Public Rights of Way GIS Data and Statements

Robert Whittaker made this Freedom of Information request to Birmingham City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Robert Whittaker

Dear Birmingham City Council,

Under the Environmental Information Regulations, I would like to request a copy of:

1/ The digitised version / working copy of your Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way as stored for use in a GIS software application. My preferred format for this GIS data would be one of KML, GeoJSON, MapInfo or Shapefile. (I realise that this data is not the actual Definitive Map, but just an unofficial representation of it, which may contain errors. But that is fine for my purposes.)

2/ Your Definitive Statements of Public Rights of Way, assuming these are held in digital form (either scanned copies or native digital versions). I would prefer the information in a re-usable (computer readable) format. If the full Statement information is already contained in the GIS data supplied for part 1, then that will satisfy this part of the request, and there is no need to provide anything separately.

Secondly, under the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations, I would like to request permission to re-use the information above under the Open Government Licence v3. The purposes for which the information is to be re-used are: (a) to help improve the mapping of Rights of Way in OpenStreetMap, and (b) to convert the datasets to a more convenient format, and then make them available for others to re-use under an open licence.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Whittaker

PS: If you are contemplating refusing any parts of this request, you may like to first read the following Decision Notices from the ICO in relation to similar requests that I made to Cambridgeshire County Council: https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... and https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... .

Birmingham City Council

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Information request
Our reference: 1711033
Your reference: [FOI #494654 email]

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Birmingham City Council

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Information request
Our reference: 1711033
Your reference: [FOI #494654 email]

show quoted sections

Robert Whittaker

Dear Birmingham City Council,

I am writing to request an internal review of Birmingham City Council's handling of my EIR/RoPSIR request 'Public Rights of Way GIS Data and Statements', ref 1711033. A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

First of all, many thanks for your quick response to my request, even if it is not the response what I was hoping for. However, I believe that your response is incomplete and your reasoning is incorrect in several places, and so I would like to request that you conduct an internal review of your response. Please pass this message on to the relevant person.

First, your refusal to supply the information as requested appears to be based solely on EIR r6(b), which is invoked when "the information is already publicly available and easily accessible to the applicant in another form or format." I would contest this on two grounds.

1/ As far as the GIS data is concerned, I do not believe that the full information that I have requested is actually publicly available as you suggest. You may be providing a view of some of the information at your offices, e.g. allowing people to view a representation of the paths in a GIS system, but this is only a summary of the full coordinate information that is stored in the system. Unless you are actually allowing members of the public to inspect the files themselves and view the individual coordinates of each point stored within them, then 6(b) does not apply. (See the Information Commissioner's previous ruling that Cambridgeshire County Council's online map only represented a summary of the underlying GIS data I had requested -- paragraph 20 at https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... .)

2/ Even if what you make available did qualify as making the information "publicly available", it also has to be "easily accessible to the applicant". Since I live in Norfolk and work full time during normal office hours, it would not be easy or convenient for me to travel to Birmingham to view the information as you have suggested. Therefore the information is not "easily accessible" to me and hence r6(b) cannot be applied.

(The final two points you make in your response don't appear to be connected to any specific exemptions, but I think deserve some comment: Regarding point 3, under the PSMA "Presumption to Publish" it is no longer necessary to apply to OS for permission to publish Public Rights of Way data. Regarding point 4, the ICO has consistently ruled that issues with the public interpreting released data or that data becoming out of date are not suitable reasons to withhold information. It is up to the public authority to provide suitable context around any releases, and publish regularly updated versions if these issues are important.)

Secondly, you do not appear to have responded to my Re-Use Request under the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations. Since you are claiming you are already making the information available, then you must respond to this part too. When doing so, please have particular regard for RoSPIR r11, which contains additional requirements about the format of the information above those contained in EIR.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Whittaker

Birmingham City Council

 
 
 
 
Information request
Our reference: 1711033
Your reference: [FOI #494654 email]

show quoted sections

Robert Whittaker left an annotation ()

The council responded to me via a private email address and provided the requested data on 28th September 2018. That data is now available from http://www.rowmaps.com/datasets/BI/ .