Maps Kidnapped ?

DRG's are free !!

As both James and Jo blogged, the complete series of USGS Quad series DRG maps were taken hostage this week and then released following the payment of $1600 to the Free the Maps website.

Now we are thought the data was free right? – well yes but.. Some states made the data available free to download, some commerical operators charge for media (with some mark-up), most of the data is available on sites like Microsoft Terraserver. However as the site explains..

“..Because there are so many different web sites hosting bits and pieces of this data, it is often difficult to find.

When you do find it, there is often missing data, the files are difficult to download, or the site may use non-standard naming conventions for the files. In addition, there are still a significant number of States that have no DRG’s available for free download.”

So $1600 later all the data has been purchased and will now be uploaded to the Internet Archive. Great job Jared !!!

Unlike Jo (no surprise there then :-)), I don’t think this is the model for future funding for European Mapping agencies whose data is currently protected by copyright… but it may well form the model for exploiting and distributing OS maps as they reach the end of their copyright as the mapping will be of similar age.

The example DRG above is 35 years old, and out of copyright OS mapping is 50 years old.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

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