July 19, 2005

Sample legal cases over public access to GIS data in Florida

Some interesting public records are available in Florida that pertain to
the ongoing battle of Joe Public attempting to gain access to GIS data.
These 2 cases are good examples of the ongoing battle.

AGO 2003-042 - Palm Beach County - (Attorney General's Opinion) states
the following... "these materials have been produced using public funds
and, by law, are available to the public at the cost of copying without
regard to the purposes for which the information is to be used."

After several months of legal battle, the Attorney General ruled in
favor of the plaintiff and now as a result users can obtain the same
parcel shapefiles for free from the Palm Beach County's FTP site. For
details see

Florida Second District Court of Appeals Case No. 2D03-3346 - In a
similar decision Microdecisions, Inc. et al fought the Collier County's
Property Appraiser. Microdecisions, Inc won the case which should
provide a precedent for similar action in the State.

See http://www.2dca.org/opinion/December%2001,%202004/2D03-3346.pdf