December 2011
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How should the County license its free GIS data?

Open Data License

This has been in the back of my mind for a while, so I thought I’d get opinions on what we should do with the GIS data that we create and share.  What I am trying to avoid is a reseller packaging and re-selling our GIS data without:

  1. Adding value, and
  2. Giving credit back (attribution).
At the recent Geocoding conference, I had a discussion with an expert, who pointed me to the Open Data Commons licenses.  I just took a look, and they have three flavors:
  1. Public Domain License – No restrictions – people can do whatever they want.
  2. Attribution License – Requires attribution, but nothing beyond that
  3. Open Database License (share-alike) – Requires users to share any value adds as an open dataset as well.


So – we’ll get there soon enough, but if you have an opinion as to how we should license our data, let me know!

4 comments to How should the County license its free GIS data?

  • cmarch

    The county can’t make money off of the public when the county used money from the public to produce the data. That’s asking them to pay for it twice.

    If you’re talking about for commercial purposes, then yes we can charge them.

    I don’t think the Attribution License is a good idea because depending on what the public or some corporation does with the data can reflect badly upon us if we want to claim responsibility for it and something bad happens because of the data.

    You’re best off letting the public do what they want with it since they paid for it.

  • mercator

    I might suggest looking at releasing data under more than one license. For instance, you could offer the data to the public under the share-alike, but then have a second license for commercial activities.

    • markgreninger

      That’s an interesting idea, but it makes it a bit more complicated, and since we as a government are bound under the Public Records Act, I wonder if that might cause too much confusion, but it’s definitely something to explore …

  • vijay

    If anyone uses our data to make money, we should get a share of it.

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