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Access to Geographic Information

Access to geographic (or spatial) information concerns the right and ability of the general public to use a range of geographic data and information gathered by local, state, and federal government agencies and paid for by citizens'tax dollars. Since much of the data gathered for public purposes have a spatial reference, be it a street address or the geographic coordinates of a particular location, understanding the complexities of managing access to geographic information becomes important and relevant for all of us.

The emergence of the Internet and the World Wide Web is often credited with democratizing access to data and information. In the initial stages of the Internet's growth and expansion, discussions about access to geographic information were often linked to larger debates about the “digital ...

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