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I would like to include some state agency data in an application I am creating. The agency will not share the data so I have to find another approach. What I am interested in are the points on the webmap below along with the attributes of each point (onClick). I know I can easily digitize the points but would prefer not to take this approach

Is there an easier way instead of digitizing? Is there a way to access and export the dataset from this webmap instead of digitizing?



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Before that map even loads, you need to agree to T&C's. You've asked for the data and they've refused to provide it. I'd say that even if you are able to reverse-engineer the site, you're in a very grey area – Stephen Lead Sep 19 '12 at 23:23
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I agree with Alice and Stephen. If they will not share the data, then you are out of luck.

You could argue that if they had not disabled directory browsing of their REST endpoints, then whats to stop you from hitting the unsecure service endpoints with a query like this to pull back the points your after (also with the choice of asking for them to be returned in a coordinate system of your choice).

However, they are making use of ArcGIS Server's secure services and you need to have a token in order to use these services. I expect this token is binded to either an IP or a URL, and thus its a good example of a secure implementation (vital for public facing sites).

This answer is not intended to promote data scraping of public facing ArcGIS Server instances, but to encourage any ArcGIS Server administrators to ensure they do lock down their public facing sites. Anything that is left open is vulnerable to misuse, and even if data privacy is not a concern, an 'attack' from a malicious user could cripple your hardware or give you a big bill on Amazon Web Services.

In short - ask them. If they say no, you will need to source the data elsewhere.

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Simon. Thanks for the great answer. I am not going to be scraping this data. – snowgage Oct 1 '12 at 15:10

Probably if you have asked for their data and they have responded no.. then you cannot use the data, unless you manage to source it legally in another way.

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it is public data though.. i know i could do a FOIA request and acquire it but don't really want to go through this process. – snowgage Sep 19 '12 at 15:29
I would never use data unless it was freely downloadable or i had been given permission to use it. I would do an FOIA request, but I suppose it depends what you are using it for - if it is anything for work or commercial, I would ask permission. – Alice Sep 20 '12 at 8:41
Even a FOIA request might not get all of the data you're after. If any portions of the data are deemed "sensitive info" then those portions of the data typically are not subject to FOIA. The result of a FOIA of (partially-) sensitive data could be for the agency to send you the geometries and a subset of attributes, excluding the "sensitive" columns. Some geometries may be excluded as well, in some cases. Note that I'm not speaking specifically about the data in that application, but about FOIA requests to state/loacl agencies in general. – user3461 Oct 1 '12 at 11:53

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