Geospatial Index

Bookmarks (Jump to this topic)

  • [ps2id url=’#links’ offset=’100′]Links[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#gcl’ offset=’100′]Geospatial Case Law[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#mostatutes’ offset=’100′]Missouri Statutes[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#books’ offset=’100′]Books[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#ogd’ offset=’100′]Organizing GIS Data[/ps2id]



Please note that this page will always be a work in progress.


[ps2id id=’gcl’ target=”/]Geospatial Case Law

Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Jeppesen, 642 F.2d 339 (9th Cir. 1981)

Maker of aeronautical charts is liable for graphical misrepresentation even though data was numerically correct.

Anderson v. Jacksonville, 103 S.W.3d 190, 2003 Mo. App. LEXIS 126 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003).

Because a petition failed to allege that village’s custodian of records had received citizen’s request for access to information, the citizen failed to state a claim for violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.023.3 under the Sunshine Laws, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.010 et seq. Pursuant to the elements required under the Sunshine Law, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.023.3, the court held that the citizen failed to raise a cause of action against the village; although, the citizen’s letter coupled with a letter from the attorney general adequately identified the records to which the citizen wanted access, and it was not necessary that a legal description be included, the citizen failed to assert in his petition that the custodian of records had received his request or, in the alternative, that the village or its attorney had thwarted or impeded the citizen’s attempted request or the attorney general’s request and, as a result, the timeframe required by the statute was never triggered. While the Sunshine Law, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.023.3 did not compel that the recipient custodian solve a mystery to understand a request for information, the state’s policy of openness of public records and the expressed legislative intent that the statute be liberally applied required a reasonable attempt by the custodian to understand the request by considering the entire communication.

Anderson v. Jacksonville, 103 S.W.3d 190, 2003 Mo. App. LEXIS 126 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003).

Sunshine Law, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.023.3, did not mandate that a legal description accompany a request for access to records regarding real property.

Brocklesby v. Jeppesen, 767 F.2d. 1288 (9th Cir. 1985) cert. den. 474 US 1101(1986).

Publisher of aeronautical charts is found liable for product liability claim even though chart was based on government-produced data.

California First Amendment Coalition v. County of Santa Clara, No. 1-06-CV-072630. (2007).

Court denies claim that county GIS basemap is exempt from public records laws for homeland security reasons.

City of Tarpon Springs v. Patrick Garrigan and Deborah Garrigan, his wife, 510 SO.2d 1198; 1987 Fla Ct of Appeals 2nd. Dist)

Issue as to liability of government official for providing incorrect information on flood elevation maps.

County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (App. 6 Dist. 2009) 89 Cal.Rptr.3d 374, 170 Cal.App.4th 1301, as modified.

County was not barred by the Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) Act from disclosing geographic information system (GIS) basemap data pursuant to a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request, even though county had submitted the basemap to the federal government as CII,

In disclosing geographic information system (GIS) basemap as a public record under California Public Records Act (CPRA), county could not require requester to sign end user agreement limiting the use of the basemap; CPRA required disclosure of records for the cost of reproduction, and that policy would be undercut by permitting county to place extra-statutory restrictions on records.

Fee for copies Trial court’s failure to make an explicit ruling on the issue of whether county was entitled to ancillary costs associated with production of electronic records, in ordering county to disclose its geographic information system (GIS) basemap under California Public Records Act (CPRA), required remand for the trial court to consider the issue, even though the trial court’s order specified that the county was to recover only its direct cost; there was a factual disagreement between the requester and the county about whether the disclosure would require additional programming on the county’s part.

The Court of Appeal would not consider the argument, urged only by county’s amici on writ review of order for county to disclose geographic information system (GIS) data pursuant to a request under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), that the GIS data was computer software and thus not treated as a public record; the county had raised the argument unsuccessfully in the trial court.

Trial court’s finding that counties disclosing their geographic information system (GIS) basemap programs had suffered few ill fiscal effects, in finding that a county’s financial interests did not compel nondisclosure of its basemap under the catchall exemption from the California Public Records Act (CPRA), was supported by substantial evidence, including a declaration that two counties’ basemap programs remained “alive” and “robust” after the counties began to provide their basemaps at little cost, that fourteen California counties provided their GIS basemap data to the public free of charge, and that another twenty-three California counties provided their GIS basemap data for the cost of reproduction.

