Open Data Consortium project announces a model data distribution policy

The Open Data Consortium, a public-private partnership project funded by the USGS and private companies, has developed an historic model data distribution policy for guiding local government dissemination of public-record geodata.

This policy model was developed through a series of collaborative dialogues with stakeholders representing diverse interests from city and county governments, state and Federal agencies, as well as private sector data service providers, universities and professional associations. A wide variety of alternatives were analyzed and considered before arriving at the recommendations in the model policy.

The policy is intended to serve as a guideline for local governments that need to formulate a data distribution policy, or make their current policy more effective.

The model policy addresses the major legal and commercial issues concerning public data distribution, such as, copyright, licensing, liability, security restrictions, privacy considerations, metadata maintenance, data recipients and distribution methods, as well as the controversial issue of data sales.

The model policy is available at the ODC website,, along with documentation of the collaborative work process, additional data studies, data policy documents used by other agencies, and links to useful geodata information. Futher information: