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Does anyone have any stories to tell (good or bad) about attempts to share the costs of data collection among cities/agencies in a metropolitan area?

Aerial imagery is a primary example, but would like to hear other experiences.

How can a small city justify funding a data collection effort when last year they paid for data that was made freely available?

If the data is not made freely available, is there some way to recover costs through data usage?

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I think there might be a difference between data that was made available for free viewing vs data made available for free download. – jvangeld Feb 22 '11 at 21:38
CW as per your request, cheers – scw Feb 23 '11 at 0:31

I used to work for one. 911 was completely funded by all association members (communities and counties), as are transportation planning and regional aerial photo aquisition.

Texas Council of gov
Oklahoma Council of gov

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Thanks Brad. Coincidentally, I attended a presentation by someone who had worked at NCTCOG (Bob O'Neal?). The presentation was basically a post mortem detailing why spatial data consortia don't work. I don't remember the details, but basically there was a dilemma of each member not being able to justify paying for something that mostly benefited someone else. I wish I could find a link to that presentation, it was more than 10 yrs ago though. With 911, isn't there some sort of mandate requiring participation? – Kirk Kuykendall Feb 22 '11 at 20:25

Not knowing anything about your city, so I'm guessing here, but I would assume that your local utility companies, department of transportation, department of natural resources/conservation, highway patrol, etc. pretty much anything that is at the state, county or corporate level, probably has already collected the data. Between all of them, at least one will have imagery at a resoution that you want. If there is any organization that you have a good relationship with, I would check with them. Depending on who you talk to, you may have a good chance at getting the data just by trading favors (tax maps for aerial imagery) or if you are working towards a common goal. Though I've seen it go the other way, where one utility (for example, electric) won't give up their data to the water company because the water company has a good relationship with their competition. And I've seen power struggles with data.

I would guess that if you're as helpful in your city/job as you are in this community that you'll have no problem gathering data from other local sources. Some may give it to you, some may charge you a bit. But it doesn't hurt to ask.

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Thanks for replying MaryBeth. I'm not so much interested in obtaining the data myself. There is a coordinating committee composed of representatives from different local agencies and jurisdictions. This committee has had difficulty devising a funding plan to pay for aerial data collection. I'd like to hear how other metro areas have dealt with this. – Kirk Kuykendall Feb 23 '11 at 4:25
Understand. I'm sure this has been considered already, but throwing it out there just in case. Google Earth/Google Earth Pro might be a solution if you're just interested in serving or viewing data. It's better quality imagery than plain ol' Google, but without the cost of hiring someone to fly over. Pro is about $400 a year. – MaryBeth Feb 23 '11 at 15:35
Stumbled across a fee schedule for the state of Virginia while trying to find TIN data for a county. They provide planning committees and local governments free imagery as well as NAVTEQ data and more. Not sure if your state offers anything like this or not, or if your committee would qualify if they did, but it's another possibility. – MaryBeth Feb 24 '11 at 21:26

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