Trial court did not fail to address county’s claim that it could condition its disclosure of its geographic information system (GIS) basemap on requester’s execution of an agreement not to violate county’s copyright interest in the basemap, where trial court stated in a footnote to its order to disclose the basemap that copyright protection was not appropriate, reading the provision stating that the California Public Records Act (CPRA) did not limit copyright protection in conjunction with the provision stating that records stored on computers were not exempt from disclosure; trial court was not required to also discuss creativity and compilation issues which were not briefed by county.

County preserved its claim that it could condition its California Public Records Act (CPRA) disclosure of its geographic information system (GIS) basemap on requester’s execution of an agreement not to violate county’s copyright interest in the basemap as a “unique arrangement,” by arguing to the trial court that it could require execution of such an end user agreement, arguing that it owned a copyright interest in the basemap, and citing to the federal copyright statute.

California Public Records Act (CPRA) provision recognizing the availability of copyright protection for software developed by a state or local agency in a proper case provides no statutory authority for an agency to assert any other copyright interest.

County of Suffolk v. First American Real Estate Solutions, (2nd Cir. 2001)

Issue was whether county can enforce copyright in tax maps.

Darden v. Peters, 488 F.3d 277 (4th Cir. 2007)

Upheld Copyright Office’s rejection of copyright on maps and compilations on website

Data Tree, LLC v. Romaine, 9 N.Y.3d 454, 849 N.Y.S.2d 489, 880 N.E.2d 10, 36 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1394 (2007)

Where a commercial provider of online public land records brought an Article 78 proceeding to compel the county clerk to produce electronic real estate records pursuant to the state freedom of information statute, the court held that whether disclosure of county real estate records could be accomplished by merely retrieving information already maintained electronically by the county clerk’s office or whether complying with the request for such records would require creating a new record was a question of fact. The court explained, disclosure of records under the freedom of information statute is not always necessarily made by the printing out of information on paper but may require duplicating data to another storage medium such as a compact disc; thus, if the records are maintained electronically by an agency and are retrievable with reasonable effort, that agency is required to disclose the information. The court continued, an agency has no obligation to accommodate a freedom of information law request to compile data in a preferable commercial electronic format when the agency does not maintain the records in such a manner; if the agency does not maintain the records in a transferable electronic format, then the agency should not be required to create a new document to make its records transferable; however, a simple manipulation of the computer necessary to transfer existing records should not, if it does not involve significant time or expense, be treated as creation of a new document. Finally, the court found, if private information could not be reasonably redacted from the requested records, then such records were not subject to disclosure.

Deaton v. Kidd, 932 S.W.2d 804 (Mo. Ct. App. W.D. 1996)

Delaney v. Baker, 971 P.2d 986 (Cal. 1999)

Director, Dept. of Information Technology of Town of Greenwich v. Freedom of Information Com’n, 274 Conn. 179, 874 A.2d 785, 33 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 2128 (2005)

The director of a town’s department of information technology failed to meet his burden to show that the security or integrity of the town’s information technology system would be compromised by disclosure of computerized data from the town’s geographic information system (GIS), as required to invoke the pertinent exemption under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-210(b)(19 ), where the director testified that he was concerned about the vulnerability of the town’s network to a security breach and that the computer firewalls were not foolproof but did not provide specific examples of security breaches or evidence that any such breaches had been caused by the disclosure of GIS data, the court, held. The court explained, in deciding whether the public safety exemption of the FOIA applied to GIS data, the trial court was not required to balance the town’s interest in public safety with the public’s right to accessible information as the FOIA’s exemptions already incorporated the judgment of the legislature with regard to balancing the public interest in disclosure of records with the need for confidentiality.

Greenwich v. Whitaker, (Ct Sup Ct. 2005)

Conn Supreme Court finds that city is unable to restrict access to GIS data for public safety reasons.

Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 14 L.Ed.2d 510, 85 S.Ct. 1678 (1965)

Haynie v. Superior Court, 31 P.3d 760 (Cal. 2001)

Helen Remsburg, Administrator of the Estate of Amy Lynn Boyer v. Doc search Inc. U.S. District Court, SC New Hampshire, No. 2002-25f at http://www.courts.state.nh/supreme/opinions/2003/remsb017.htm

Hodge E. Mason and Hodge Mason Maps, Inc. v. Montgomery Data, Inc., et al., 967 F.2d 135 (5th Cir. 1992)

Action was brought for infringement of copyright in land ownership maps based on United States geological survey maps, which used title data obtained from title companies.

Holtcamp v. State, 259 S.W.3d 537, 539 (Mo. 2008)

NOTE: Use this section when dealing with the conflict between FOI and the MO GIS Statute

Images Audio Visual Productions Inc. v. Perini Building Company Inc., 91 F.Supp. 2d 1075 (April 12, 2000, U.S. District Court, E.D. Michigan S.D.)

Images Audio Visual v. Perini Building, 91 F.Supp.2d 1075 (E.D. Mich.2000)

Holder of copyright on aerial photographs showing construction site progress sued contractor that had ordered photographs, alleging that contractor violated copyrights by having duplicates photocopied and distributed to participants in arbitration dispute, rather than ordering extra copies from photographer.

International News Service v. A.P. 248 U.S. 215 (1918)

Upheld common law rule that no copyright in facts developed the common law doctrine of misappropriation through the tort of unfair competition.

Jones v. Jackson County Circuit Court, 162 S.W.3d 53, 2005 Mo. App. LEXIS 231 (Mo. Ct. App. 2005), transfer denied by 2005 Mo. LEXIS 167 (Mo. May 31, 2005).

Denial of the individual’s petition for mandamus or mandatory injunction was proper where, if the Sunshine Law, Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 610.010, applied, the circuit court did not violate it by denying his request to create a new, customized record. The plain language of the Sunshine Law did not require a public governmental body to create a new record upon request, but only to provide access to existing records held or maintained by the public governmental body, Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 610.023

Petition for mandamus and mandatory injunction alleging that a circuit court and its court administrator violated the Sunshine Law, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.010 et seq., was properly dismissed; the circuit court and its administrator complied with the plain language of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.023.2 because it made its public records containing the information appellant was seeking available for inspection and copying by the public.

Kanawha County Tax Accessor v. Seneca Technologies, Civil Action No. 08-1-136 (Circuit Court of Kanawha County, WV)

County tax assessor claims private company is violating county’s copyright by posting data obtained from state on its website.

Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)

Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation, 280 F.3d 934 (9th Cir. 2002)

Kelsey-Hayes Company v. Ali Malehi, 765 F.Supp. 402 (1991)

Kern River Gas Transmission Co. v. Coastal Corp., 899 F.2d 1458 (5th Cir. 1990)

Microdecisions, Inc. v. Abe Skinner, 889 So. 2d 871 (M.D. FL, 2004)

Issue was whether county property appraiser may require prospective commercial users of the records created in his office to first enter into a licensing agreement.

Motorola Communication & Electronics, Inc. v. Department of General Services, 64 Cal.Rptr.2d 477 (Cal.App. 3 Dist. 1997)

Multi AG Media LLC v. Department of Agriculture, 515 F.3d 1224 (2008)

Natural Business Lists Inc. v. Dun & Bradstreet Inc., 552 F.Supp. 89, 92-93 (ND 111. 1982)

Nester’s Map & Guide Corp. v. Hagstrom Map Company, 796 F.Supp 729 (ED.NY 1992)

Publisher of New York City taxi driver’s guide brought copyright infringement action against competitor.

News-Press & Gazette Co. v. Cathcart, 974 S.W.2d 576, 1998 Mo. App. LEXIS 1164, 26 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 2561 (Mo. Ct. App. 1998).

Medical examiner was not required to make an autopsy report of a crime victim available to respondent newspaper in accordance with the Missouri Sunshine Law because the report was an investigative report and was closed until the investigation became inactive; even though the medical examiner was a public government body, the autopsy report fell within the exception of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.011, which provided that government records were to be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law.

