A system for making geographic data and works openly and freely accessible to the public over the Internet. A geographic information commons may include both public domain (i.e., free from any use restrictions) and open access content (i.e., content openly available for others to access, use, and copy, and often to make derivative works although some limited restrictions may apply).


A system for making geographic data and works available for sale over the Internet.


Processes of obtaining, processing, or providing geographic data or geographic works. As used in this volume, the term refers to the provision of access to and use of preexisting data or databases, such as subscription to a particular online geo-based processing capability or subscription to a database allowing downloads when desired. In some contexts, the term “services” may connote geographic data or works provided for a single client, according to that client’s specifications.


Works incorporating geographic data that have been collected, aggregated, manipulated, or transformed in some manner. Examples include datasets and databases, and other products derived from geographic data, including but not limited to maps, models, and other visualizations involving geographic data.


Location, geometry, and flow characteristics of rivers, lakes, and other surface waters.


Public domain content (free from any legal rights protection, e.g., ideas, publicly known facts, and intellectual works in which copyright has expired) and open access content (openly available to anyone but some use conditions are controlled by license).

LICENSE or LICENSING (as used in this report).

A transaction or arrangement (usually a contract, in which there is an exchange of value) in which the acquiring party (i.e., the licensee) obtains information with restrictions on the licensee’s rights to use or transfer geographic information.


A required function that is defined by law, typically statute, administrative code, or case law.

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