Communities Should Care Who Owns Their Transit Data

Date: 4 Sep 2009 | posted in: information, MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Two major cities are taking different approaches to who can use data like bus arrival times — generally used for mobile applications that allow people to check schedules or get real-time arrivals for mass transit via their phones or other handheld devices.

CNET’s Rafe Needleman recently asked "Who owns transit data?." It seems that a number of private companies are attempting to take ownership of this public data. New York is trying to keep the data as locked down as possible; San Francisco is taking a more open approach; but it is Portland that is most open, encouraging anyone to create applications around its data.

This is just the beginning of undoubtedly many struggles over who owns, and who benefits from, public data.

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Christopher Mitchell

Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Netwroks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He runs MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them.