cities and GIS data

How readily do cities give away their GIS data, or limit the barriers to the data themselves? Many now offer viewers, though they’re often clunky (NYC’s is a joke). What are you supposed to do with that? Why would I choose to use that over Google Maps or any other?

This week I found myself in Albuquerque and having never been here before, turned to the city’s official website as a starting point. I appreciated the fact that a link to Maps (GIS) is on the home page. One click and I had data available (even though I had no intention of downloading data).

Chicago is the “largest” city in the US that makes its GIS data readily available, two clicks from the home page. NYC, LA, Phoenix, SF, Philly, no. Some have lame data viewers, others send you off on a goose chase.

Ease of access raises great questions about ownership, maintenance, distribution, expectations. I might not have any intention of making my own ABQ map, but I appreciate their willingness to cooperate.

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