An April Fool’s Rationale for Not Sharing Data

Editor’s Note: The following ‘report’ was made at Rick Gelbmann’s retirement party.  Rick was manager of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council’s GIS Team where he made huge contributions to regional data sharing activities, including the creation of the award-winning MetroGIS initiative in 1995.  He had to do something like this; two-thirds of the data he needs to do his job comes from others in the region.  Rick’s retirement party was on April 5, 2013, close enough to label this spoof the thoughts of an April Fool.  The report was conceived and delivered by Randy Knippel, chair of the MetroGIS County Data Producer Workgroup and Nobody’s Fool.  (My apologies for badly formatting Randy’s report, but the blogosphere has its limitations)

MetroGIS Liaison Report

We have worked with Rick for many years through MetroGIS, but he has always held reservations about how things have changed over the years.  With his retirement, he intends to make himself available through consulting services.  We have had preliminary planning meetings with him and, with Rick’s guidance; we expect to start making some much needed changes.

Effective immediately, we will begin a new phase in GIS data development and deployment by eliminating all collaboration and data sharing, instead, working individually to create much stronger GIS programs.

  1. To get things back on track we will encourage adoption of following basic principles:
    1. All agencies will independently examine data fees and begin charging more to pay for their GIS operations.
    2. Eliminate sharing of data so we don’t have to worry about people misusing it or blaming us for mistakes.
    3. This will also prevent terrorists from using it against us and avoid privacy issues.
  2. All work groups will dissolve and all communication and collaboration will cease.
  3. From the counties’ perspective, pricing for parcels is expected to rise to former levels and beyond, likely exceeding $100 per parcel.  However, other government agencies and educational institutions will not be allowed to buy it and will begin building their own parcel databases.
  4. Current data licensing will be amended to include universal background checks and restrictions on the use of high-capacity data storage devices.
    1. This will prevent criminals from getting the data and using it for nefarious purposes.
    2. Calm fears of law-abiding citizens who believe less than 10 records at a time is enough.
  5. We expect to realize a host of benefits including:
    1. Revenue from GIS data is expected to increase into the ka-jillions (That’s a big number.  For those of you having trouble visualizing it, that’s a 1 with a ka-jillion zeros after it.)
    2. Property taxes will decrease substantially as entire government operating budgets are funded by GIS data revenue.
    3. GIS programs will grow.  (It will be a great time to be working in the field of GIS.  We will double and triple existing staffing levels to build killer apps as unique as possible so we all have our own brand and individual web presence.  As demand for GIS staff increases, GIS salaries will increase dramatically, creating hiring wars as we compete with each other for qualified staff.)
    4. The economy in general will be stimulated (Without collaboration and data sharing we will spend much more on data collection and maintenance creating a boon for consultants and contractors.)
  6. We look forward to Rick’s vision and leadership in this brave new approach to doing GIS! We were going against established wisdom in 1995, but times have changed.  It’s time to reverse direction and go against the flow again.

 

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