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Data access policies are important to the development of GIS and related applications because they affect the extent to which data resources are available, under what conditions, and by whom. They should be a subset of broader information policies, that is, policies that articulate the role of information for an organization and define processes for its creation, dissemination, use, and maintenance. The term data is defined here as a collection of facts organized in an electronic database that need further processing in order to derive valuable information.

Information policies are critical to the development of today's society but are complex because they are influenced by legal, economic, and technological considerations, which are affected by social, political, and cultural contexts and vary from country to country. Data ...

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