[LINK] Freely available spatial database

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Thu Oct 9 07:26:07 EST 2008

Howard Lowndes wrote:
> Carl Makin wrote:
>> On 07/10/2008, at 11:38 AM, Howard Lowndes wrote:
>>> Does anyone know of a freely available (or even reasonable cost, as it's
>>> for a commercial application) spatial database similar to the TIGER/Line
>>> database available in the US?
>> Is the OpenStreetMap data suitable for your use?
> It is what I need EXCEPT that in my area there is a severe lack of 
> detail.  I might have to hop on the bike with the SATNAV  :)
...which is because the highly detailed maps are owned by the PSMA
(Public Sector Mapping Agency), and only sold through licensed
resellers, and are very expensive.

I'm a believer that since we pay (tax-wise) for the collection of
mapping data, it's a bit rich for the maps to be sold at tens of
thousands of dollars per state. But the "free maps" movement doesn't
have much clout, unfortunately!

But if you're only at development stage, Howard, you could at least
start using less-detailed maps - either OpenMap shapefiles or the free
data from Geosciences Australia - and use those as test/development

As to the specific problem you described, getting the right taxi for the
customer, you can get open source tools that would help you with this.
My free GIS of choice is Grass-GIS (http://grass.osgeo.org/), which
includes a creature called v.net.salesman - it analyses shortest vector
route between two points (ie, available taxi and customer).

The reason I mentioned GIS earlier in the thread is that taking a vector
network (street map, for others on the list who aren't GIS-familiar) and
discovering routes within that network is a natural capability of GIS.

>> http://www.openstreetmap.org/
>> The database is available under a CC license and can be transformed into 
>> shapefile or other format reasonably easily.
>> It seems to have quite a good coverage of Canberra anyway...
>> Carl.

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