National Freedom of Information Coalition
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California public records law strengthened by ruling on mapping data

From Wired:  California’s public-records law received a major boost Monday when the state Supreme Court decided local government must turn over mapping data without charging excessive fees.

The decision (.pdf) concerned an appeal by the Sierra Club, which was charged $375,000 by Orange County for a mapping database of 640,000 land parcels that were in the GIS format, which stands for geographic information system, and can be read by most mapping software.


Orange, one of 58 counties in California, said it housed the mapping data on its own proprietary software, and that it would only release the data if the Sierra Club paid a licensing fee.

The Sierra Club, which sought the data to identify land that might be suitable for conservation projects, refused to pay and sued. …

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