Even governments have problems with data requests

The Unreasonable Request…

Last week I spent some time cutting over to the live 9.X version of Accela system for the Environmental Health Department. I’m responsible for getting the mapping part of the various applications running. It was a little slow going at first but it was up and running in a few days.  On Thursday I had a request to add some water and sewer utility layers to the internal system for the OWTS group. You see the County does not manage these public systems this is done at a number of public agencies in the County so if you need access to that dataset you have to ask a bunch of different people for access. My first GIS job was working at the City Water and Sewer Division so I kew a thing or two about how this request might go.

The Big Slow Down…

Everyone I reached out to but two persons sent over some data. The other folks needed some sort of data agreement signed in triplicates by the higher ups. Keep in mind that the County group was just looking for line work NOT every valve, manhole or facilities.  I was a little surprised at the reluctance to share especially since some of these same folks have their data sitting on our servers already.  It was frustrating to say the least some of the agencies did not even have or know where to find digital copies of their data. Data that I’ve seen on various digital maps before (shame! shame!)

Is Everybody Like this about Water & Sewer Data…

To lighten my mood I wanted to see if this was a typical scenario across the States so I set my browser to ArcGIS Online and did a search in the gallery for Water and Sewer Systems.  I was pleased to find a number of publicly available applications from Oregon to Illinois to  Florida.   Good to know that there are some agencies out there that share there data not only with other government agencies but the public as well. We do get requests for water and sewer utility data sometimes and I cringe every time I have to tell people to contact the water and sewer providers in the area because I know what the results would be…

The Big Runaround

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s