Urban Fold

CA Supreme Court to Decide if GIS Data is a Public Record

A case making its way through the California courts pits Orange County versus the Sierra Club. At stake is the availability of publicly held GIS data at a reasonable cost.

"The California Supreme Court is currently considering whether GIS databases maintained by government agencies should be readily available to the public under the California Public Records Act," writes attorney Joanna Malaczynski. "For GIS users such as myself, the answer is a resounding yes; however, the issue is more complicated for Orange County and the lower courts who have reviewed the case."  

"Orange County [which charges $357,000 for its parcel map data of 600,000 parcels] may see its GIS database as something unique, which it has developed and for which it expects a commercial return.   Most seasoned GIS users know, however, that what Orange County has compiled is merely data and information into a format that is useable in a relatively new technology: GIS software."

Thanks to Chris Steins

Full Story: Are GIS Databases Pubic Record?

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