Norman Wong Joins Amicus Brief in GIS Case; Supreme Court of California Rules Data Are Public Records
The Supreme Court of California ruled on Monday, July 15 in Sierra Club v. County of Orange that digital mapping files, also referred to as geographic information systems (GIS) fall under the state’s public records law.
Lewis Center GIS Program Manager Norman Wong participated in an amicus brief in the case. As stated in the brief,
[Norman Wong] is directly involved in GIS research across various disciplines (including urban planning, policy, transportation and public health) and the design and development of publicly accessible Internet-based mapping software. Recently, Mr. Wong has determined impediments to fair housing for areas in California (ongoing), conducted a “smart growth inventory” to determine the physical landscape of the areas around the City of Los Angeles’ current and planned transit stations, and analyzed data to estimate the infill potential of industrial properties in Los Angeles County. All of these projects would not be possible without the use of parcel-level data. Mr.Wong has contacted the Orange County Assessor’s office in the past to obtain parcel shape files for use in various research activities. At $1 per parcel, the cost was above and beyond the budget of the entire project.
The ruling greatly improves public access to valuable data collections housed in government GIS databases that is vital to research projects in the State of California. To find out more about the decision, click here.