[aprssig] Re: USA map sources

KC2MMi kc2mmi at verizon.net
Tue Mar 15 12:23:10 CST 2005

 Toposerver, meaning topographic map server. 66 Google hits on it, several
internet sites make the entire USGS topographic collection available for
viewing online. Those are "toposervers".

Like mapserver, a google will turn up sites. www.maptech.com has a fairly
versatile set of free online servers, which must be used with the caveat
that they compile data across different datums with no indication which one
applies at any particular time. Topozone.com and Acme.com are others.

< "Tiger Maps" produced by the U.S. Census Bureau or the topo maps ...U.S.
Geologic Survey?
The government-compiled data on these maps is in the public domain, and is
available for free off U.S. government web sites.>

 I'm not sure that it is in the public domain as people might understand
that. Under US copyright law, that information belongs to the people of the
United States. For us, it is public domain. For non-citizens...I haven't
found a firm answer but I suspect they have no rights to use the
information, international copyright would apply. The US doesn't waive
copyright on "the people's" documents, it gives it to the US people, afaik.

  <<(This situation in
the U.S. is in sharp contrast with the situation in most other countries
where private companies and users pay sizable fees and royalties for the
use of public data.)>>
  In most countries, government compiled data belongs to the government. The
"state" or the "crown", as in the UK. It is NOT "public data", it is
government data. In the US, it actually *is* public property.

And of course, the Tiger data set is often grossly misued simply because it
is so available and so simple compared to USGS and other sources. According
to the Census, it should not be used for mapping and navigation--the data
precision is not there. Something that foreign and casual users are liable
to get caught up by.

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