Op.Atty.Gen. 04-1105 (October 3, 2005), 2005 WL 2464165

A copy of parcel boundary map data maintained in an electronic format by a county assessor must be furnished “promptly” upon request of a member of the public..

Op.Atty.Gen. 04-1105 (October 3, 2005), 2005 WL 2464165.  55.

Parcel boundary maps Parcel boundary map data maintained by a county assessor in an electronic format is subject to public inspection and copying under provisions of the California Public Records Act.

Op.Atty.Gen. 04-1105 (October 3, 2005), 2005 WL 2464165.

Parcel boundary map data maintained by a county assessor in an electronic format is subject to public inspection and copying under provisions of the California Public Records Act.

Op.Atty.Gen. 04-1105 (October 3, 2005), 2005 WL 2464165. West’s Ann. Cal. Gov. Code § 6253.9, CA GOVT § 6253.

The fee that may be charged by a county for furnishing a copy of parcel boundary map data maintained in an electronic format by a county assessor is generally limited to the amount that covers the direct cost of producing the copy but may include certain other costs depending upon the particular circumstances as specified in the California Public Records Act. 9

Paradigm Alliance, Inc. v. Celeritas Technologies, LLC, 659 F.Supp.2d 1167 (Date?)

Genuine issues of material fact as to whether information technology (IT) service provider attempted to access geographic information systems (GIS) producer’s non-public online product without authorization, and whether GIS producer sustained as damages as result precluded summary judgment on GIS producer’s claim against IT provider for violation of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

Pennington v. Dobbs, 235 S.W.3d 77, 2007 Mo. App. LEXIS 1442 (Mo. Ct. App. 2007).

Where inmate requested documents from a sheriff’s office and from a police chief, the trial court wrongfully dismissed the count of the inmate’s suit against the sheriff under the Sunshine Law because the inmate’s request to the sheriff was received by the sheriff; however, as there was no indication that the police chief or the police department’s custodian of records ever received the inmate’s request for records, the count against the police chief required dismissal.

Perkins v. Caldwell, 363 S.W.3d 149, 2012 Mo. App. LEXIS 77 (Mo. Ct. App. 2012).

Appellant failed to demonstrate that the city violated any provision of the Sunshine Law, as appellant had not demonstrated what request for access was denied to her.

Pictometry v. FOIC,

Reichert v. The Board of Education of the City of St. Louis, 217 S.W.3d 301, 305 (Mo. banc 2007)

States may expressly: Prohibit commercial use of voter registration, vital and/or certain health records; charge Fees to satisfy commercial requests for unrestricted records; ban different handling of otherwise disclosable public records based on the Character of its intended use.

Reminga v. U.S., 448 F. Supp 45 (W.D. Mich. 1978)

Inaccurately and negligently depicted the location of a broadcasting tower on an aeronautical chart.

Sierra Club v. Superior Court California, 260 P.3d 283 (DATE?)

County landbase data that was held in geographic information system (GIS) file was not a public record, but fell within the computer software statutory exception to the Public Records Act’s (PRA) general rules of disclosure, and thus was not subject to disclosure in GIS format; computer software included computer mapping systems. Cal. Gov’t Code §6254.9.

Sparaco v. Lawler, 303 F.3d 460 (2nd Cir 2002)

Land surveyor sued defendants alleging that defendants copied his site plan in violation of copyright law in creating a site plan for use in the construction in the facility.

State ex rel. Moore v. Brewster, 116 S.W.3d 630, 2003 Mo. App. LEXIS 1182 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003).

Testimony supported the trial court’s finding that no custodian of records, pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.023.1 of the Sunshine Law, had been appointed by a board of education as ordered by the trial court, and thus the award of attorney fees pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.027.3 in favor of board members was affirmed. Where pleadings did not allege that Board of Education failed to appoint custodian of records pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.023.1, the superintendent of schools testified that there was no one under his supervision with the title of custodian of records, and the Board’s attorney testified regarding whether there was a custodian of records that it would depend on which records a person was asking for, and neither the questions nor the testimony elicited was objected to, the issue of appointment of a custodian of records was tried by implied consent.

