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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

NYC geographic data now available for free

The city of New York has finally made a wealth of geographic data available for free. As The Atlantic reports, where you once had to pay $1,500, now the entire package of data — cleverly trademarked “BYTES of the BIG APPLE” by the city — can be accessed for free. This also means that anything made from the data can be shared on the Internet.

  • BYTES of the BIG APPLE. New York City Department of City Planning.

    BYTES of the BIG APPLE is a family of software, data and geographic base map files for the City of New York.

    PLUTO and MapPLUTO
    Zoning related datasets
    Waterfront related datasets
    Single Line Street base map dataset
    Administrative and Political boundaries
    Geocoding Application
    Other City Planning datasets

  • Visual Proof That Geographic Data Really Should Be Free, by Jenny Xie, The Atlantic Cities (Aug 14, 2013).

California Supreme Court rules GIS files are public records

“The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that digital mapping files known as geographic information systems must be released under the state’s public records law.

“The decision could make it easier for media organizations, advocacy groups and others to obtain government GIS databases, rich collections of data that can be used to display and analyze multiple layers of geographical information.”

  • Digital mapping files are public records, state Supreme Court rules, By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times (July 8, 2013).

    Forty-seven of California’s 58 counties already provide GIS parcel maps as public records for a nominal fee, said Dean Wallraff, an attorney for the Sierra Club. Los Angeles County charged the group less than $10 for a disk containing the files, he said. Monday’s court ruling should compel Orange County to do the same.

Good news for census/maps/GIS geeks: TIGERweb set to release

This looks like a great new tool to access geographic data from the US Census Bureau. For more, check out Introduction to TIGERweb (YouTube video below).

The U.S. Census Bureau is going through the final integration tests for the next TIGERweb release. TIGERweb v2.0 (beta) will consist of a new set of map services using American Community Survey (ACS) 2011 source data, an upgraded viewer application based on comments received from our users, and a relocation of our Census 2010 viewer to TIGERweb2010. We hope to release this new version the week of September 17, 2012. Expect more information about this release later this week.

If you have any questions or comments about TIGERweb, you may contact us by sending a message to geo.tigerweb@census.gov.

New Geospatial Platform Website

“The federal government and its geospatial partners today unveiled www.geoplatform.gov, a prototype Geospatial Platform website providing an initial view of the future of user-friendly, integrated, federal data collections on common geographic maps.” (Federal Geographic Data Committee Launches New Geospatial Website, press release, U.S. Department of the Interior (11/09/2011).

“This prototype version of the Geospatial Platform combines map-based data and tools with the latest internet technologies to deliver geospatial information in a simple, understandable package. Users—including the public, federal agencies and their partners—can easily find federally-maintained geospatial data, services and applications, as well as access data from our partners across State, Tribal, Regional and local governments.”

New & Free: USGS Releases More than 200,000 Historical Maps From 1884-2006

Via INFOdocket:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Historical Quadrangle Scanning Project (HQSP) is in the process of releasing all editions and all scales of more than 200,000 historic topographic maps of the United States dating from 1884-2006.


The historical topographic map collection includes all States and U.S. territories mapped by the USGS. The HQSP creates a master catalogue and digital archive for all topographic maps and provides easy access to the public to download this historical data to accompany topographic maps that are no longer available for distribution as lithographic prints.

Historical maps are available to the public at no cost in GeoPDF format from the USGS Store. These maps are georeferenced and can be used in conjunction with the new USGS digital topographic map, the US Topo.

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