In my upbringing, I was taught that giving is more blessed than receiving. If you were in the position of giving, it means you have the ability to share out the abundance with others, and your generosity will bring joys to those in need.
In our society, we can be more progressive and productive if we practiced knowledge sharing and helping each other. There are many kind users that sacrifice their free time to help provide answers and solutions in many discussion forums, blogs or user groups. We salute them. However, when come to GIS data, most organizations/users are less generous in sharing. While acknowledge concerns about security and data secrecy, on the other hand, I do strongly convinced most prefer to use this as easy excuses. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ignoring the facts there are certain data that is sensitive and secretive, but on the other hand, there must be other data that’s not so secretive that can be shared out to general public.
Take local authority or city council as an example. While it might be sensitive to publish property ownership or property transaction information, but I don’t see why recreational facility, parking facility, land use zoning map and etc can’t be made public.
How about street map of the local council? Point of Interest (POI), local attractions, public amenities, schools and etc? Are these sensitive data as well?
I know what will be the response from cynics – isn’t it we’ve displayed them on our website? Or isn’t it we’ve published the addresses on our website?
Oh please! Can you share it out as a web service or map service or other form of spatial data instead of JPEG and textual data?
Probably PEMANDU and MAMPU can do our nation a favour, make data sharing/publishing to general public as one of the KPI (Key Performance Indicator) in Government Transformation Program (GTP). Agencies that shared out the most data should be given more budget allocation due to their transparency and accountability to the people. Bear in mind, all GIS data collected and maintained in government agencies belong to the tax payers. Government agencies are merely the data custodians that should facilitate the sharing or usability of these data instead of keeping them away from the public (real data owner).