James led me to this story and its quite cool... one individual's efforts to FREE the DRGs. In an effort billed as "Map Ransom" Jared has designed a clever initiative where he plans on raising some cash to pay for the entire catalog of DRGs.. then, once he's received enough donations to offset the expense he plans on turning them loose for free... nice idea. Jared got into this effort as after getting "pissed off" that he couldn't easily acquire public domain data (like DRGs) for free and is ticked off that resellers continue to whore out these data - anyone who knows me is well aware how ticked off I get that people are still stupidly opening their wallets to the likes of the datadepot and others to buy these free data... WAKE UP PEOPLE! Here's the speil from Jared...
Help liberate over 56,000 digital USGS maps. Donate or purchase maps on DVD to meet the ransom demand. Once the $1600 ransom is met, all maps will be handed over to the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive will make every map available for free download forever!
Users can purchase state DRG bundles for as little as $13 until the ransom has been met. Best of luck to Jared. I only hope this isn't just a clever scheme to help one guy come up with a business model on everyone elses dime. I don't get that impression and having another locale with free DRGs would indeed be a welcomed addition. Of note, there actually are loads of places where you can access Free dRG and other data (DOQs, DEMs, etc...) for example, see your state government agencies, universities, etc... many have vast clearinghouses of free data. Some examples where I've tried to help people access free data:
- The GISuser's Guide to locating and downloading Free USGS data
- GISuser Guide to downloading Free 7.5 minute DEMs
- State GIS Clearinghouse Directory - Update, July 2004
- FGDC Suggested State Clearinghouse Websites
- GISuser Guide to downloading Free 1:250K USGS DEMs
- The GISuser's Guide to locating and downloading Free USGS data (Part 2)
NOTE: In the past I've spoken to many people at various government agencies regardinng the apparent distribution of "their" data (ie... regarding DOQs, FEMA data, DEMs etc...) none of these agencies really cares who's disctributing their data. Even with specialty products and with the likes of NRCan and GeoConnections if they see a business simply repackaging data and shipping on DVDs (or CD) that is good enough for them and they see that as a value added service. So, the next time you buy a government produced dataset from anywhere, you can likely feel free to create duplicate DVDs and start giving them away or re-selling them!