TARP and Financial Oversight

  10:00 a.m., September 17, 2009, 2128 Rayburn House Office Building
Oversight and Investigations
  Witness List & Prepared Testimony:

  • Mr. Ari Schwartz, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Mr. Thomas Quaadman,  Executive Director for Financial Reporting Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Mr. Steve Horne,  Senior Vice President for Master Database Management, Dow Jones and Company
  • Mr. Dilip Krishna, Vice President, Financial Services and Insurance, Teradata Corporation
  • Ms. Susan Marlow, Chief Executive Officer, Smart Data Strategies, Inc., on behalf of MAPPS (Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors)
  • Mr. Gregory B. Hahn,  Principal, Crowe Horwath LLP
  • Professor Bennet A. Zelner,  Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, on behalf of The Probity Group
  • Mr. Thomas Kimner, Risk Manager, Americas Risk Practice, SAS Institute, Inc.

Visit Website for testimony and live webcast: http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/hr_090909.shtml


US Patent Office Broadens Terms of National Parcel Database Portal Patent

Press Information
For Immediate Release — Nov 11, 2008
Andrew Koutsoukos
Boundary Solutions, Inc.
PH: 415 381 1750

Mill Valley, CA: Boundary Solutions, Inc. is pleased to announce the United States Patent Office allowed all of the pending claims in its pending application dealing with the display of parcel boundaries. This broadens the terms of U.S. Patent 7,092,957 entitled “Computerized National Online Parcel-level Map Data Portal” (NPDP) — for national multi-state location of a street address by displaying the boundary of the parcel in which it is located. This patent right accompanies all NPDP content, industry’s wholesale supply point for digital parcel map data.

According to Chris Harlow, BSI Director, ?Having presented the industry with the blueprint for an operational national parcel layer in 2002, BSI is poised to expand the NPDP? to a seamless USA parcel layer over the next 36 months for all applications.? The NPDP? is the wholesale supply point of the national digital parcel map layer. Currently containing 71 million download-ready parcel polygon boundaries from 600 jurisdictions, all content is subjected to over 30 software driven modifications and metri recordings to assure universal internal consistency and highly convenient geoserver loading regardless of platform. NPDP? content is available as downloads or on a transaction basis on either the PlaceBase and r7 geoserver platforms. BSI is implementing SEAMLESS USA, a private sector 1600 county parcel map data creation program along with a communications campaign to make all USA counties PRA compliant so BSI can deliver anaffordable-by-all current national parcel layer to industry by2011. BSI was awarded U.S. Patent 7,092,957, entitled Computerized National Online Parcel-level Map Data Portal. Claims include multi-state search to locate an address by displaying its digital parcel boundary. The original provisional patent application filing date is January 18, 2002. Boundary Solutions, BSI, Boundary Solutions logo, National ParcelMap Data Portal, NPDP, NPDP logo and Rooftop Accuracy are trademarks of BSI.

See also: http://www.google.com/patents?id=U7F6AAAAEBAJ&dq=7,092,957 

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