US: Georgia-based Johns Creek city has created an OpenData portal that will provide the citizens free access to data they use for maps. The initiative aims to encourage private-sector innovation and growth. With this initiative, Johns Creek has become the first city in Georgia that has opened its map-based data without restrictions.
“People can use that information to build business plans, find new markets and make better decisions for their own business,” said Mayor Mike Bodker. “The city creates and maintains substantial amounts of map-based information. We use this information to help us visualize the relationships between things like roads, parcels and business locations. Anyone can now use this same information to test new ideas, find new markets and customers, and maybe even develop the next big thing right here in Johns Creek.”
In some other cities that have started the map-based Open Data programs include San Francisco, Boston, Austin and Savannah-Chatham County.
“These cities are major incubators of tech companies that rely heavily on this type of geographic data,” said Courtney Bernardi, chief executive officer for Johns Creek Advantage, the economic development arm for the city. “Some cities in Georgia charge for their data. Others allow people to use the data if they promise they won’t make money from it. We want to encourage economic growth in our city. This gives JCA another tool to help foster new businesses in Johns Creek and keep existing companies grow.”
Map-based data includes a wide range of material, including information on parcels and plats, permits, businesses, and demographics and census data. Even more city data will be available through inter-connected portals in the future. The city’s data is also used by large tech companies and mapping firms.
The program means people can readily find information to create customized spreadsheets that they can then convert with certain software into maps. The data can be focused on specific addresses, infrastructure, geographic areas or physical features.