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Developing geographic information infrastructures: the role of access policies

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Within societies, information availability is a key issue affecting society's well-being. For geographic information, a geographic information infrastructure (GII) facilitates availability and access to geographic information for all levels of government, the commercial sector, the non-profit sector, academia, and ordinary citizens. Although the importance of access policies in the development of a GII is commonly understood, research that has assessed the impact of access policies on this development is scant. This article adds this perspective. Based on information acquired from case-study and literature research, the author argues that open-access policies do not always promote GII development and in specific instances are counter-productive. These findings may explain why many nations still adhere to cost-recovery policies instead of following access policies recommended by research. The article provides alternatives for changing current policies into new access policies that promote GII development.

Keywords: Access policy; Development; Geographic information infrastructure; SDI

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Delft University of Technology, OTB Research Institute for Housing, Environment and Mobility Studies, The Netherlands

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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