The Cost(s) of Open Geospatial Data
Johnson PA, Sieber RE, Scassa T, Stephens M, Robinson PJ. The Cost(s) of Geospatial Open Data. Transactions in GIS. 2017;21:434–445. DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12283
12 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2017
Date Written: March 1, 2017
The provision of open data by governments at all levels has rapidly increased over recent years. Given that one of the dominant motivations for the provision of open data is to generate ‘value’, both economic and civic, there are valid concerns over the costs incurred in this pursuit. Typically, costs of open data are framed as costs that are internal to the data providing government. Building on the strong history of GIScience research on data provision via spatial data infrastructures, this paper considers both the direct and indirect costs of open data provision, framing four main areas of indirect costs; citizen participation challenges, uneven provision across geography and user types, subsidy of private sector activities, and the creation of inroads for corporate influence on government. These areas of indirect cost lead to the development of critical questions, including constituency, purpose, enablement, protection, and priorities. These questions are proposed as a guide to governments that provide open data in addressing the indirect costs of open data.
Keywords: open data, open government, spatial data infrastructures, technology adoption, technology impacts
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