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Thursday, June 16, 2005

According to the Stamford Advocate, the Connecticut Supreme Court has ordered open the database of aerial photographs of the Town of Greenwich, which the city has kept guarded because the photos show the location of several "celebrity" homes. Citing a "post 9/11" world situation, the city would rather have kept these data locked away for fear of putting these citizens at risk. The newspaper stated that "the center of the case is the town’s geographic information system, a ‘high-tech’, taxpayer funded database containing detailed aerial photographs of homes, schools…as well as maps showing fire hydrants, utilities…"

In an eleven-page decision, the court ruled that "such generalized claims of possible safety risk do not satisfy the (town’s) burden of proving the applicability of an exemption from disclosure under the act." The town has sold individual air photos in the past but now anyone can buy the entire database on a single CD.

And we have to wonder how many additional law suits will this spawn to throw open other city geospatial databases that have been locked up due to privacy or claims of security risks.


by Joe Francica on 06/16 at 03:42 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The contest? Drive as much traffic as possible to a website as you can. The draw? A really good fake story. The GPS enabled panties, “Forget-Me-Not Panties” took the grand prize. The idea was that the clothing could help track wives and girlfriends. I saw many references to it suggesting it was realЕ

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/16 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Yesterday Directions and at least one other online geospatial publication received a press release from USGS noting that Director Charles Groat was stepping down June 17 in order to take a position at the University of Texas at Austin. Interior Secretary Gale Norton named Dr. P. Patrick Leahy as acting director. A permanent replacement for USGS director must be nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Pardon me for being a grassy knoller (that’s someone who sees conspiracy everywhere) but this is just weird. First it’s weird that the press (geospatial or otherwise) doesn’t see this as news. It’s real news; the release is on the USGS website here and one about Groat’s departure is here.

Second it’s weird since USGS is in a state of flux as it “reorganizes.” I’ve written about that. I wonder if these two things are related?

Third, I’ve received several e-mails and spoken to numerous people who have a vested interest in USGS who express concern about what’s going on. Some have suggested that USGS may be on the current administration’s chopping block. 

I will say that this situation makes me nervous. And, I hope others are watching and asking questions along with me.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/16 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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