Data Policy

SDI in a paragraph.. take note Europe !

While the alpha geeks of the geospatial world were meeting at Where2.0 in San Jose, something really significant happened in Washington.

From the FAQ of the Obama administrations new website launched today..

“What are some resources for viewing geospatial datasets?

The geospatial datasets available on are provided in up to three open file formats: Keyhole Markup Language (KML), Compressed Keyhole Markup Language (KMZ) and ESRI Shapefile. These datasets are all viewable in many commercial and freely available applications. More information about Geographic Information System (GIS) software can be found by doing a web search.”

It does not need to more complex than this for the citizens of the US to benefit, there are many individuals and organisations both commercial and non-commercial who can now build on this.

Written and submitted from the BA Lounge, San Francisco Airport.

3 replies on “SDI in a paragraph.. take note Europe !”


My favorite part of the announcement is “More information..can be found by doing a web search.”

But it’s a bit surprising how the Open Data meme is catching on in some of our stodgier bureaucracies (see the new World Bank data API).

However, as long as XYZ county is still selling their parcel data for thousands of dollars, it won’t be time to retire those trusty data scraping tools just yet.



Yes there is a meme towards openness, but it’s far from universal as you point out.

Still if it’s good enough for Obama..


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