Pricing of spatial information

May 3rd, 2018, Published in Articles: PositionIT

The Committee for Spatial Information (CSI) developed the Policy on the Pricing of Spatial Information Products and Services in consultation with the Geoinformation community to promote access to spatial information and to ensure consistency in the pricing of spatial information products and services provided by data custodians. Most importantly, the policy ensures the affordability and accessibility of spatial information as a public good already paid for by the public and funded from the fiscus.

The Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Act (Act No 54 of 2003) echoes the letter and the spirit of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) (Act No. 2 of 2000) wherein the principles of open data and universal access to data, in particularly spatial data held by the state, are clearly outlined. This is further elaborated by the Policy on the Pricing of Spatial Information Products and Services.

According to the policy, data custodians are required to prepare a manual of products and services available to the public, in line with PAIA. The purpose of the manual is to explain and direct the public on how to get access to records held by data custodians. The manual must differentiate between generally available and value-added/special products and services.

In pricing the generally available products, the data custodian must apply the cost of fulfilling user requests principle – i.e. charging the user only for what it cost the data custodian to make the information available in the requested format. Where practically possible, data custodians are encouraged to provide the products and services free of charge in the spirit of promoting accessibility of information.

For value-added products and services, the pricing would generally be determined by the conditions of the contract between the client and the data custodian, through the fees of office or rates provided for in legislation.

Data custodians are therefore requested to prepare manuals in accordance with PAIA to help the public discover, access and use their products and services.

Contact Maroale Chauke, NSIF, Tel 012 312-9643, maroale.chauke@drdlr.gov.za