ICIS Embraces Open Data

The Integrated Cadastral Information Society (ICIS) is a spatial data sharing organization based right here in my hometown of Victoria, BC.  They are pretty unique in that their membership embraces all levels of government in the Province and includes First Nations and private industry (major Utility providers).  The common goal of the membership is to share spatial data and to establish a common cadastre as a foundation for the assets managed by individual members.

Others, including Geoff Zeiss, have commented on the uniqueness of the ICIS model, where active participation is solely a function of community desire and not an obligation of legislation; I believe that the fact that 98% of British Columbia’s land base is represented by data-contributing members is testament to its success over the past decade of the organization’s existence.

I have been fortunate to assist ICIS for several years in the development of their technical infrastructure, helping to design and implement their GeoShare tools to automate the transfer of data between operational systems.  Increasingly these systems are exposing their data through public-facing Open Data sites, with cities like Vancouver, Nanaimo, North Vancouver, Langley Township, Kamloops and many others leading the charge.  The Province is also making major strides in this arena with the recent release of a function-rich information portal.

So what’s the function of ICIS in an Open Data world?  There’s still much to do; open data is not necessarily organized data or consistent among different sites.  The open movement does much to solve issues of access, but this is still only one (critical) link in a decision-making chain.  There is relevant academic theory on the utility of information along a value curve from Data -> Information -> Knowledge -> Wisdom; it seems to me that ICIS’ mandate to develop a common cadastre provides a clear call for the society to propel its members’ data further along the DIKW arc.

The more that ICIS members individually adopt Open Data policies and actively publish their data publicly, the more that the society can shift its efforts to facilitating higher value data standardization and analysis functions, with improved data quality benefits for all.

CartoSmart Online Relaunched

CartoSmart has relaunched its online portal with a trimmer look and more focused content. With thanks to many of our clients and colleagues who have provided us valuable feedback about the information they want and their preferred ways of accessing it, we are embracing a blogging format so that we can share our thoughts on evolving GIS technology and to announce what we’re up to and where you can find us.  We look forward to further enhancing how we collaborate and we appreciate your feedback on how we’re doing.

Cheers,
Paul van Nieuwkuyk
President, CartoSmart GIS.