Thursday, March 09, 2006

UK GIS Data Practices Hit the Fan

Guardian | Technology | Give us back our crown jewels

A detailed and pointed article in the Guardian (big UK paper) is making a big stink over the way UK tightly controls access to what the US classifies as "public" GIS data (ie. everyone pays big for publicly funded data). The paper is launching a campaign call "Free Our Data", against the current policies.

The article is definately worth a read for US GIS folk as it cites US data practices as a major foundation for all the arguments against the UK policies. If you want a case study in GIS data practices, this is a good place to start.
Pira pointed out that the US's approach brings enormous economic benefits. The US and EU are comparable in size and population; but while the EU spent €9.5bn (£6.51bn) on gathering public sector data, and collected €68bn selling and licensing it, the US spent €19bn - twice as much - and realised €750bn - over 10 times more. Weiss pointed out: "Governments realise two kinds of financial gain when they drop charges: higher indirect tax revenue from higher sales of the products that incorporate the ... information; and higher income tax revenue and lower social welfare payments from net gains in employment."


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