Comments > YukonYukon

From Jim Hawkings, of Environment Canada in Whitehorse, Yukon:

I believe that geographic data gathered by the government is a public work that benefits all members of the public. Its creation should be funded by taxpayers and it should be available to the public for the cost of distribution, with no restrictions on redistribution. The current situation is unsustainable, to say nothing of being rediculous. Imagine all wasted time and money as governments -- and departments within the federal government -- agonize over complex licensing agreements and back-room deals for the purchase and use of geographic data.

From M. J. Youso, of Arctech Research, in Whitehorse Yukon:

I'm a self employed exploration geologist. The exhorbitant cost of Landsat and similar data makes it impossible for a small company like mine to use this valuable exploration resource. It's especially frustrating because my tax dollars helped to create that data. The data should be available to Canadian residents free of charge.

This From Matt Wilkie of a GIS Section in the Yukon Territorial Government:

Thank you very much for organizing this group, web site and petition. I have many, many, many times griped to myself and anybody else listening (willing or otherwise) about the prohibitive cost of geospatial data in Canada. One need only look across the border to see how much greater stimulated the US geospatital business community is. Admittedly this can not all be laid at the door of free data, but I'm sure it has played a significant role.

Canada at one time or another has spawned a number high-tech and high-capability GIS/Remote-Sensing software publishing companies, most of which have now gone, or are moving in the direction of, the dodo bird. Again, I think the overpricing of both the software and the data has contributed to this decline. It most certainly is not because of (uncurable) technical or capability failings.

In the private sector, data pricing alone simply flatout rejected my company from certain projects, capability and experience be damned. Now that I'm working in government, things are much smoother, for the most part I have access to the necessary data. However the money spent on data acquisition would be better spent on data analysis and management, (and more staff!).

I do have one problem with your form - there is no middle ground. Respondants can choose either free/very cheap or mega-expensive. Now having a middle-of-the-road choice wouldn't have changed my selections, there may be people who are dissatisfied with the current pricing regime, but would rather have cost recovery than free. (btw, cost recovery implies that once cost has been recovered, the data should be free or at distribution charge. I might be ...okay... with that kind of setup.)

I would like to take this opportunity to notify people of a similar movement with regard to the proposed pricing of the new LandSat 7 imagery. Contact Paul A. Tesser ( for details.

One item which addressed by documents on the website, but not by the questionaire itself, is the "liberty" part of freedom. If big-C Canada responds to our pressure and decides to release data free-as-in-price, but with a restrictive copyright (as is current practice), we will not really be farther ahead.

While I want fair digital data pricing, I'm actually far more concerned about data usability.

Comments > Yukon