State ex rel. Recodat Co. v. Buchanan, 46 Ohio St. 3d 163, 546 N.E.2d 203, 17 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1112 (1989)

The court held that a county auditor’s office which stored real estate records on magnetic computer tapes maintained at the office of a private entity was required to make available to the public all records contained on the tapes at the same cost as records kept in the auditor’s office and not stored on tapes; however, the auditor was not required to make available the tapes themselves or software created by a private entity to access information on the tapes since the magnetic computer tapes were not “public records” subject to public disclosure under the state public records statute. § 29. County real estate records 54 A.L.R. 6th 653 (Originally published in 2010) Disclosure of Electronic Data Under State Public Records and Freedom of Information Acts, Marjorie A. Shields, J.D., American Law Reports ALR6th.

Streetwise Maps, Inc. v. Vandam, Inc., a corporation of the State of New York, and Steven Meuth, also known as Stephan Van Dam, 159 F3d 739 (2nd Cir. 1998)

Publisher of street maps brought action against competitor and its president, alleging trademark, trade dress and copyright infringement as well as unfair competition under state law.

Tiffany Design v. Reno-Tahoe Specialty, 55 F.Supp 2d 1113 (July 12 1999, U.S. District Court. D. Nevada).

Holder of copyright of computer enhanced aerial photograph of city sued competitor in souvenir business, alleging violation of copyright.

WIREdata Inc. v. Village of Susses, 2008 WI 69

Discussion of whether geospatial database is a public record not protected by copyright.

[ps2id id=’mostatutes’ target=”/]Missouri Statutes

  • § 32.055 R.S.Mo. Sale of motor vehicle registration lists and personal information prohibited, may be disclosed to whom
  • § 67-1850 R.S.Mo. This thing is just evil.
  • § 115.158 R.S.Mo. Missouri voter registration system authorized, functions — system maintenance performed — security measures implemented — verification of information — use of system for election results — information not to be used for commercial purposes, penalty — advisory committee established, duties — rulemaking authority
  • § 208.120 R.S.Mo. [Old Age Assistance, Aid to Dependent Children and General Relief] Records, when evidence, restrictions on disclosure–penalty
  • § 217.075 R.S.Mo. [Department of Corrections] Offender records, public records, exceptions–inspection of, when–access to medical records–copies admissible as evidence–violations, penalty
  • § 302.183 R.S.Mo. Proof of residency, issuance or renewal of license, privacy rights not to be violated, confidentiality of data
    Mo. Ann. Stat. § 610.023, subd. 2

[ps2id id=’links’ target=”/]Links

Advisory Opinion State of New York Committee on Open Government –

  1. Cornell includes links to most state and federal statutes. All but Kansas have the full text of their statutes on-line; Kansas has only the outline.
  2. ESRI’s GIS Bibliography:
  3. ESRI’s Training Bibliography:
  4. Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) – 
  5. Geospatial Data Sharing; Guidelines for Best Practices, National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC),
  6. Geospatial Information & Technology Association
  7. Google Scholar: –
  8. Missouri Geographic Information System Advisory Committee (MGISAC)
  9. Missouri Information Technology Services Division:
  10. Missouri Information Technology Services Division:
  11. Missouri Office of Geospatial Information –
  12. Missouri Spatial Data Information Services:
  13. MO GIS Profile « Missouri Geographic Information Systems Advisory Council
  14. National States Geographic Information Council:
  15. Prof. Harlan Onsrud:
  16. The Centre for Spatial Law and Policy:
  17. USRIA: URISA site includes links to all state and federal privacy and FOI laws and constitutional provisions. 
  21. Geospatial World
  22. Geospatial Professionals, Law, and Law School
  23. Georgia Geospatial Conference 

[ps2id id=’books’ target=”/]Books

  1. Geographic Information Science: Mastering the Legal Issues George Cho © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd ISBNs: 0-470-85009-4 (HB); 0-470-85010-8 (PB)

Organizing your GIS Data[ps2id id=’ogd’ target=”/]

  1. Here is a great page on the difference between Shapefiles and Geodatabases. 
  2. Organizing Your ArcGIS Table of Contents