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1. The Value of Spatial Information (Exec. Sum, Full Report) a ACIL Tasman report commissioned by the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI).

2. the 1999 Oxera Report (Oxford Ecomomic Research Associates Ltd.) commissioned by the UK Ordnance Survey.

3. U.S. CODATA Reports published by the National Science Foundation (Free to read online)

4. The European Commission GI and GIS – Documents

5. Commercial Exploitation of Europe’s Public Sector Information, PIRA International study of 2000, Summary, Full Report

There is a very good discussion on how to deconstruct and compare the methodologies and results of the two first documents on the GSDI Legal and Economic Working Group Discussion List. This list has some of the top thinkers in the field of data access from an academic, legal, scientific and public institution standpoint. The list includes an archive that is well worth searching if ever looking for resources on this topic and to hear folks debate the details of these and many other data related issues.

Visualizing Information for Advocacy: An Introduction to Information Design written and designed by John Emerson, Principal at Apperceptive LLC. & Backspace and coordinated and produced by the Tactical Technology Collective.

Visualizing Advocacy

This beautiful pamphlet teaches basic Information design which is the use of

pictures, symbols, colors, and words to communicate ideas, illustrate information or express relationships visually.

The objective is to assist NGOs to communicate with information design so they can:

  • tell their story to a variety of constituencies;
  • use it as an advocacy tool, for outreach or for education.
  • facilitate strategic planning by making a visual map of a given situation.

There is access to data and there is making data accessible. This is the first grassroots data aesthetic communication tool I have ever come across, and it is wonderful.

The authors of and of course members and founders of have just published the lead article in this months Open Source Business Resource.

The entire issue addresses Data Access.


Data Access in Canada: Abstract HTML
Tracey P. Lauriault, Hugh McGuire  
How is Copyright Relevant to Source Data and Source Code? Abstract HTML
Joseph Potvin  
Implementing Open Data: The Open Data Commons Project Abstract HTML
Jordan Hatcher  
The Personal Research Portal Abstract HTML
Ismael Peña-López

Also, check out the work of Talent First the lead organization behind the magazine; they are a Carleton University unit dedicated to promoting the use, dissemination, education and creation of open source technologies in the University.

The magazine is

The Open Source Business Resource (OSBR) is a free monthly publication of the Talent First Network. The OSBR is for Canadian business owners, company executives and employees, directors of open source foundations, leaders of open source projects, open source groups, individuals and organizations that contribute to open source projects, academics and students interested in open source, technology transfer professionals, and government employees who promote wealth creation through innovation.

Each issue contains thoughtful insights on open source issues written for and by people who work with open source.

From Wired:

Sources at Google have disclosed that the humble domain,, will soon provide a home for terabytes of open-source scientific datasets. The storage will be free to scientists and access to the data will be free for all. The project, known as Palimpsest and first previewed to the scientific community at the Science Foo camp at the Googleplex last August, missed its original launch date this week, but will debut soon.

Building on the company’s acquisition of the data visualization technology, Trendalyzer, from the oft-lauded, TED presenting Gapminder team, Google will also be offering algorithms for the examination and probing of the information. The new site will have YouTube-style annotating and commenting features.

[Via Open Access News]

I dicovered from some folks who are disturbed that their data stored in a system such as Facebook are not portable to other systems and that those data can disappear all together.

Ecologo is an excellent example of a Government of Canada consumer data and information service that facilitates the making of informed decisions on how and what to consume.

I discovered it this morning while reading an article about greening computers in the Globe and Mail. I pay attention to electronic waste on my personal blog but think Ecologo is also relevant here as it is a program that provides data on green consumer product certification to Canadians using a rigorous review system. There is also a tinge of national pride here when I read the following even though I know that Canada as a green country is a myth, nonetheless Ecologo was:

launched by the Canadian federal government in 1988, EcoLogo is North America’s oldest environmental standard and certification organization (and the second oldest in the world). It is the only North American standard accredited by the Global Ecolabeling Network as meeting the international ISO 14024 standard for Type I (third-party certified, multi-attribute) environmental labels.

Environment Canada has always been excellent at developing sustainability and other quality of life criteria and monitoring measures. It is one of those interesting departments that is both science and policy, and they stick to good science in their methods to communicate, evaluate and disseminate – budgets permitting of course!

EcoLogoM certification criteria documents (CCDs) are developed in an open, public and transparent process, with a broad base of stakeholder participation including user groups (e.g. procurement associations, institutional purchasers and consumer protection organizations), product producers (e.g. industry members and associations), government / regulators, general science-based representatives (e.g. academics, life cycle experts and other scientists), environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), and other environmental advocates. The criteria address multiple environmental attributes related to human health and environmental considerations throughout the life cycle of the product. Currently, there are 122 Certification Criteria Documents addressing over 250 product types.

You can look up just about anything and discover products in their impressive list. I like that there is a rigorous system in place that is about making informed choices. This is what data are for! They also have an excellent purchaser’s tool box organized by product, category or company.

Hmm! Wonder if we could ever develop a criteria to evaluate organizations on their access, preservation and dissemination of data? What would be the key criteria in such an evaluation? Would an organization get a Free and Open Knowledge certificate (the acronym is terrible! we need Michael Lenczner‘s help here!)? A CivicAccess gold, silver or bronze stamp of data democracy and liberation?

Open Database License (Draft):

This is a beta release, or a draft version of the licence, for comment and criticism by communities interested in licensing databases using copyleft, open content, and related licensing schemes. Distribution of this draft licence does not create an attorney-client relationship. This information is provided ‘as is‘, and this site makes no warranties on the information provided. Any damages resulting from its use are disclaimed.

From (thanks to James Duncan).

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