Use Case Compendium of Derived Geospatial Data
Smith, Mike J.
The realisation that “everything happens somewhere” has driven widespread commercial and non-commercial thirst for geospatial data. The ability to collect, handle and distribute geospatial information has proven of major benefit to companies who can now analyse their own spatial context, in addition to offering geospatial services to a technologically mobile clientele. Within academia, a disparate variety of disciplines realise the importance in adding spatial dimensions to their research work. These drivers for data input are now coupled with a mandate from government to disseminate academic research outputs. With a natural workflow formulated for the input of original/derived data in to research projects, with output for dissemination and downstream application in other areas, the academic climate is ready for the establishment of data repositories. The principle barriers to the implementation of repositories are cultural (academic data creators), legal (data copyright) and to a lesser extent technical hardware/software). It is the complexities surrounding legal issues that form the subject of this report. Through the provision of eleven (geospatial) use-case scenarios describing the main actors, stakeholders, data sets and outputs, a basis for the investigation of copyright issues surrounding the use and dissemination of derived data sets is given. In particular, the importance of the inheritance of copyright licensing for derived data sets is established. The interaction of a variety of stakeholders with varying implicit and explicit licensing conditions makes the definition of precise copyright boundaries difficult to establish. The requirement to adhere to the most severe licensing restriction poses significant problems to data repository establishment. The Ordnance Survey plays a central role in the supply of geospatial data within the United Kingdom. The current JISC/Ordnance Survey negotiated licence was developed before today’s academic focus on repositories and therefore researchers are uncertain over the legal position on making their derived data available for reuse. The exploration of Creative Commons style licensing for geospatial data is suggested. Other key issues worthy of investigation include an assessment of the qualitative/quantitative use of input data and their subsequent importance in any output data. This could allow the development of the idea of “proportional copyright” that establishes relative rights based upon the importance of input data. The arrival of data repositories (for derived data) to improve data access and encourage data reuse is imminent and it is therefore timely that the cultural, legal and technological issues surrounding their establishment are investigated.