Follow-up to the Tempe GIS Data Request

You might recall the issue where I wanted some GIS data from the City of Tempe Well they finally told me to make a public information request and they’d evaluate my request. Well I got back a response this week:

Dear Mr. Fee:

I have reviewed your public records request for the “complete city of Tempe landbase and utilities in digital DGN format,” and discussed it with our City Attorney, Andrew Ching. He has advised me that, under the state public records law and cases construing the law, cities are permitted to weigh the competing interests of the public’s right to receive records versus the countervailing concerns of privacy, confidentiality, and the best interests of the city. Under federal law, city utilities such as water and sewer lines are considered critical infrastructure, which means that cities may restrict access to such data for homeland security reasons. As such, we generally limit access to utility mapping except for very limited parcels or sections, and not for the entire city. Therefore, your request is denied in part; we will release the complete landbase, but not the utilities.

As an alternative, we would be willing to discuss with you further your proposed educational use of the information. It is my understanding you intend to use this for a class presentation to school children on the power of GIS. If that is still the case, we would be willing to discuss options for how you can present to the class while at the same time we can ensure that sensitive data is not disseminated. Please let me know if you would like to meet and discuss these options.

Wendy Springborn, MBA Engineering Services Administrator City of Tempe

So as you can imagine I took them up on their offer of the Landbase data and I now have the city landbase in Microstation DGN v7. I’d of course love to have unrestricted use of this data, but at this moment I’m in the process of preparing it to be loaded into PostGIS via FME 2010 so that I can start using it. There was no metadata with the CD they gave me, but it was easy enough to figure out the layering system. The quicker I get it unlocked from DGN and into open PostGIS, the easier it will be to work with. Now I just have to make sure I remembered to get my wife a Christmas present.

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