24 December 2009

If Govt. pays for maps, does'nt the geographic data become public? #fosscomm

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: vinay sreenivasa <>
Date: Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 9:15 PM
Subject: [fosscomm] GIS Qn : If Govt. pays for maps, does'nt the geographic data become public?

Dear All,

Bangalore's municipal boundaries were re-drawn 3 years ago and the number of wards were increased. In order to have maps of all the new wards, the government has paid a private company (atleast 50 lakhs, not sure of the correct figure though) to get the maps done.

Here is a sample of the maps -

I needed the geographic data of Bangalore(shapefiles) and hence approached the government for the shapefiles, who in turn asked me to approach the private company. The representative of the private company initially said he cannot give me the shapefiles since his contract with the government was only to provide jpgs! He later said he'll discuss with the government and get back to me .

This raises a few questions-

1)Isn't 50 lakhs a large sum to just get jpg maps?

2)If the contract mentions maps only and doesn't specify jpgs, shouldn't the government be the owner of the data , that is the shapefiles?

3)Assuming in case the company does hand over the shapefiles to the government, what will be the policy governing public access to this data? I'm assuming existing policy framework does not contain guidelines for geographical/geospatial data. Anyone knows if this is right or wrong?

The only geographical data policy we seem to have have ( ) covers Survey of India and its maps only.

Also, there were plans to develop a National Geospatial Data Authority Bill but I cant find a draft of it anywhere.

Please do let me know your thoughts on the above.


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