New York City and California have begun to offer up their GIS files to anyone who wants them, and early results are amazing.
When the New York City government released a huge collection of geo-spatial data sets a few weeks ago, it really was Christmas in July -- at least for all those who love analyzing the city through data and maps.
In early July, we covered how the California Supreme Court of California finally ruled that GIS files are public data, siding with the Sierra Club -- who in 2007 tried to get land parcel information from Orange County, only to be hit back with an absurd licensing fee request of $375,000. Just a few weeks after, New York City government gave in to mounting pressurefrom New York's open data community, and opened up the PLUTO and MapPLUTO, data sets filled with tax lot information. Data sets on zoning and sidewalk cafes are now also available to the public.
Whereas you once had to pay $1,500, now the entire package of data -- cleverly trademarked "BYTES of the BIG APPLE" by the city -- can be accessed for free. This also means that anything made from the data can be shared on the Internet. BKLYNR's interactive map of every is an exciting first look at what can be made with PLUTO data.