[GSDI Legal Econ] New Zealand: new licence improves access to environmental data
klance_remote at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 10 02:45:33 EDT 2009
New Zealand: new licence improves access to environmental data
1 July 2009: There is new lease of life for two fundamental environmental databases
The Ministry for the Environment made the Land Cover Database and the Land Environments New Zealand classification available online, for free and with an unrestricted licence. This is part of a strategy to make public sector data more accessible.
Both are spatial databases containing geographic boundaries and descriptions of the types of land cover and the environment they exist in. The databases are already used in central and local government for analysis and planning so that better management decisions for our environment can be made.
One reason for this move is recent government policy designed to promote better access to public sector information. The New Zealand Geospatial Strategy has a goal to improve access to spatial information and the State Services Commission is reviewing how public sector information is licensed for re-use.
A further reason is to get more value out of the investment the government made to create the databases. The real value comes from the uses the data is being put to. The more users there are, the more uses the data is put to, the greater the return.
The databases were developed over five years ago and were being distributed under licence by Terralink International and Landcare Research. Their distribution licence agreements were due to expire and the most suitable replacement was to use open content licences.
The licences in question are from the Creative Commons ( http://www.creativecommons.org.nz/ ) and were originally developed for distributing creative works such as music and photos over the internet. They have since been found suitable for licensing government information, including spatial databases.
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