September 17, 2006
Why free GIS data is so hard to find! Error 404
We all know that free GIS data is abundant, however, why is it still so hard to find and why is there so much confusion? I'll tell you one HUGE reason... the bloody links to spatial data repositories are constantly coming and going... dead weblinks with no paper trail or forwarding link are commonplace. I have a number of directories that I've created over the years - like this one - (as do many others) but the links are typically out of data after a year. A few examples.. this pointer to a Colorado clearinghouse (page not found), SC department of natural resources (page dead), or how about this fabulous link to the datamil in Delaware which now leads us to a page that simply tells us to go away... nice! It never ceases to amaze me how a fabulous data resource can be easily found one day and then simply removed or moved the next with no forwarding link. This is but one of the huge problems that we are facing but has a simple solution... provide a simple page forwarding link or redirect when you move or replace a website... it's not rocket science!