This is a question in regard to requesting town/city GIS data that is hosted on a private server.

For example, one of the towns I am working with, Mattapoisett MA USA, has its GIS data hosted with the group at www.peoplegis.com. I have used state data before which is easily accessible on the Massachusetts government repository however is not very up to date. The town data is more up to date and thus the interest in tapping that resource.

That being said, does anyone have any experience requesting data like this from towns/cities where the GIS systems they use are private and only accessible to the public via GIS web maps?

Is going to the town hall asking the assesor my best bet? Thought I would reach out to the community first and see what anyone has to say. Any input would be awesome, good or bad haha!

closed as primarily opinion-based by BERA, JGH, aldo_tapia, whyzar, Hornbydd Jan 19 '18 at 15:47

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  • go to town hall and ask. Public entities must prepare and provide data if requested. They sometimes charge a small fee. – atxgis Jan 19 '18 at 17:43

If the data is accessible from a web service there is probably a contact info. You could try to contact it explaining who you are and why you need the data.

if there is no contact info you probably should try to find a directory of the local administration and directly contact the data manager (or the people managing the data whatever their title are)

If the data you request are not sensible/private/including personal information/ect... there is no reason they wouldn't share (but they don't have to, it really depend if they are willing to help or not and if they feel they have the time to do so)

  • Thanks everyone, I was thinking of heading to the town hall but wanted to see if anyone had experience or if there were any alternative options.I'll be sure to post back with an update after I stop by the town hall for the record. – Peter B. Perkins Jan 22 '18 at 13:05

I have already requested this type of information for the city hall of São Paulo and for the Government of the State of São Paulo using the law of access to information.

Briefly, it says that all information is public and citizens have the right to access it, if it is not available on some website, it is necessary to request for public bodies and they must provide.

You can check for this type of law in your city or state. The law here in Brazil, english version: http://www.mpf.mp.br/atuacao-tematica/sci/normas-e-legislacao/legislacao/legislacao-em-ingles/law-12.527


It is worth noting that this law did not fall from the sky, it was years and years of pressure from social movements over the government until the law was created.

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