Hi Harry and All:
Great advice, Harry.
I'd like to raise an additional, legal issue. In my opinion, the digital
data produced and/or acquired by the contractor are "public records" under
Vermont law. "Public record" or "public document" to includes "all papers,
documents, machine readable materials or any other written or recorded
matters, regardless of their physical form or characteristics, that are
produced or acquired in the course of agency business. . . ." 1 V.S.A. Sec.
317(b). Within the body of data, there may datum that is exempt from public
disclosure, but in general the information is public. Similarly, the ability
to read the data may require software that is proprietary. 1 V.S.A.
317(b)(9). But the information itself is public, irrespective of any clause
or language in the contract between the town and the contractor.
Charles L. Merriman
Special Assistant Attorney General
Department of Taxes, Division of Property Valuation and Review
PO Box 429 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05601-0429
Tel. (802) 828-2731
Facsimile (802) 828-5873
----- Original Message -----
From: "Harry Roush" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 8:47 AM
Subject: Mapping and Who owns the Data
I am the Mapping Specialist, within the Division of Property Valuation and
Review, and as such I am responsible for the generation and distribution of
the Vermont Orthophotography. Also my position of Mapping Specialist,
directs me to assist you in Parcel Mapping your town.
I have three points to make based on the following case:
A town in Vermont, has sought a quote from a mapping contractor
to do custom low level Orthophotography of their town along with updating
the parcels and contour mapping. I have not seen the specifications. The
information I have is from a Third Party. If I have heard anything
incorrectly, that does not change what I have written below. The three
points that follow are very important.
First, the proposed contract states the contractor, not the town, will own
the data when the project is completed. Why would you pay a large sum of
money to a contractor when you will not own what you paid them to generate?
You can use it, but you can not provide a copy to a third party without
written permission from the contractor.
Consider this, at the end of the contract; you can't work with the
contractor because of differences of opinions. However since he owns all
rights to the data, you have to go back to them to have the map updated
every year. The town is paying to have this information generated and SHOULD
own it. Please don't enter into a contract like this unless you see a
drastic reduction in the cost, as in a lease of a car. I have never leased a
Second, my specialty is Orthophotography and parcel mapping. That town NEVER
asked me for input in the "Request for Proposal" or to read any of the
proposals. I am basically a free consultant to the towns for mapping. Please
use my expertise.
Lastly, with the amount of money a town is going to spend on this type of
mapping; ground control, ortho generation, parcel updates and contour
generation. Please request a quote from at least 3 companies if not going to
bid. If the cost of the service is $500 or less, it may not be necessary to
get 3 quotes, if you know the work of the contractor.
Never buy any product that you do not full rights to distribute.
I am a consultant available to you, use my expertise.
If you are buying any service, get quotes from at least 3 firms
in that business.
Please do not hesitate to contact me. I will give you my OPINION and you can
make up your own mind. Thanks.
Property Valuation and Review
43 ½ Randall Street
Waterbury VT 05676