Re-visiting the Valuing and Pricing of Digital Geographic Information

Roger Longhorn, Michael Blakemore


Geographic information (GI) comprises all information with a location attribute, e.g. addresses, administrative boundaries, and topographic data describing the natural and built environment. GI is very expensive to collect, process and maintain, yet ever easier to disseminate cheaply via Web-based services and products. Various studies from developed nations around the world show that GI plays a crucial role in underpinning whole economies and delivering efficient government, indicating that it should be used as widely as possible. Much GI is collected by local and national government for specific purposes. How such public sector information (PSI) is made more widely available for other uses and to other users, and at what price, has created heated debate and led to the adoption of diverse PSI charging regimes in different countries. The purpose of this paper is to re-examine the dogma inherent in the bi-polar viewpoints at the heart of the charging debate, from the perspective of economic reality and diverse public information policy cultures.

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