MetroGIS Recommends Free and Open Access to Government Data

MetroGIS, an award-winning collaboration, began working in 1995 as an initiative to share data across the 7-county Minneapolis-St. Paul region. From the beginning, they have struggled with fees and licenses. This year may signal the end of those problems. A formal report on Free and Open Access to Data presents enough good research to justify lowering those barriers. The report was adopted by the MetroGIS Policy Board in October.  Letters encouraging the elimination of charging and licenses were sent to all county Administrators and Board Chairs on November 20 (GIS Day).

It is remarkable that the MetroGIS Policy Board is dominated by county government.  The report convinced those leaders by showing them: the low revenue gained  through sales, the value of work done by non-profits who were able to access the data, and the reduction in liability of free and open systems.

The NSGIC audience will appreciate examples of sharing and case law that go beyond Minnesota and cover the nation.

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