Update:Lessons from Mapping the Australian Fires

Update 2/11/09:ZDnet Australia explains the challenges faced in putting the map (and some others) together due to Crown Copyright of government data.

The search giant’s search for data to plot fires on public lands ? which are managed by the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) ? produced an entirely different result. With no public feed of the fires’location and an explicit denial of permission to access its own internal data,the engineers were ultimately unable to plot that data on the map as well.

The culprit,according to [Google Australia engineering director Alan] Noble:legally established Crown copyright provisions,which assign copyright over all government-produced information to the government and prevent its use without explicit consent. Crown copyright is well established in Commonwealth law,but runs contrary to data protection provisions in countries like the US,where data produced by government agencies is held to be in the public domain.

- ZDnet

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