Free the Maps!

Ransom note U.S. government data is ostensibly public domain, but as Jared Benedict, the force behind the Libre Map Project, discovered, you still need to pay for it sometimes. Jared was trying to make USGS 1:24,000 topo maps in DRG format freely available on the Internet. In response to the cost, he bought a hard drive full of the map files and began raising funds to pay for it. Once the $1,600 “ransom” was paid, he announced, the map data would be available on his site and the Internet Archive forever.

It didn’t take long to make his nut: the goal was reached the very next day.

Via (and see more at) Anything Geospatial (follow-up), James Fee and Boing Boing; thanks also to Ben for the tip.